Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sherwood Forest Cocktail from Hotel Cipriani


Sherwood Forest is a name for a wonderful sparkling cocktail that I’m going to share with you and it’s also an excuse to gush about the 1938 classic film The Adventures of Robin Hood that happens to be my favorite film (there may be others that are smarter and deeper but this has been my #1 since age 8--I am nothing if not loyal) that also inspired my career choice.

The first time I drove by myself to Chicago I went to the Biograph Theater to see a matinee of The Adventures of Robin Hood , barely weeks after my 16th birthday. I had seen it on the small screen for years but this was my first time in a theater with a good print. As Sam Coleridge said somewhere … it was as if the cataracts had been removed from my eyes. The color, the color!!!

The New Yorker magazine once did a magnificent piece on the wonders of 3 strip Technicolor films (it was shot with 3 strips of film registering green, red and blue to which was added cyan, magenta and yellow--this was combined to make the full-color image) and the magical way they maintained their vibrancy when younger films had already begun to fade. My experience that day was that I had opened a jewel box. Errol was perfect (with great legs), Olivia was perfect (with great clothes), even the bad guys were perfect (with great voices) and the colors… astonishing.

When I moved to NY, I saw it again at an Upper West Side Theater. The audience was as colorful as the film and when Errol walked into the castle with a deer slung over his shoulder in those tights…. an entire audience gasped and giggled in awe and delight at the greatest legs on the planet. It was an unforgettable NY moment.

Think of good always triumphing over evil… in Technicolor. When times are tough and the good guys seem to be taking it on the chin, this is the movie to see. If you’ve never seen it…. get yourself a copy… you will thank me. Having one of these Sherwood Forest Cocktails while you watch with good friends on a rainy afternoon… is there anything that a sparkling cocktail doesn’t improve?

Photo by Christopher Strickland

There really is a Sherwood Forest, you know. Situated in Nottinghamshire in the center of England, it is home to many ancient trees -- most notably the “Major Oak” that is so enormous it has a 35’ waist! The tree was young when Robin Hood’s liege lord, Richard the Lionheart, was King of England at the end of the 12th Century (although Richard was born in Oxford, he never spoke English and spent nearly all of his life out of the country—so much for this “English Legend” who died and was buried in France).

The Major Oak

This drink comes from the Cipriani Hotel in Venice, Italy--

nowhere near Sherwood Forest! I found Walter Bolzonella’s recipe

for the drink in the pages of Gourmet Magazine many years ago.

For the life of me the only thing the cocktail has to do with Sherwood Forest is that its color resembles one that was used in Olivia de Havilland’s costumes. It is Technicolor tinted-with-blackberry blue-red. Sherwood Forest is Bolzonella’s name for the drink, not mine. It’s a great twist on Cipriani’s classic Bellini with spiced blackberries supplying the fruit component of the drink instead of the more demure white peach. I intend to use the spicing for the next blackberry pie I make… it is really a great combination.

Sherwood Forest Cocktails

Serves 5

½ c water

2 whole cloves

6 juniper berries (crushed)

Zest of ½ lime

2 t honey

1” piece of cinnamon

1 c blackberries

¼ - 1/3 C Maple Syrup (they used Lt. Brown Sugar)

2 c crushed ice

2 ½ C Prosecco

Boil the water, add the spices and honey and cool. Strain and pour the infusion into a blender with the berries, maple syrup and ice and blend. Pour through a sieve. Use 3 T puree for ½ c of Prosecco.

35 comments:

Tanya said...

A lovely recipe and a wonderful read. I'll be trying it out, but I'll need to find a suitable substitute for the wine. If you have any ideas, I'd be glad to hear.

lostpastremembered said...

Tanya> You could try any of the wonderful non-alcoholic champagnes out there.. just make sure it's not too sweet or put less sugar in the berry mixture....you could also try club soda and then just add more berry!

Trix said...

