We at Pearl Modern have created a cocktail to celebrate Venice and all of its watery mystery and flamboyant carnivalesque exuberance. Inspired initially by the classic Venetian Bellini, we have put a twist on it, keeping it fresh but giving it a more complex, almost lurid flavor...
Cocktail Of The Week - "The Fresh Gondolier"
2 c Lillet Blanc (chilled)
1/8 c Cointreau
1 bottle good chilled Prosecco
1 ripe white peach, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh mint
chill four champagne flutes
in a pitcher, combine:
Lillet Blanc & Cointreau, stir
place two to three thin slices of white peach in the bottom of chilled champagne flutes
pour Lillet Blanc and Cointreau mixture halfway up the glass
fill glasses the rest of the way with chilled Prosecco
garnish each glass with a fresh mint sprig
Yet again, it is time for the denizens of the art world to descend upon Venice for the festivities surrounding the Venice Biennale. The ultra-chic, black clad intelligentsia arriving from or leaving for Basel will boat through swollen canals, hopping from fête to fête, surely sporting the latest Prada platform loafers.
Our one and only instance of being in the presence of Gina Lollobrigida was while on holiday in Rome years ago. We were dining on rigatoni pomodoro in a small restaurant not far from the Piazza di Spagna on a street with a wonderful old theater. While taking in the passers-by in all of their well put together finery, we noticed that the previously boisterous crowd of diners had gone silent. When we turned to see what was the impetus for such an abrupt quieting (fearing that a hot-blooded knife fight had broken out, as often does) and were startled to see the now older, yet still beautiful Gina Lollobrigida accompanied by two handsome young men walking into the restaurant wearing what looked like a long silk dressing gown and sporting a massive diamond necklace. It was the epitome of true glamour. We still feel privileged to have been in the company of a true Italian movie star, if only to be momentarily blinded by the glinting of her diamonds.
Venice has been the haunting backdrop of so many of our favorite films, such as Luchino Visconti's "Death In Venice", Alejandro Jodorowsky's "The Rainbow Thief" starring the incomparable Peter O'Toole, as well as Paul Schrader's "The Comfort of Strangers" with Christopher Walken playing such an amazing character that we often find ourselves reflecting on the image of him wearing a crisp white suit sitting in the most magnificent and decadent palazzo, his icy wife portrayed by Helen Mirren at his side. Another film we absolutely love is the Joseph Losey film "Eva" starring Jeanne Moreau, Stanley Baker and Virna Lisi. Jeanne Moreau is at her best in this gorgeous film from 1962, shot in hotel rooms, villas and bars that are grand and sinister, the architecture and decor luxurious and coldly unapproachable, very much like the character Moreau plays.
"Death In Venice", directed by Luchino Visconti, from 1971 features the magnificent performance by Dirk Bogarde, who also starred in another of our beloved Joseph Losey films - "The Servant" from 1963.
Finally, the tragically evocative Fifth Symphony (Adagietto) from Gustav Mahler that was used so brilliantly in the film "Death In Venice".