Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Special: Viva il vino spumeggiante

Opera cocktail
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.


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