Starting this evening, Friday nights chez Walpole CEO will go full Downton Abbey: at 5.30pm the family will be required to leave their workstations/virtual classrooms to dress for dinner, before meeting in the drawing room for cocktails and music at 6, possibly with friends if we can persuade them to Zoom with us. A virtual drinks party is a tiny bit peculiar, but at times of national crisis, we must do our best with what we have, and dream of a future when we can once more go out.
To make my first ‘At Home’ particularly special, I plan to embrace the spirit of the Roaring Twenties and the Venice-Simplon Orient Express by tuning into @belmond on Instagram where pianist and singer Joe Stilgoe will give a live performance of what F. Scott Fitzgerald would have called ‘yellow cocktail music’. I have invited a few Walpole friends (feel free to join us on Zoom), and I recommend we all have a go at making Hotel Cipriani barman Walter Bolzonella’s Amagroni (see recipe below), a sophisticated, modern take on my favourite Negroni, to drink whilst we listen and chat.
Anyone who misses their culture fix as much as I do will want to make an evening of it and watch The Royal Ballet’s Peter and the Wolf at 7pm - stream for free on Facebook or YouTube, part of the ROH’s brilliant #OurHousetoyourHouse campaign. Described by The Telegraph as ‘one of the most beguiling children’s ballets around’, Peter and the Wolf promises to be an uplifting antidote to a rather strange week.
Ingredients: 1 oz (3 c) l mix Vermouth 1 oz (3 cl) Bitter Campari ½ oz (1.5 cl ) Bitter delle Sirene or Amaro del Capo 1 oz (3 cl )Tanqueray Gin 2 dashes Orange Bitters Décore with orange peel
Preparation Pour the ingredients in an old fashioned glass with ice and stir with a bar spoon.
This is a classic Italian-style cocktail inspired by the king of the aperitifs “ Negroni” - a balance of sweet and bitter given by the vermouth Campari and the Bitter. Enjoy!