The query arrived in my inbox one cold and dreary day last November. Would I be interested in travelling to Rome to meet Clive Owen, the star of Campari’s new short film Killer in Red directed by Paolo Sorrentini (of The Young Pope fame), and to attend the very chic celebration of the film’s premiere in the Eternal City. Would I heck?
So the last week of January saw me arrive at Rome’s beautiful Hotel Regina Baglioni for two days of Campari-infused glamour. I adore Campari, and it seems that the Italians do too – it’s the most popular aperitif in the country. The splash of the translucent red liquid into a heavy cut glass tumbler, the fizz of soda over clinking ice cubes, the scent of the orange slice on the edge of the glass: it’s my favourite drink.
We started the evening by meeting Campari’s key twelve bartenders from around the world, all of whom have created a bespoke Campari cocktail, and by watching a teaser of the Clive Owen film.
I had an early night: the big event was happening the next day, and I wanted to be on good form.
I awoke early to this view from my fifth floor bedroom window. (above)
After eating our way through the Baglioni’s breakfast buffet, we convened at the hotel to walk the ten minutes through Rome to the press conference launch of the movie. It was only my second visit to Rome – the first was some twelve years ago, for 24hours, so being able to see the city was a treat, and it helped to put the Campari campaign into context.
We watched Killer in Red in the most glamorous Roman cinema: the film is very noir, with Owen’s protagonist playing a man with a back story. There are some brilliant 80s LA clubland scenes and, as with all short films, there’s a lot to think about, and a lot to process.
I spent the afternoon at the Villa d’Este, checking out the Berninis, and exploring the gardens in which it is set, and which are just a few short blocks from the Baglioni. Given that Killer in Red was shot at Cinecitta, and Campari’s heritage, I wanted to get a feel for the city before meeting with Clive Owen later that afternoon.
The lemon and orange trees certainly got me in the mood for a Campari and soda.
Then it was back to the Baglioni to meet Mr Owen, to talk about the film. He’s a very engaging man, with a charming persona far, far from the hard men characters upon which he has built his reputation.
Soon after it was time to dress for the party – the dress code was ‘A Flash of Red’, so I felt that a pair of Louboutins fit the bill perfectly.
Although I then realised just how cold it was outside, and and realised that tights and black lace ankle boots were a better idea, so reverted to Flash of Red plan (b): my new Bobbi Brown red lipstick.
The party was ridiculously glamorous, with hordes of gazelle-like models roaming the halls, and flash bulbs going off every time a VIP entered the atrium.
We, of course, were drinking Campari spritzes, made with Prosecco – when in Italy…
After the screening of the film to the assorted VIPs, we felt it imperative to taste the Killer in Red, the eponymous cocktail of the movie. It is utterly delicious – sweet, sharp, floral, and I have the recipe for you below, as well as the link to the film itself.
The Killer in Red Cocktail: Campari, Vermouth Bianco, Grand Marnier, Camomile gin and a drop of rose essence.
2.25 cl Campari
2.25 cl Cinzano 1757 Vermouth Bianco
1.5cl Grand Marnier
2.25 cl Chamomile infused gin
1 drop of rose essence
Method: Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir with a bar spoon.
Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe.
Finish with a drop of rose essential oil and serve.
With huge thanks to Campari for sending me to Rome.