There’s no better way to ring in the new year than with a drink. And this Lunar New Year, Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding is celebrating the Year of the Tiger with a glass of Hennessy Paradis. In honor of the holiday celebrations, Hennessy teamed up with artist Zhang Enli to design a bottle—inspired by his piece “Poetry and Wine Welcome the Tiger”—that imbues traditional Chinese New Year imagery with symbolic representations of cognac.
“While this painting may be different from traditional tiger-themed paintings, my hope is that people will intuitively recall the animal’s beauty and vitality. ‘Poetry and Wine Welcome the Tiger’ is about spirit and sense over appearances; about the force of transformation, even in the tiniest details,” says Enli.
The tiger represents hope and the restoration of energy after a time of great loss. While the world is still dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Golding himself feels this longing to reclaim what was lost during this time of isolation. The Snake Eyes actor is originally from Malaysia while his wife, Liv Lo, is from Taiwan. Due to travel restrictions around the world, he, his wife, and their newborn daughter Lila have been half a world away from their families for over two years. Normally, Lunar New Year is the one time of the year they have to fly home, Golding explains. “It’s a very unique kind of time of year where you don’t have the excuse. You’re sort of almost ordered to come home and spend time with family and kind of like, no, you don’t come here to gamble either. You will eat, overeat.”
Eating (and overeating) aside, it’s also a time of family tradition. “So in Malaysia, they used to do a dish where all the ingredients used to represent like money, good health, good sort of family, a good love life. And you would sit around like a huge table and everybody would get their chopsticks and all the ingredients you put into this big bowl and everyone at one time would dig in and lift it high, and then you would churn the thing. And then you would shout what you want for the new Lunar New Year. So it was like, love, sex, money, health, but that’s one of the things that I grew up with for Chinese New Year. So hopefully I’ll be able to show Lila at some point that.”
While Golding plans to introduce his daughter to his family traditions, Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde’s family tradition resides in Cognac, France where they’ve been making the region’s eponymous spirit for eight generations. The expertise that he puts into each bottle is the result of hundreds of years of knowledge passed down from his ancestors. For him, Lunar New Year is the perfect time of year to enjoy a good cognac because it’s a drink that’s meant to be enjoyed while surrounded by those closest to you.
“When I create cognac the purpose of it is to be shared,” Fillioux de Gironde explains. “Hennessy Paradis, it’s something to be enjoyed together, and experienced together. So, I think in the sense it’s exactly what you want to have when you’re with others.”
While the Golding family’s plans are still uncertain, especially given recent spikes in the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the actor believes in celebrating tradition, making Hennessy Paradis the perfect drink for the occasion.
He continued, “We would love to go back to Asia and really go see Liv’s parents and spend New Years with them. Because they have a big family. And it really is about that quality time. It’s about spending time with people and enjoying a glass of cognac.”