Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich, David Niven and Humphrey Bogart - not to mention fictional secret agent James Bond - have all helped to raise the classic dry martini to iconic status: the epitome of effortless cool. Even what it's served in - the emblematic Y-shaped glass - has become an icon known the world over as a martini glass (more on the problematic glass later). First and foremost, though, this cocktail is popular because it is delicious: flavoursome and strong as well as suave.
Count Negroni was quite a character: he had returned from the United States, where he rode the range, busted broncos and was a riverboat gambler while traveling through the Wild West. Oh, and for a time he was a fencing instructor on Madison Avenue, New York - now that is cool, and so appropriate for an Italian Count.
on the Chrystal.eu Food&Drink team enjoy the good things in life and, on the pages of this column, we celebrate them. We've covered great restaurant meals, lip-smacking wines, top quality olive oil, and we’ll continue to bring such delights to your attention. Now we are introducing a new weekly spot to (re)acquaint you with the classic cocktails.
So there I was being shown the three old olive grinding basins in Alziari’s charmingly antiquated mill, my nostrils filled with the heavy scent of crushed olives. The basins and the revolving grinding wheels are made from that same shiny beige marble-like sandstone - locally quarried - that we still see in the older curbstones of Nice, Monaco and other towns along the Riviera coast.
In the summer of 2010, perusing the short but promising wine list of the Bistrot d’Antoine in Old Nice, I plumped for a mid-range Côtes de Provence rosé that was unknown to me: “Classic” from Château Mouresse, at €28. It was seriously good: fruity but dry and with a pale pink blush.
The sizzle and smoke of a large wood burning grill was the first to reach my nostrils and demand my attention. The wafting smoke and burger assembly line took me back to summer BBQs and garden parties, despite being able to see my breath in the frigid winter air.
Sometimes food just seems right when eaten in its native land, and the simple specialities of Nice seem pretty damn perfect when overlooking the azure Mediterranean under a clear blue sky.