Omg, I haven't seen that movie in forever, but your post makes me want to see it right this minute! The drink looks delicious (could sure use one right about now) but I'm with you - no idea what that has to do with Sherwood Forest. Maybe it makes sense after you have a few. Weird - i just posted a drinks post ... great minds.

La Table De Nana said...

My goodness I just prepared a little post re Maple Syrup and we chatted about Prosecco yesterday..

This looks lovely..your photos even look like A Lost Past remembered..

A co~ worker ate at The River café in London last week and had Prosecco and Blood Orange said it was great..this sounds better.

gastroanthropologist said...

What an interesting cocktail - sounds pretty amazing. Think it would be quite enjoyable sitting in a treehouse enjoying this drink whilte waiting for Robin to return from stealing from the rich.

tasteofbeirut said...

I would love to si on this while sitting at the Cipriani in Venice!

Rachana Kothari said...

A lovely post and I absolutely loved the cocktail recipe:)

Rettabug said...

Again, you are a wealth of information! Of course, you had me hooked at the first mention of Prosecco. :-) I must copy this one down & look forward to trying it as soon as I find some juniper berries. Thank you!

Stella said...

This sounds so aromatic. And it's kind of making me want to watch that corny version of Robin Hood-I won't mention exactly which version in case it's someone's favorite movie or something!
Anyway, so intriguing as always...

Deanna said...

I've never seen that movie but I love old movies. If I promise this drink will be served I might even get other people to watch it with me.

lostpastremembered said...

Trix>Everything makes sense.and all things are possible after you've had a few...
La TabledelaNana>I love maple syrup... so much more luxurious than brown sugar... just had to make the substitution.... and it is great... Doc thought it would be very fine for brunch.
Gastroanthropoligist>If I knew Errol was coming to that treehouse...I might even wait to have one with him!
Taste of Beirut> that is its home... it must be best there~
Rachana> It is really well spiced...an elegant blend
Retabug> If you like Prosecco and Bellinis... this is for you.
Stella> stick with the classic...there was a reason the other one wouldn't put on the tights... the comparison would be crushing!
Deanna>Oh do watch it...it is spectacular. Sort of perfect for what it is.

Faith said...

I had never heard of the "Major Oak" until now...what a breathtaking tree. These cocktails really seem to capture the essence of the forest...absolutely brilliant!

Velva said...

Cheers to the Classic Adventures of Robin Hood and to a new cocktail. Love it.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

What a classic! You always capture the mood of your food/drinks so aptly. Beautiful presentation! And thank you for giving us a blast from the past.

zurin said...

I use dto watch the robin hood series as a kid!lol loved it...

how clever to make a drink after the famous legend!

lostpastremembered said...

Faith, isn't it out of this world? Such a presence... I can't wait to visit and feel it's great spirit...what it must have seen in all these years!
Velva>It is a great classic... watching it again just made me beam!
Ju>It is such a classic.. the drink will become one of yours!
Zurin> That's funny... as I said it has been my favorite for a zillion years!

Moira said...

Hi Deana,
When I was a child i saw all the movies of Robin Wood, they could be nothing special but they are part of my history :) and i still love them. There's another old film that I love wich is Casablanca.
The cocktail has a lovely colour

lostpastremembered said...

Oh Moira> How I love your blog.... it is amazing how they stick with you... Casablanca is one of my favorites too!!!! It is a lovely color isn't it?

Barbara said...

Deana, you are so right about Errol! He was the best Robin Hood. (And you're also right about his legs!)
Leave it to the Cipriani to come up with something greatly resembling a Bellini, but with so many more layers of flavor. The cloves and cinnamon must be reminiscent of fall...be fun to serve it then. The color is gorgeous, no doubt from those blackberries. Perhaps for Thanksgiving?

I am now on a 40's binge of DVD's. I have Netflix and am watching all those old musicals. Such charm....and such talent. Love old movies.

lostpastremembered said...

