Dubbed the "LeBron James of Liquor" and the "Matisse of Martinis," Ritz Paris head bartender Colin Field took over the bar in the Memorial area home of John and Becca Cason Thrash to share a few of his cocktail specialties with several dozen high-rollers, compliments of the hotel.
Becca, Kip Forbes and the Ritz Paris hosted the soirée that spotlighted the Bar Hemingway star in celebration of the Ritz reopening in March after a three-and-a-half year restoration and in celebration of a popular fundraiser.
As the cocktail-attired throng gathered in the lavish home bar, Forbes revealed that plans are underway for Liaisons au Louvre IV, the grand, mega fundraiser that Becca founded and has regularly chaired. "Mark your calendars for June 20, 2017," he said adding that the Ritz Paris is partnering with the American Friends of the Louvre as headquarters for the fundraiser.
The announcement was met with cheers and applause as many in the crowd are veterans of the trés chic multi-day affairs.
Although Forbes said it was a task convincing Becca to take the helm once again, she has already outlined a new approach to the multi-million dollar fundraiser. "I'm thinking a two-by-two event with two days in Paris benefiting the Louvre and two days in Venice benefiting Venetian Heritage," she said. "I'm on both boards and this will give guests two reasons to go to Europe . . . See both Paris and Venice as an insider, not a tourist."
The entire evening oozed French flair starting in the kitchen where Etoile chef/owner Philippe Verpiand whipped up amazing hors d'oeuvres and the Fench-flavored buffet dinner.
Billicart-Salmon's Alexandre Bader flew in from Paris with cases of his fine champagne. Ritz Paris GM Christian Boyens and Ritz director of communications Anne Benichou added their lilting French accents as did Air France director of communications Pierre de Saint-Albin.
Air France introduces its Le Premier (deluxe first class) service on its Houston-Paris route in May and he joined the Ritz team in their rounds.
The chichi crowd included Becky and Ralph O'Connor, Ann and Mathew Wolf, Diane Lokey Farb, Lucinda and Javier Loya, Ceron and Tod Fiscus, Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu, Holly Waltrip Long, Eric Pulaski, Monsour Taghdisi, Tami Dias and Joyce Echols.