Provocachic Cocktail Featured on World Class

by The Gilded Fork

Provocachic, the bespoke cocktail company of our friend and CMN contributor Damian Sim, has just been published as one of the front-page news in We Are World Class, a global cocktail program helmed by leading figures Dale DeGroff and Chef Marco Pierre White.

Articles have been cited and debated by global opinion formers, among them cocktail historian David Wondrich on the Chanticleer Society. Hardcopy versions shall be published in mid-May in Greece, and probably also Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Dubai.

*The images for “The Show Must Go On” and “The Green Fairy” are works by 5PF Studio.

Provocachic presents the latest recipe designs, inspired by an exhibition of Christian Lacroix (French haute couture fashion), his life, his creative process and designs in the world of theatre costumes.

Hands-on, 2-hours, two recipes, Veuve Clicquot champagne, quality ingredients, finger-food, fun, creativity and a touch of history. At $35, and limited to 40 discerning palates, we would recommend that you book now!

* (3-5) p.m.
* 16 May, Saturday
* Ground floor, The Salon
* National Museum of Singapore

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

Inspired by the passion of performers and stories of the human condition, a hot-blooded hue was crafted, not unlike the Carmen gypsy costume designed by Christian Lacroix. The vermilion hue also reflects the soul of the bullfights (corridas) that he grew up with. Arles (France) was also infused with the magic of nature and romance of traditions & history, and tomatoes on the vine intuitively came to mind.

Baby Roma fully ripened on the vine was selected for its rich flavour, of which only the juice from the pulp (the umami at the core is up to 8 times that of the fleshy walls – read more here) was used, an innovation giving a second life to the parts usually discarded by chefs. The vines were also soaked in the juice to capture the memory of the tomato garden. These were also selected, with the pulp intact, to flavour the spirit base. The choice of vodka marked the rise of this spirit during Lacroix’s youth (1960s), one of his favourite periods.

The strawberry was cast as the female lead opposite the tomato, a pleasant pairing of flavours we were comfortable with individually, yet could be curiously delighted by their unexpected combination. A juicer was used to extract the sweet elixir of the best types of strawberries available (in Singapore, the Japanese Amao, or other cultivars; Korean). Christian Lacroix would probably use his native hand-picked wild bush (a.k.a. Alpine) strawberries.

Key supporting leads included Belvedere Pomaranza (orange blossom, orange, mandarin), and sensuous vanilla pods added to this vodka and the sugar. The citrusy elements further elevate the musky (strawberry) and green (tomato) parts, and the vanilla rounds off the flavours while being evocative of nostalgic comforts.

As Lacroix would put it, “to have a sense of period,” this recipe is designed with cocktail bitters, essentials in the original classics. Celery bitters, used in the 19th century (and obscure even then), added an intriguing high soprano note and yet transient moment to the scene. The fashionable & luxurious Veuve Clicquot bubbly gives form and life to the various characters, while celebrating the desire to live better (something Lacroix is passionate about, the reason why he loves the presence of death, why his favourite gift {from his wife} is a wood-carved skull – read more here).

The finale outlines the surreal tutu of the ballerina, whimsically exaggerated further, reminiscent of the voluminous skirts of the Second Empire (France, 1852-1870). Sliced from a muskmelon, the garnish offers a deep warm sweetness to end the show… till the next. Alas, The Show Must Go On.

THE GREEN FAIRY

The Green Fairy was absinthe’s nickname, the infamous libation wildly popular among the bohemian circles and ‘underground’ intelligentsia (eg, Oscar Wilde, whose books found a fan in Christian Lacroix), notably in Paris. Arles, where Lacroix spent his childhood, was also where Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork peaked. This absinthe fan doubtless left an impression on Lacroix. Though banned in Paris when Lacroix moved there (1973), it was likely that the fashionable crowd had access to it given its continued production nearby in Britain and Spain. Flamenco was also very much a part of Arles, which undoubtedly helped Lacroix in his costume design for the Arsa Y Toma show about flamenco.

Absinthe Suisse, the top grade, has the highest (65-75%) alcoholic content (68% for Pernod absinthe). This recipe was designed with a modest dosage of absinthe to reflect the much lighter (alcoholic) palates today. Ernest Hemingway (1930s) would have consumed a much stronger absinthe cocktail (ratio of 1:4, absinthe:champagne for “Death in the Afternoon”).

An Asian herb was juxtaposed with a European one, alluring & acquired tastes in their own right. Kaffir lime leaves (eg, used in Peranakan cuisines in Singapore) were unlike any other herbs, with a floral complexity to its citrus profile, while wild rocket leaves had a peppery pungency and a forbidden aphrodisiac reputation since Roman times (from 10th century BC).

A London dry style of gin, synonymous with English culture (of which Lacroix was quite taken with), completes the ‘absinthe-like’ elements at the recipe’s core. Granny Smith green apple and lemon juice brightened the elixir with some acidity, while the flower of salt tempered any rough edges. The same two ingredients – vanilla sugar and Veuve Clicquot champagne, were used again, expressing similar (flavour) emotions, as if they shared a scene with the other cocktail… perhaps a reminder that they were but players in a much larger tale, much like the roles that Christian Lacroix’s costumes’ played in others’ imaginary world.

Look out for more info & pictures on the workshop after 16 May. Bon appétit!

Images copyright © 2009 Singapore, by Provocachic Ptd Ltd & 5PF Studio. All rights reserved.

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