Cocktail hour is de riguer, ca Toma. Whatever the time of day, my antique Spanish secretary is stocked and ready to indulge. In January I shared with you one of my favorite cocktails, a French 75 – what I call Coco Chanel with a Dagger. While I’ll always be a champagne girl, since moving to Venice, I’ve adopted a new favorite aperitivo: a Spritz! sweet, bitter, citrusy, sparkling and slightly salty, a Spritz is delightful any time of day!
Nearly every trace of Austria’s occupation of Venice in the 19th century is gone, except the Spritz! Made with white wine and sparkling water, Hapsburg soldiers brought ‘sprizzen’ to Venice. While keeping the name, Venice added the attitude and the color with a dash of bitter orange flavored liqueur.
When in Venice, expect to pay around €2.50 – unless you too are addicted the Gritti Hotel, where I happily pay €15 for the ambiance and views. Your Spritz can also be made with Aperol or Campari – slightly sweeter or more bitter. While Aperol is my favorite, Select is perhaps less well known around the world so I want to share with you my recipe for a summer Venetian Spritz – Select style! If you prefer Campari or Aperol, just substitute bitters!
Speaking of substitutions, of course ca Toma I substitute the white wine with prosecco!
Venetian Spritz Recipe
• 4 ounces prosecco
• Sparkling water
• 1 ½ to 2 ounces Select
• Orange slice
• 1 green olive
In a white wine glass over three or four ice cubes, pour the prosecco, a splash of sparkling water and the Select -, in that order so the Select sinks to the bottom. Garnish with a slice of orange and an olive.
Book an antique buying tour to Italy – and be sure to include Venice on your itinerary, I’d love to introduce you to Toma’s Venice!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>On Friday evenings Chez Antiques Diva, Mister Divo (aka the Wine Guy) takes off his sommelier hat and tries his hand at mixology. While each week he personally likes to try something new, testing new recipes for Blood & Sands, Horses Necks, Sidecars and various type of Martinis, I tend towards having a favorite drink – a signature drink. 9 times out of 10 when he asks my flavor I respond with a sigh…. “Give me Coco Chanel with a Dagger” – my code name for the French 75. It’s elegant yet packing heat!
French 75 Recipe, per my husband:
- Put Champagne flute in freezer
- 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 oz rich simple syrup
- Fill shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup
- Shake like mad until well-chilled, then strain into chilled Champagne flute
- Top with Champagne (do NOT use a low quality sparkler…)
- Stir gently and rim the glass with the lemon
- Garnish with a long, thin lemon spiral and a cherry (I like to use a bing cherry if available)
Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 80px; line-height: 70px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>”Fancy meeting you here!” I exclaimed as I kissed my husband hello last night as he walked out of Berlin Tegel airport and into my arms. At last, we were in the same place at the same time! He was returning home from a business trip to his company chateau in France while I’d just whizzed in from taking a “to the trade” buyer to Belgium on an antiques shopping tour. I’m home for exactly 6 days before leaving again for Italy – this time helping an interior designer shop for antiques to furnish a 200 year old 6000 square foot Tuscan villa – and I wanted to make the most of every minute with my darling husband! After all, between his crazy travel schedule and mine meeting at our home town in Berlin has become a rarity!
As he loosened his tie throwing his briefcase in the backseat, I put my Audi in drive and said, “Not yet – I’m kidnapping you! We’ve got a date at the Hotel de Rome!” In confusion he lifted his brows looking back at the airport. “Not Rome as in Italy, Silly Boy” I chidded, “Rocco Forte’s 5 star extravaganza in Berlin at the Babelplatz!”
I hadn’t taken a room, but rather thought a cocktail date to catch up on life, love and other mysteries was in order. I love the romance of yesteryear sitting in a moody lounge with a pianist tickling the ivories as I sip slowly at a drink in a dark corner. My husband ordered the Horse Neck, me the Talihito… An American expat lounge singer strolled onto the small stage and began to croon lyrics lost in love in the 80’s and as my husband and I held hands and whispered sweet nothings I sighed, “There’s nothing like being in the same place at the same time…”
Next time you’re in Berlin I’d recommend popping over to the Bebel Bar at the Hotel de Rome! For more ideas on where to go for drinks in Berlin see Paul Sullivan of Slow Travel Berlin guide in the Guardian to the top-10-cocktail-bars-berlin” target=”_blank”>Best Cocktails in Berlin.
Until next time, cheers!
The Antiques Diva®
to 10px; width: 332px; cursor: hand; height: 400px; text-align: center;” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S4rQHw0eoHI/AAAAAAAAEUA/h8-XU3zACw8/s400/DESIGNCOMMOTION.jpg” alt=”” border=”0″ />top: 2px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Last month I had the opportunity to “do Paris” on the arm of Saxon Henry, the vivacious force behind Design Commotion, an online design magazine exploring everything hot in the world of design and architecture. Saxon was in Paris with her good friend, the effervescent Patty Otis Abel, writing and researching an article for Delta Airlines in-flight magazine. Stay Tuned for the article in June 2010.
