Blast from the Past: Bring Rome Home for the Holidays
This Blast from the Past was one of three advertorials I wrote for my good friends at Campari, circa 2001
Bring Rome Home for the Holidays
“Life isn’t always what one likes, is it?” So spake street-smart American newspaperman Joe Bradley, played by Gregory Peck, in the wonderful 1953 flick, Roman Holiday. And there’s more than a morsel of truth in his words: My work life is one thing I dislike at this time of year.
I’m no bah-humbug kind of person. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I party with the best. But you should see the kind of assignments I get during the holiday season: “Let’s do a piece on Egg Nogs.” “Could you write an article on Mulled Wine?” “Is it possible for you to get a Wassail column to us in, say, three hours?” They bring to mind another scene from Roman Holiday in which Oscar-winner Audrey Hepburn, playing a European princess bored with her royal lifestyle, complains, “Everything we do is so wholesome!” This year let’s make sure that life is what we like. We’ll have our very own Roman Holiday, and celebrate alla Italiano, at least when it comes to drinks.
Over the next couple of months you’ll no doubt be throwing a party, or at the very least attending one or several, and there’s one particularly annoying aspect of any party, be it dinner or merely a couple of hours filled with cocktails and perhaps a little antipasti. Cast your mind back to the last party you threw. Remember how labor-intensive it is to keep everyone supplied with drinks? Relax. You can make life what you like.
Get yourself to a good housewares store and buy a large infusion jar–you know, the kind with a small spigot close to the base. Now fill it with sliced fruit, fruit juice, vodka, and Campari—you’ll find a sample recipe below. You can prepare this sophisticated holiday cheer ahead of time so that when your guests arrive you can simply point to the table, which, of course, you will have filled with your new infusion jar surrounded by glasses and ice, and tell them to help themselves. The party will go quite swimmingly, and for once in your life, you’ll be enjoying it too.
To ring in the New Year Italian style, you’re going to need some Asti Cinzano, a sweet Italian sparkling wine, and then you’ll need some Campari to balance out the sweetness and create a sublime “Campari Cocktail.” There now, wasn’t that easy? And you don’t have to wait until the ball drops in Times Square to try it.
To cover up the fact that the princess was missing while Peck was entertaining Hepburn in Roman Holiday, her embassy issued a statement saying that she was ill. “That’s certainly pretty hard to swallow,” said Peck. Well, that certainly can’t be said of these wonderful Campari-based drinks, they’ll glide down your throat with style. Remember: Life can be what you like. Happy Holidays.
It’s always hard to figure out how to end any article, so since it’s the holiday season I’m going to give myself a present and give the last lines to Hepburn who, after falling in love with Peck in Roman Holiday had to return to the embassy and resume her position as princess. “I don’t know how to say goodbye. I can’t think of any words.” Thanks, your highness. Now life is what I like.