Kylie Minogue Mixes Her Signature Cocktail
Kylie Minogue’s early experiences of alcohol were not especially glamorous — canned drinks with teenage friends, boxed wine at family barbecues. But Ms. Minogue, 54, the only female artist to have topped music charts in five consecutive decades, has refined her relationship to liquor since.
On a recent Wednesday morning, she stood behind the venerable Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, a cocktail shaker in hand. She shook it and shook it and shook it, mixing the drink to her own internal beat.
“Hey! Hey! Hey! How am I doing?” she asked the Bemelmans barman, Abdul Rashid, resplendent in a poppy-red jacket.
“Oh fantastic,” Mr. Rashid said. “I am jealous.”
A couple of nights earlier, Ms. Minogue had come into this same bar to celebrate her wine collection — two still rosés, one sparkling — by singing a selection of hits at the grand piano. She had returned this morning to demonstrate her mixology chops.
But those chops were a matter of some debate. A publicist had described Ms. Minogue as a practiced bartender with a specialty drink. Yet the cocktail on offer, the Pink Pearl, had been newly created by Mr. Rashid. And Ms. Minogue questioned her ability to mix it.
“I’m going to make such a pig’s ear of this,” she said brightly as she walked behind the granite and leather bar.
She had dressed for the occasion in a mauve pantsuit trimmed in marabou — “Feathers, I didn’t think this through,” she said — and white stiletto heels. She hadn’t thought the shoes through, either. After a brief tussle with the bar’s floor mats, she switched them out for a pair of black platforms, singing a snatch of “You Raise Me Up” as she slipped them on.
“We need jazz music,” she called out. “A bit of a vibe.” Jazz, one of the very many genres that Ms. Minogue has attempted, was summoned.
Mr. Rashid had already assembled the ingredients and the materials: gin, apricot brandy, lime, simple syrup, bitters, a bottle of Ms. Minogue’s prosecco rosé, various shakers and coupes. (He had also set out an array of snacks — salted nuts, cheese straws, potato chips — that she politely ignored.)
Ms. Minogue had passed along a few stipulations regarding the cocktail. “It has to be pink,” she had told him. “It has to be fun. It has to be a bit cheeky.” She had borrowed the name, Pink Pearl, from a different drink, invented in her honor at Le Bar in Paris. Perhaps it hadn’t been trademarked.
Under her benevolent, lash-extended gaze, Mr. Rashid demonstrated the drink, embellishing it with a float of Ms. Minogue’s prosecco rosé, which her website says has notes “of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blossom.” The garnish was a sprig of fresh mint.
“I offer you to do this,” Mr. Rashid told her, chivalrously. “The finishing touch you do.”
“I didn’t even do that very well,” Ms. Minogue said, having added the herb.
Ms. Minogue, whom the BBC once called “pop’s most underestimated icon” and whom Rufus Wainwright, an occasional collaborator, has designated “the gay shorthand for joy,” first introduced her wines in Britain in 2020, where they have sold briskly. She is not herself a vintner, but she told her partners at Benchmark Wine Group that the wines had to be “elegant, refreshing, not boring, not too challenging,” she said. Put that way, her wines sounded a lot like her music.
Having begun her career as an actress on the Australian soap “Neighbours,” she sidestepped into pop music while still in her 20s. An early review referred to her as a “singing budgie,” but Ms. Minogue, who is recording a 16th studio album, has rarely let bad press deter her. She worked at her music. She improved.
“I just learned on the job,” she said. Then she surveyed the ingredients arrayed before her on the bar. “It’s kind of like this,” she said, turning to the task at hand. “I learn on the job.”
So with the occasional assist from Mr. Rashid, Ms. Minogue added a dash of simple syrup (well, more than a dash: “Whoops!” she said), half an ounce of apricot brandy and three-quarters of an ounce of lime juice. He showed her how to turn the jigger over to add the gin. She had a heavy hand with the bitters, which lend the drink its pink tones.
“That one got a bit of extra love,” she said, as a few more drops of bitters fell in. “I’ve got to work on my cocktail skills, that’s all.”
At Mr. Rashid’s urging, she fitted a metal shaker over the glass’s top and she shook it with verve. “Whoooo!” she shouted, as her whole body swung, in a manner reminiscent of the Locomotion.
With some slight fumbling, she then strained the mixture into an ice-filled glass, adding the prosecco, a sprig of mint, and then another spring of mint when the first one slipped under the surface.
“And voilà!” she said. She didn’t dare bestow the drink on an assistant. “I’m going to have to taste it myself,” she said of the erratically mixed drink. “I’ll say it’s amazing.”
So even though it was only 11 a.m., Ms. Minogue took the straw between her perfect mauve lips and sipped. Was it amazing?
“Very refreshing, very nice,” she said with a conspiratorial smile. “Dangerously so.”