Drink of the Week: The Countess Tracy (TCM Fest Salute #3)

The Countess Tracy.If you head over to Bullz-Eye’s James Bond Fan Hub, you may notice that the writer behind the painfully in-depth explorations of the Sean Connery 007 films is the same guy bringing you these beverage recipes week after week. So, of course, when I attended this year’s TCM Fest, I was going to make it a priority to finally check out the 2012 restored version of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” on the big screen.

Though originally regarded as something of a disappointment largely due to the replacement of Connery by George Lazenby, an unknown whose performance remains controversial (I’m not a huge fan), there is a small but growing community who argue it’s the best film in the entire series. My position is that it’s pretty great and very likely would have topped even “Goldfinger,” if only Connery had, in fact starred opposite the film’s actual leading lady, Diana Rigg, who very definitely is the greatest of all Bond girls.

Lazenby aside, OHMSS remains a mighty entertaining piece of work and by far the most faithful to any of the 007 novels, a most romantic and strangely melancholy tale for all its Bondian absurdity. (For more background information, feel free to check out my brother in Bondage Ross Ruediger’s fine ONHMSS exploration for Bullz-Eye.)

Today’s drink is devoted to easily the most complex and affecting leading lady in the Bond cannon so far. Teresa Draco, later the Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, and ultimately simply Tracy Bond. Especially as played by Diana Rigg, Tracy is no mere Bond girl. No, for all her girlish beauty, she’s really a full-fledged Bond woman who is more than capable of saving a superspy’s life after he saves her from death by suicide in the film’s opening.

My liquid take on OHMSS and Tracy Bond is an homage and update to the Vesper, Ian Fleming and bartender¬†Ivar Bryce’s tribute to the first of Bond’s lost loves from “Casino Royale.” And, yes, the Countess Tracy features bourbon, not gin. In the novels, Bond drank it probably more than anything else, and that meant he drank an awful lot of it.

The Countess Tracy

1 1/2 ounces Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce Smirnoff 100 proof vodka
1 orange twist (desirable garnish)

Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and, yes, shake this drink vigorously and never, ever, stir it. Ian Fleming hated ALL stirred drinks and his smirky, snobbish ghost will haunt you forever should you ever consider stirring any drink remotely related to him.

Anyhow, once you’re done shaking your drink as if being chased by the nefarious twosome of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt, strain it into a chilled cocktail glass (coupe or standard martini style). Add the orange twist and toast Diana Rigg. The adorable and entirely first-rate actress who played Tracy and also, of course, the greatest of all filmic female superspies, Emma Peel.

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I selected Basil Hayden’s bourbon because A. I had it in the house and B. It’s a damned fine bourbon of which I’m sure Bond and Fleming would have approved. Though named for an 18th century distiller, the brand wasn’t introduced until about three decades after Fleming’s untimely death. It was nevertheless featured, I understand, in the 2011 James Bond novel by Jeffery Deaver, Carte Blanche.

My selection of Campari was directly inspired by the choice of beverage of Tracy’s beloved father, benevolent criminal mastermind Marc-Ange Draco. In the movie (and the book, if memory serves), he drinks the very sweet/extremely bitter liqueur straight while serving Bond one of his shaken martinis.

Finally, the Lillet Blanc and the 100 proof vodka are pretty obviously ripped off from my explorations of the Vesper. I believe David Wondrich assumed the original Vesper used 100 proof Stolichnaya. I used Smirnoff because, well, it was in front of me. Today’s Lillet is apparently a fairly far cry from the Kina Lillet of Fleming’s day, and is one of the many reasons a modern-day Vesper needs to be modified a great deal to work properly. However, Lillet Blanc is a very lovely product in its own right, and it adds needed sweetness and light to the Countess Tracy.

As for the drink as a whole, I think I did good this time. It’s a bittersweet and very tasty tribute to the only woman, save Moneypenny, James Bond ever truly loved. Like Tracy, it’s refreshing and bold, with more than a hint of darkness. It’s a drink for which, you might say, I have all the time in the world.

  

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Dine From Your Mobile – How technology has changed the way we eat

Observant restaurant owners have noticed that more and more customers use their mobile devices before and during meals. Many use their smartphones to view menus before getting seated. It has also become popular for diners to take photos with their smartphones so they can share their experiences with others.

This trend could have a big effect on the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association notes that 40 percent of family-dining restaurants plan to spend more money on social media efforts in 2015. Approximately 50 percent of casual and fine-dining restaurants plan to follow that trend.
Restaurateurs know that mobile devices and social media play an increasingly important role in success. Devoting money to social media presence makes sense for restaurants that want to attract more tech-savvy customers.

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Understanding Casino Games

roulette table and players

Maybe I’m old school, but I still love visiting a casino with friends now and then, or even hosting a poker night in my apartment. There’s just something refreshing about good drinks, good friends, and good games. But too many times I’ve had buddies join in who had no idea what to do when they actually approached a popular game like poker, blackjack, or even roulette. It’s as if they think, “Oh, I’ve seen Rounders and Ocean’s 11, it’ll just kick in when I take my seat.”

Not exactly!

It doesn’t bother me that a lot of people don’t know how the most basic casino games work. At this point, most of us are playing these games online and in apps anyway, and everything is streamlined and simplified to be idiot-proof. But if you’re like me and have an appreciation for the actual games and the thrill of gambling, read on for a basic explanation of some of the most popular games.

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Another World: Dubai Etiquette and Culture Tips for Tourists

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Dubai is a fascinating destination and a great place to enjoy a vacation. If you are looking for somewhere exotic and completely different, you will find it here. However, one thing that you have to be careful of is that the customs and culture here are very different from back home.

There are a few things that you should avoid doing while you are in Dubai if you want to get the most from your stay, and a few etiquette tips that you may want to follow. Here is what you need to know when you arrive to enjoy your stay and avoid experiencing any problems.

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Sights to See around London

Y-On Location London

London, the capitol of England, is one of those cities that you could spend many months in and only see a fraction of all the sights it has to offer. The largest city in England has an enormous amount of treasure to offer those who choose to visit this fabulous historic city. London has something for everybody. If you are a lover of soccer, otherwise known as football, you can take in a game played by Arsenal, Chelsea or any of the other local English Premier League clubs. If you like concerts, the O2 Arena and the Royal Albert Hall host some of the biggest music acts in the world. The city is also full of some of the top rated restaurants in all of Europe. Before you book your flight, do some research to find London hotels at a discount rate. Here are some of the best sights to see around London.

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