Unwind H2O: Gorgeous art on a summer night

Close up oh Chihuly's piece "Blue and Purple Boat" at dusk

Close up of Dale Chihuly’s “Blue and Purple Boat” at dusk

What can possibly be more perfect than a warm summer night, gorgeous art, and some booze? Not much, and that is exactly what transpired at the Denver Botanic Gardens during Unwind: H2O on August 7. (Note: This article is a little picture heavy. SorryNotSorry.)

The Unwind events are a more relaxed visit to the Botanic Gardens and are built around a theme, which was H2O this time. There is alcohol  provided with the purchase price, as well as some food. The Chihuly pieces kept with the water theme, with four different pieces making their home in the Gardens’ main pond. Some of the blown-glass pieces were simple, others huge, and most evoking nature scenes.

"Red Reeds" at night.

“Red Reeds” at night.

As the evening became night, the glass seemed alive, glittering in the spotlights. When paired with the reflections in the water, even the non-floating pieces looked like they were in motion, almost like they were flowers themselves (if flowers were 7 foot-tall red glass reeds).

"Summer Sun" at night.

“Summer Sun” at night.

Ticket price included three alcoholic beverages. Local breweries like AC Golden, Crazy Mountain Brewery, and Great Divide were on site as well as Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Their cocktail offering, Signature Iced Tea, was a mix of Stranahan’s whiskey, iced tea, white peach puree and mint served over ice. It was a sticky, sweet drink without enough mint or iced tea or whiskey, all of which I blame on the mixer being served out of a cooler (the whiskey was measured and poured first). It’s damn hard to control the ratios of ingredients in those things! I would rather have just drank Stranahan’s whiskey on the rocks without the syrup .

"Float Boat" at dusk.

“Float Boat” at dusk.

I only have two complaints about the whole affair. One is that, in keeping with the watery theme, seafood of some sort was supposed to be around and was part of the ticket. I only found the dessert area and after that candy-whiskey drink, I was sugared out. Despite arriving 15 minutes after the event started and staying until the end, I never did find or figure out where the food was supposed to be. I heard another guest say that the event had actually run out. My other complaint is that bathrooms were hard to locate and finding one involved asking a very kind volunteer or consulting the map (if you accepted one on the way in).

Unwind lived up to its name as watching the pieces change from day to night is almost a meditation, if you let it be. Or, it could simply be a very pleasant backdrop for an evening out with your snuggle-partner which is still a pretty solid way to spend a Thursday night. There is one more Unwind this summer, themed around the End of Summer – here’s hoping for BBQ. The ticketed event ($50 for non-members, $45 for members) offers a wonderful opportunity to wander the Botanic Garden grounds, check out Dale Chihuly’s stunning glass art at dusk, imbibe some hooch and go on a relaxing escape from the work-week.

"Monet Pool Fiori"

“Monet Pool Fiori”

About Nikki Minette

An uppity minx who loves beer, bourbon, politics, kitties, naps, and Firefly. Tap room bartender at River North Brewery. Follow her on twitter @whiskeynikki.