Cock­tail Hour

Karen Mok gets into the spirit of Martell’s an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

One of the guests of hon­our at Martell’s tri­cen­ten­nial din­ner was Hong Kong ac­tress and singer Karen Mok, who ear­lier worked with the brand to cre­ate a cock­tail for the iconic Bar du Plaza Athénée in Paris. Inspired by her Welsh, Chi­nese and Per­sian her­itage, and her pen­chant for cit­rus flavours and flo­ral scents, bar man­ager Thierry Her­nan­dez worked with Mok to cre­ate the Martell Mok-tail—an in­trigu­ing blend of Martell Noblige and green tea bal­anced with el­der­flower liqueur, jas­mine-in­fused syrup and le­mon juice. “It was a lot of fun to make your own magic po­tion,” says Mok. “Thierry is bril­liant and did some back­ground re­search on me, so he found out what I liked. We tried dif­fer­ent mixes and set­tled on one that has an Asian touch.”

As well as dab­bling in mixol­ogy and be­ing a VIP guest at the Ver­sailles din­ner, Mok stayed at Martell’s el­e­gant Château de Chanteloup in Co­gnac, where she got to feed the deer that roam the grounds. Be­fore the din­ner, she had a pri­vate tour of Marie An­toinette’s cham­bers and gleaned some in­spi­ra­tion for the stage from the palace’s famed Hall of Mir­rors.

“Be­ing at the Palace of Ver­sailles was won­der­ful. I can just imag­ine my stage look­ing like the Hall of Mir­rors; I would be over the moon,” she says. “And the din­ner was stu­pen­dous. The whole emo­tional jour­ney you go on through the din­ner was very well-thought-out—stun­ning.”

jar, hon­oured the vine­yards that pro­duce the grapes for co­gnac. The sauce, which in­cluded yogurt, cumin, gar­lic oil and salted lime, was Pairet’s take on grapevines, im­ages of which climbed the walls as the dish was served. “Peo­ple tend to for­get that co­gnac is made from grapes, so I wanted to celebrate the vine­yard. I recre­ated the vine­yard in the jar and paired it with Martell XO.”

Dis­tillery work­ers were the in­spi­ra­tion for the next course, teriyaki glazed Aus­tralian wagyu beef served with a smooth St Hugo Ve­tus Pu­rum Shi­raz 2010. Im­ages of Martell’s cop­per stills and the sounds of the dis­tillery ac­com­pa­nied the dish. “The fifth course was like an in­vi­ta­tion into Martell’s ate­lier, to share a mo­ment with the peo­ple that work ev­ery day to pro­duce the co­gnac,” said Pairet.

For dessert, the chef drew from the clas­sic le­mon tart. A hol­lowed-out le­mon cooked in such a way as to ren­der it sweet and ten­der was filled with a cit­rus-flavoured cream and the plate gar­nished with a stick of pas­try. “I wanted to pay homage to the le­mon by tak­ing the flavours of a le­mon tart—one of the best pas­try recipes, in my opin­ion—and put it back in­side the fruit.” The tart was paired with a new and rare blend—the Martell Premier Voy­age—as rows of bot­tles of Martell’s var­i­ous blends ap­peared on the walls and

the fra­grance of or­anges drifted on the air. “Martell Premier Voy­age has strong open­ing notes of can­died peel, black­cur­rant, honey and gin­ger­bread, so it goes very well with the le­mon tart,” Pairet said.

The ex­pe­ri­ence ended with an in­sight into the French way of life with The Lit­tle Sun­day Cake Box—a small box con­tain­ing minia­ture ver­sions of clas­sic French pas­tries such as mille­feuille. “In France, the art de vivre [art of liv­ing] can also re­fer to sim­ple plea­sures, such as re­lax­ing on a cafe ter­race. It has a lot to do with your mem­o­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences around food,” Pairet ex­plained. “And for a lot of peo­ple, Sun­days are for vis­it­ing their par­ents and the fam­ily din­ner. Pas­tries are a pop­u­lar thing to bring to a fam­ily din­ner—and I took that idea and turned it into a por­ta­ble ver­sion of the mignardises [ pe­tits fours].”

Done well, mignardises ce­ment the mem­ory of a meal for din­ers. With that sim­ple cake box, Pairet capped the evening’s ex­pe­ri­ence with another in­no­va­tive take on food and Martell’s em­bod­i­ment of the art de vivre. “At Ul­tra­vi­o­let, we try to tell a story with the ex­pe­ri­ence, and the con­cept is a per­fect way to show­case Martell’s 300 years of history in a mod­ern way,” Pairet said. “It was a very in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge for us—to tai­lor the idea and turn it into a homage to Martell.”

in sync

As each dish was matched with var­i­ous el­e­ments, one waiter was re­quired for ev­ery three guests to get the tim­ing of the seven cour­ses right

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