the three ingredients necessary for the classic Negroni cocktail; SwF
One of my favourite films is "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone," adapted from a novel by Tennessee Williams. This 1961 production features Vivien Leigh as recently widowed and now retired stage actress Karen Stone, who moves to Rome to start a new life. She is introduced to a fascinatingly sinister contessa, Contessa Magda Terribili-Gonzales, played perfectly by Lotte Lenya. The contessa procures for Mrs. Stone a manipulative, deceitful, and temperamental gigolo named Paolo, played by Warren Beatty. The story follows the doomed affair of Karen and Paolo in glamorous Roman cafe and nightclub society.
vintage movie poster of "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone," Wikipedia
As much as for the human story, the characters, and the dialogue, I admire Leigh and Lenya as forces of nature, as well as the beautiful Roman settings and art direction of the film. Leigh is dressed entirely in Pierre Balmain couture, and looks exquisitely regal throughout.
Several times throughout the movie, the contessa and Mrs. Stone drink an Italian cocktail called a Negroni. I decided to find out what this drink was and try one. I was pleasantly surprised. The drink was created in the early 20th century. It consists of an ounce of gin, an ounce of Campari, and an ounce of red Vermouth, and a twist of orange peel. It is not to everyone’s taste, being somewhat bitter and considered a drink for the mature. It is a perfect aperitif; the bitter aspect tantalizes the tastebuds. I’ve come to quite like them, and was fascinated by the history of the drink.
According to the CocktailAtlas.com, “It was invented in the early 1900s by a Florentine aristocrat, Count Camillo Negroni. The count asked a bartender to add some bite to his preferred cocktail, the Americano. With an addition of gin, an instant classic was conceived, and the Negroni became the Count's new favorite.”
Next time you want to stimulate your appetite, and conversation at a party or social event, order the sophisticated Negroni; for a moment you'll feel like you're in Rome.
Cheers to the Negroni.