RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Rome

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Posted on
Image Credit: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., 2015

I can think of a lot of films deserving of a sequel that never came, but at the top of my list is Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Disc/Download). A cult-classic within the romance genre community, this 1960s-inspired spy thriller was born to have as many offshoots as Mission: Impossible or Danny Ocean’s crew. Why didn’t it? Because someone in Hollywood clearly hates me.

But seriously, what was the problem??? If I had to guess, I’d say that people just weren’t ready for such a cinematic love letter to the sixties. After all, most of the classic television shows that spawned successful movie franchises have all been updated for modern times. What’s great about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is that it recreates the era in which the original series took place, probably to a great deal of time and expense on the part of the studio. However, you simply can’t deny the appeal and beauty of this aesthetic. The Pierre Cardin-inspired dresses modeled by Alicia Vikander are my dream wardrobe, and if you’ve never seen Henry Cavill in an expertly tailored vintage suit… well, let’s just say you better keep an ice bucket on hand. And speaking of hot, can we talk about that dance between Vikander and Armie Hammer? She’s a cheeky British operative in disguise, he’s a no-nonsense KGB agent, but put them in a luxury hotel room with pajamas and a song from Dirty Dancing, and the result is a scene that’s forever etched into my brain. In my house, we don’t call this flick The Man from U.N.C.L.E. We call it, “Sexy Pajama Slap-Dance Movie”.

Because the action largely takes place around Rome, I decided to make a cocktail that’s bright, sparkling, and reflective of the Eternal City. While watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I recommend drinking a classic Negroni Sbagliato.

Negroni Sbagliato

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

3 oz Prosecco

Orange Slice (Garnish)

Build drink over a large ice cube, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Although we’ll probably never get a direct sequel to this film, I’m happy to report that Guy Ritchie managed to sneak some nods to U.N.C.L.E. in his latest release, The Gentlemen. It features a badass female mechanic, a cast of hot men, classic tailoring, a well-curated soundtrack, and even a Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie poster hanging in the background! This might be Ritchie’s way of closing the book on U.N.C.L.E., but I’m still clinging to any sign that we’ve not yet reached the end of the road for Solo and Kuryakin. After all, we still have Nazis to fight, and hot men still gotta work. Cheers!

Rome Adventure

Posted on

Rome Adventure

Image credit: Rome Adventure, 1962.

I’ll say one thing about Troy Donahue—he’s a unique kisser. Whether it’s on the beaches of California in A Summer Place, or in a carriage pulled through the streets of Rome in this week’s Rome Adventure (Disc/Download), he pretty much swallows his partner whole. I can’t know how it feels to be on the receiving end of one of these melodramatic lip attacks, but if Suzanne Pleshette married him three years after filming wrapped, it must have left an impression. She said arrivederci soon after the wedding vows, but… we won’t get into that.

If you love Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain, I urge you to check out this romantic drama. Suzanne Pleshette stars as a disgraced librarian Prudence, who flees to Rome in search of love and La Dolce Vita. She lands a sweet gig in an American bookshop just off the Piazza Navona, owned by a funny, sexy ex-pat (Constance Ford in a MUCH more appealing role than the racist mom in A Summer Place). There’s even a cute bookshop dog! Prudence falls for a charming American architect (Donahue), already under the spell of she-wolf Angie Dickinson and her fabulous silk evening gowns. Meanwhile an older man Prudence met on a cruise is still trying to seduce her, and a square student (who bears a remarkable resemblance to Beto O’Rourke) carries an unrequited torch. Let’s just say, this librarian goes looking for love and gets more than she bargained for.

The movie makes a bold case for the Italian aperitif Strega, a new-to-me spirit. As Prudence likes to say, it “turns the world gold”. While watching Rome Adventure, I recommend drinking this Strega Sunrise.

Strega Sunrise

2 oz Strega

1 oz Fresh orange juice

1 oz Lime Juice

1 tsp honey syrup

Orange Bitters

2 oz Club Soda

Orange Twist

Combine first five ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, then strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, and a twist of orange.

Strega Sunrise

If you want to make your viewing even more fun, take a drink every time someone says “Arrivederci!”  And now you’ll have to excuse me—I’m off to go fantasize about working in a Roman bookshop with a saucy broad and her sheepdog. Cheers!

Roman Holiday

Posted on

Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

For those lucky enough to be on spring break this week, I have one thing to say- I’m jealous! Although I do not have the week off, I am choosing to live vicariously through Audrey Hepburn by watching the movie Roman Holiday (DVD/Download). For anybody that wishes they had just one day off to do whatever they want, this is your movie.

Roman Holiday stars Gregory Peck as reporter Joe Bradley, who stumbles upon Princess Ann (played by Audrey Hepburn) after her escape from a rigid palace life. Upon meeting her, he thinks she’s just a drunk on the streets of Rome, but chivalrous, upstanding man that he is (this is Gregory Peck after all), he takes her back to his apartment and lets her sleep on his couch. The next day, he discovers her true identity, but in order to get a juicy newspaper scoop, he pretends he doesn’t know the truth. He and his photographer friend (played wonderfully by Eddie Albert) spend the day taking the Princess around Rome. They ride a Vespa, drink champagne and espresso, eat gelato on the Spanish Steps, and stick their hands in the Mouth of Truth. Watching the princess and Joe fall in love with each other and with Rome is pure fun, and Audrey Hepburn is absolutely radiant in her Oscar-winning role.

After Princess Ann is given some sleeping medication, she sneaks out of the palace by hopping in a Cinzano truck. Of course I have to use this brand of vermouth in my drink, along with Princess Ann’s favorite beverage- champagne (or Prosecco in this case). I plan to sip this drink and pretend I’m sitting at a sidewalk café in Rome, smoking a cigarette and genuinely enjoying life (I don’t really smoke, but she makes even this look adorable). While watching Roman Holiday, I recommend drinking a Sant’Angelo Sunset.

Sant’Angelo Sunset

½ cup blackberries

3 oz Cinzano sweet red vermouth

1 tablespoons sugar

6 oz Prosecco

Stir together blackberries, vermouth, and sugar. Let stand 1 hour until juices are released and sugar dissolves.

Spoon 2 tbsp. blackberry juice and 2-3 blackberries into a champagne flute or coupe. Top with Prosecco.

sant angelo sunset

This drink gets its name from the wonderful scene in the film where Audrey Hepburn visits a barge party along the banks of the Castel Sant’Angelo. I was lucky enough to walk these same banks on my honeymoon to Rome, and stumbled on an old film poster for Roman Holiday from a street vendor. Of course I had to buy it. This movie brings back memories of sweet gelato, soaking in the sun on the Spanish Steps, quietly traversing the Colesseum, and listening to the lovely sounds of the Italian language. Like Princess Ann, I will cherish my visit in memory as long as I live. Cheers!