I subscribe to John Keats' belief that a recipe for a perfect summer's idyll involves "books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." And there's something about the long, languorous evenings of early summer that tempts me to ponder cocktail recipes. It's a matter of puzzlement to me that this is an area where opera has made fewer cultural inroads, it would seem, than in that of food. We have opera cake
, we have pêches Melba
, tournedos Rossini, etc. etc. So why not cocktails, when so many opera characters, in so many situations, invite everyone to drink? I first discovered this dearth when the Beloved Flatmate and I were planning a party, and several years on, the situation seems to be fundamentally unchanged.
A few opera houses, at least, have embraced the idea of opera-inspired tippling. The Met has several themed drinks on their menu
; "Lulu's Disposable Lover" might be my new favorite cocktail name. Seattle Opera also commissioned a series of themed drink/food pairings
, of which my favorite is the Carmen cocktail
, with vodka, cointreau, and champagne. (The Attila
sounds appropriately dangerous.) Beyond this, I have found several delights, but fewer than I expected.