I whisked Saxon & Patty away from the daily grind of 5-star lunches, tours of fancy French museums and private meetings with Paris’ hottest designers and boutique/gallery owners to take them on an all-day outing to the Paris Flea Markets, hitting both Porte de Vanves and the Puce at the Porte de Clignancourt as well as an elusive one-day “vide grenier” (attic sale) before doing cocktails with famed bartender Colin Field at the Ritz Hemingway Bar then dining out at L’Absinthe, catching up with the Queen of Paris, Kim P, and Diva Friend & Helper, Sylvia!
All in all, it was a dashing day… but why tell you about it, when you can WATCH a snippet of our adventure on YOUTUBE!?!
Saxon is a media-marketing warrior with an entourage of gadgets in her bag – and she caught me on film with her FLIP Video camera. On the following video you’ll see me explaining to Saxon Henry how I like to use my antiques and vintage finds in practical ways! In other words, I never display antiques like a grandmother does! Watch & learn while I share a technique for using a vintage glass French flower frog!
to 10px; width: 150px; cursor: hand; height: 150px; text-align: center;” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S4rQIK3wVrI/AAAAAAAAEUI/VBHAVMIbrqQ/s400/flower-frog-with-pens-150×150.jpg” alt=”vintage French flower frog from The Paris Flea Market” width=”150″ height=”150″ border=”0″ />If you love this idea then it’s time for me to fess up! My good friend La Reine, author of the She’s Shopping Now blog, originally came up with this idea years ago when she learned that both our husbands were fountain pen collectors! She gave my husband my first flower frog and I’ve been an addict ever since. For more Diva-Tested, Diva-Approved ideas make sure to tors!%20She%20gave%20my%20husband%20my%20first%20flower%20frog%20and%20I’ve%20been%20an%20addict%20ever%20since.%20For%20more%20Diva-Tested,%20Diva-Approved%20ideas%20make%20sure%20to%20%3Ca%20href=” target=”_blank”>visit La Reine’s blog – She’s Shopping Now!
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Just a quick blog to say “à bientôt”! This August WG & I are running away for a deliciously long holiday. We’ll set sail on a Holland America Mediterranean Cruise next week after taking a short driving tour through Italy and visiting two of our favorite places – Piedmont and Tuscany. We’ve never a done a cruise and perhaps it wasn’t the brightest idea to book our first cruise for 20 days, but my suitcase is packed and I’m ready to hit the sea! Speaking of suitcases, you should see mine… stuffed to the seams with cocktail dresses, gala gowns, giant straw hats and a sundress for almost every day on board!
Our itinerary looks like something out of a James Bond movie, starting from Civitavecchia to Livorno, on to Monte Carlo before docking at Barcelona and Palma De Mallorca. Then it’s La Goulette, Palermo, Napels and back to Civitavecchia where it all began. While the 10 day passengers disembark, WG and I will sip cocktails in the shade, dreaming of Dubrovnik and the other ports of call in part two of our cruise – Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, Kusadasi, Valletta and Messina! It’s going to be a vacation to remember.
But don’t worry dear diva readers, I haven’t forgotten you. While I’m away on a dream vacation, I’ll still be thinking of you. In fact, this past month I’ve been thinking of you double time as I wrote not only my July blogs but also pre-blogged and pre-posted for the month I’m away. In addition to featuring some reader questions this next month, you will also find that I got a little help from my friends. La Reine and Lady Lotus take the helm a few times, writing on subjects such as Des Moines, Kimono Shopping in Japan, Hungarian Baby Bath Tubs and they even embark on a Coleslaw War to see whose slaw is the tastiest! So stay tuned for more Antiques Diva previously-prepared postings this August.
The Antiques Diva™
The Canadian Queen writes, “Don’t miss The Signatures Christmas Show in Ottawa, Canada – it’s their 25th anniversary!” This year’s party theme is “Crafts and Cocktails” and with a theme such as that (spotlighting 2 of my most favorite things), you’d be crazy to miss the fun and festivities!
Ms. Holland wrote in saying “this was an impressive list of art and antiques fairs, and in (her) opinion, PAN Amsterdam should definitely be on it!” Right she is, for I was completely remiss to have left the much-anticipated PAN Amsterdam off my list! It’s been on my personal calendar for months and I’ve already scheduled an outing to attend with some of my “Antiques Diva” friends! PAN Amsterdam is The Netherlands leading national art and antiques fair, offering valuable art and antiques for inspection and purchase at the Amsterdam RAI. More than 100 dealers from the Benelux region present an impressive variety of objects ranging from classical antiquity to contemporary art and photography and the fair is renowned for its reasonable prices. Simply put, it’s a “must do” on your “to do” list!
The Antiques Diva ™
(with a little help from her friends!)