Barbara> best legs ever... and if you are on a binge.. may I recommend Gary Cooper in "Ball of Fire" -- get a load of Stanwyck's dress... and Cooper was never more adorable. The drink is really good now, to be honest... and you could make it out of frozen berries if you wanted.

5 Star Foodie said...

What a great drink! Do you think I can make a nonalcoholic version of this? My daughter would be excited as she is just reading about Robin Hood adventures.

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

I loved the Robin Hood movies when I was young. I always fantasized that I would one day be in Sherwood Forest (and also marry Prince Phillip, if Sherwood Forest didn't turn out). Alas, I am relegated to enjoying the cocktail! This sounds really interesting. An herbal mix with prosecco. It sounds like a great summertime cooler.

lostpastremembered said...

5 starfoodie> I recommend a non-alcoholic champagne.. some are veyr good these days and they have them at the health food store. I'd say try club soda but the extra flavor is good in it.
All our fingers>me too, Sarah... I always dreamed of life with Errol...sadly he was long dead by the time I watched him and even longer dead before I could do any running away!

Fimère said...

j'ai adoré la lecture encore plus le cocktail, c'est frais et savoureux
bonne soirée

Carolyn Jung said...

I wonder if I can sneak one of these into the movie theater, when the new Russell Crowe "Robin Hood'' movie comes out. Either that, or I'm going to have to patiently wait for the DVD to get my cocktail fix. ;)

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

This looks fabulous! I am so glad I discovered your blog!!

Heavenly Housewife said...

You are truly fabulous daaaahling. Beautifully done! I love the old movie stills. ONe day I'm going to make the trip to Sherwood Forest and see it for myself. Its about an hour and a half's car ride from me.
*kisses* HH

lostpastremembered said...

Fimeré> it would make for a good party drink..merci!
Lorraine> I had always seen it in color but on the then crappy tv screen. The theater screen was a revelation. I think the brilliant addition of juniper evoked the forest for the inventor... so good together!
Carolyn>Put it in a sippy cup and go for it!
Jessica> Glad to have you stop by... it is fabulous!
Heavenly Housewife> I want to stop to see it this summer... what a tree and what a drink!

Gemma said...

It's a very interesting story. The drink comes from Venice is very surprising because it's a place so far away of Sherwood Forest!
The drink color its very nice :)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good afternoon!

Thank you for coming to my blog! I put the glitter in the silver condiment sets and the last salt and pepper set I found on Google. Just go out and find a nice S&P set that you like that is clear and VOILÀ, you got yourself a fun way to show off your glitter! Thanks so much for your kind comments and I LOVE THIS ROBIN HOOD MOVIE! The sets, the costumes, are just gorgeous. The furniture is TDF.

This sounds like a yummy cocktail for a summernights' eve....

Anita

lostpastremembered said...

Gemma>It is funny they named it after an English place, isn't it? And I never think of purple as a forest color!
Castlescrowns and cottages> I did love the glitter! I agree, pretty much everything about Robin Hood is gorgeous.. Errol most of all!

David Julian said...

Making this cocktail for Easter Sunday. Sounds wonderful, although not sure I can get the juniper berries.

I made the "Easter Sunrise" cocktail someone referred to above as the blood orange and Presecco. However, the fresh squeezed oranges, even though put through a sive, still caused the Prosecco to bubble up and left an unappealing reside on the sides of the champaign flute.

Ken Albala said...

SO, did you know those great forest shots were filmed a few miles north of my house in Stockton, CA? We even have a Robin Hood Lane and Sherwood Mall here, though few people know why.

andrew1860 said...

I have a black and white photo from this movie of Errol Flynn hanging in my bathroom!

David DeWitt said...

Wonderful looking cocktail and fascinating story to go with it! If you want to learn more about Errol Flynn visit http://theerrolflynnblog.com where we discuss his life and career. Features many rare photos and Errol's daughter Rory Flynn is also a member of the blog!