Canvas Bar revisited

The CanvasBar is a pop-up bar in the U3 station at Potsdamer Platz, which combined art exhibition and mixology under the motto – “creativity”. It was sponsored by Sapphire Bombay and curated by Martin Thibault – a Sapphire Bombay ambassador and mixologist, and Susie Kahlich – a producer and content creator. Several artists turned the underground space into a canvas and Sapphire Bombay created a bar, where all visitors could unleash their creativity! This article will be dealing with creativity and a particular chemical reaction used in the cocktail “The Milky Way”.


pop-up CanvasBar by Sapphire Bombay


Pop-up event. 18-21 of October 2018

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE; Canvas Bar; Berlin
Canvas Bar © 2018 @darwinstapel


The Tunnel – former U3 metro space at the Potsdamer Platz hosts lot of events and recently the pop-up CanvasBar by Sapphire Bombay. The space was turned into a huge gallery by various invited artists: Olaf Hayek (@olafhajek), Rankin (@rankingarchive), Paul Schrader (@paul_schrader), Stefan Kunz (@stefankunz), (@crizilla_delasey), Bluebarella (@bluebarella) and Superblast (@superblast). Of course a bar with well chosen and delicious gin-based drinks was set up and decorated by the lovely Ruby Marylennox (@ruby_marylennox). Huge lines waited for Darwin Stapel (@darwinstapel) to draw a one-line portrait, while conversing with the model to make the portrait alive. The motto of the evening was creativity and that meant not only the creativity of the professional artists and mixologists, but creativity, contained inside of each and everyone. Already at the entrance a guest was handed a glass with gin, which could be filled with five different tonics and garnished with additional spices. At the next station a signature cocktail could be decorated with a huge choice of spices, fruits, herbs and colors. Directly at the bar a huge innocently white wall was seducing a visitor to let an artistic signature on it. The luckiest guests could arrive early and got a private introduction to the concept of the exhibition and to art of making “The Milky Way” from Martin and Susie themselves.

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Painting from Olaf Hayek
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Live painting from the students of the Design Academy (Berlin)
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One line portrait from Darwin Stapel


Exercise 1: what is creativity for you

Let us take a look at creativity first. Creativity is everywhere nowadays. It is essential for work and productivity as well as for innovations and industrial drive. However there are as many definitions of creativity as there are people talking about it. Everyone has a feeling, that the definition is known, but struggles to give the answer if asked straight away. P. Sarkar and A. Chakrabarti did literature research and found at least 164 different definitions, where 50 of the definitions could be assigned to people, who deal with creativity on professional level (International Journal of Design Sciences and Technology, 2015). Their proposition in the end is to define creativity through “novelty” and “usefulness”. In my personal opinion the almost mathematical definition of creativity by D. K. SIMONTON in “Defining Creativity: Don’t We Also Need to Define What Is Not Creative?” is more impressive (Journal of Creative Behavior, 2018). He proposes to define creativity through three factors: the idea’s initial probability (p), the final utility (u), and the creator’s prior knowledge of that utility (v), where all three values are between zero and one.

These three parameters then lead to a three-criterion multiplicative definition of personal creativity (don’t be scared by the equation):


Here, the first factor indicates originality and the third factor surprise, and p and v have a value between zero and one. The initial probability p indicates, how probable it is to come up with this idea. Creativity would be zero, if probability p is one (or 100%) and if probability to come up with the idea is approaching zero, the creativity would be highest. The same is valid for the prior knowledge of the utility v – if everybody knows that something profitable is missing, the probability to search and to find a solution is high (one being the highest) and the surprise to find it zero. The utility u is the factor of usability or profitability of the idea. The most exciting fact for me is that this formula allows not only to define the creativity c, but also to define uncreative ideas. In total there are seven types, which can be identified through the equation above, three types, where one of the three parts of the equation is zero, three, where two of the part are simultaneously zero and one, where all three parts are zero. I am not going to summarize all of them here, but just state that the last case is the case of “irrational preservation”, where the idea, which never worked before (utility u = 0 and knowledge v = 1) has high probability of being tried again (p = 1). The author claims that this could be used as definition of insanity as:

“… doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different.”

I think that the definition described here tackled beautifully two main goals: to find a mathematical definition for something everyone has a feeling, but no strict definition for and to cover the opposite by the same definition.

Creativity Workshop with soy milk

Exercise 2: Think of a cocktail, where you could use soy milk. (And would serve it to an important or dear guest)

As a part of the event lucky winners of Facebook lottery could take part in a tour through the exhibition, where Susie (@artipoeus) and Martin (@gimimo) explained the art and artist’s background. For each piece of art a menu from a bar around Europe was chosen.  Susie explained art and Martin spoke about bars and cocktails on the menus. At each station an ingridient could be found. After all ingredients were collected visitors headed to the final station, where the cocktail “The Milky Way” was mixed. This cocktail was created by Konstantin Hennrich for Glasshouse Projects.


  • 250g Bombay Sapphire
  • 20g koriander seeds
  • 50g bergamot essence
  • 50g rose of Charon (hibiscus) flowers
  • 90g sugar
  • 80g lemon water
  • 230g soy milk

Cocktail recipe:

  1. Brew up 1 liter of tea from coriander seeds and hibiscus flowers. Filter after.
  2. Mix gin, bergamot essence and lemon water.
  3. Add sugar in this mixture and stir till full dissolution.
  4. Add soy milk to the alcohol mixture, after filtered tea on top under constant stirring.
  5. Filter whole mixture, so the coagulated milk can be removed.
  6. Serve in a lowball glass with ice.
Use paper coffee filters to strain the tea
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Use scales to weight your ingredients

During preparation of the cocktail the soy milk is first added, then removed and the cocktail has a final transparent ruby color. But, what is the point of adding the milk then?

The seemingly simple process of mixing a cocktail is very complicated in it’s nature and we will have plenty of topics to cover in later issues. For this particular cocktail we mix water, alcohol, sugar and citric acid. And we add soy milk. We want to look at this particular step closer. Soy milk is a suspension of proteins, fat and water. An example of another suspension is shampoo. A suspension forms if two or more phases (materials) mix, but do not dissolve in each other.

Soy milk consists of several proteins (Food Hydrocolloids, 2014), which uniquely have a possibility to react with an acid (Biological Systems Engineering–Dissertations, Theses, and Student Research, 2011), but also with alcohol (Biopolymers, 1978) and it can build complicated structures – primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. The protein binds citric acid and coagulates, which takes the extensive sour taste of the cocktail away and makes it milder. Interestingly, some research proposed that the alkali conditions catalyze the reaction. So the alcohol in the mix makes the reaction possible or increases its effectiveness. However the proteins in soy milk can also react with alcohol, where secondary and tertiary structures of proteins are destroyed and some alcohol is bound. This might be a reason why after soy milk treatment the cocktail is also milder on alcohol taste. I really had to use here so many “coulds” as the protein reactions are quite complicated and lot of things could occur here at the same time. However it also gives you some room for creativity, as at this point you might be curios – what if you add gin last – after everything else is done? Or you add soy milk to gin first, put citric acid on top and filter it after that? How far is it possible to play with proportions? Let me know if you tried it out and let your creativity run free!


  1. P. Sarkar, A.Chakrabarti. Creativity: generic definition, tests, factors and methods. International Journal of Design Sciences and Technology, 21:1, 7-37 (2015)
  2. D. K. Simonton. Defining Creativity: Don’t We Also Need to Define What is Not Creative? Journal of Creative Behavior, 52:1, 80-90 (2018)
  3. Y. Chen, T. Ono. Protein particle and soluble protein structure in prepared soymilk. Food Hydrocolloids, 39, 120-126 (2014)
  4. W. Li. Quantitative Analysis of the Reaction between Gliadin and Citric Acid under Weak Acidic and Weak Alkaline Conditions. Biological Systems Engineering–Dissertations, Theses, and Student Research, (2011)


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