Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Cocktails and “Clemenza”

The passion, drama, and intrigue of ancient Rome awaits in Lyric's new-to-Chicago production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito  (on stage now through March 23). Get into the spirit with these beverages inspired by this magnificent opera.

Clemenza_Cocktails

The passion, drama, and intrigue of ancient Rome awaits in Lyric's new-to-Chicago production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (on stage now through March 23). Get into the spirit with these beverages inspired by this magnificent opera.

A Dash of Betrayal

Betrayal

Vitellia and Sesto should have toasted their plan to assassinate the emperor with this blood-red delight. A sweet and spicy concoction, it perfectly captures their all-consuming passion and its tragic consequences.

  • 1 1/2 ounces jalapeño-infused tequila
  • 1/2 ounce blood orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce honey
  • 1/2 ounce Monin blood orange syrup

Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist. (Recipe from Drew Levinson, Wirtz Beverage Nevada)

Bloody Tito 

Bloody_Tito

Vitellia and Sesto were unsuccessful in their attempt to murder the emperor, but this take on the Bloody Mary reminds us of what might have been.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces Clamato juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
  • 3 to 5 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Ice
  • Pickled green beans, for garnish (optional)
  • Lemon wedge, for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients except ice and garnishes in a shaker, fill with ice, shake vigorously, and pour into an 8-ounce glass. If desired, garnish with pickled green beans and a lemon wedge. (Recipe from Chow.com)

Diva/Divo 

Diva_Divo

In honor of the two trouser roles in La Clemenza di Tito, excellently portrayed by Joyce DiDonato and Cecelia Hall, here's a cocktail that indulges the masculine and feminine sides of the taste spectrum with a good-quality whiskey and a slightly sweet homemade sour mix and maraschino cherries.

  • 3/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
  • 2/3 cup sugar syrup (see note)
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherries

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and pour in the drink mix 2/3 full. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into four glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold. Note: To make the sugar syrup, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill before using. (Recipe from Ina Garten at Food Network)

Negroni 

Clemenza_Chorus

All Romans love the distinctive taste of Campari, so you can channel some of the Italian spirit (and toast Emperor Titus's health) with this classic cocktail.

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce gin
  • Orange peel for garnish

Combine all of the ingredients in a short glass filled with ice and stir. Run the orange peel around the edge of the glass, lightly squeezing to express the oils. Drop the peel into the glass and enjoy. (Recipe from The Kitchn)

Photo credits:

  • Amanda Majeski and Joyce DiDonato in La Clemenza di Tito (photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Matthew Polenzani in La Clemenza di Tito; Chorus and sets from Clemenza (photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Joyce DiDonato...and Joyce DiDonato (photo copyright Nick Heavican)
  • The Lyric Opera Chorus in La Clemenza di Tito (photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago
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Imbibe with THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

Rossini's comedic classic The Barber of Seville is onstage now at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Channel the characters and composer (and chase away the winter blues!) with these delightful cocktail recipes, but don't count on Figaro to get you out of a jam if you overindulge!

 

BarberCocktails

Rossini's comedic classic The Barber of Seville  is onstage now at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Channel the characters and composer (and chase away the winter blues!) with these delightful cocktail recipes, but don't count on Figaro to get you out of a jam if you overindulge!

Seville Cocktail

Escape to sunny Seville with this cocktail, which made with sour Seville oranges (named for the Spanish city). Like Rosina, it's well-behaved with a bit of a kick!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, to taste according to your oranges
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice (sour Sevilles if possible)

Directions

Shake all the ingredients vigorously with cracked ice. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Serve. (Recipe from SippitySup.)

Fig-aro, Fig-aro, Fig-aro

The busiest man in Seville deserves a refreshing cocktail after a long day of solving everyone else's problems. This one fuses prosecco and tequila with - what else - figs!

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Italian fig preserves
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 1 ounce reposado tequila
  • Prosecco

Directions

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients except Prosecco. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into champagne flute. Top with Prosecco. (Recipe from La Cucina Italiana magazine.)

The Tipsy Soldier

As part of the plan to woo Rosina, Figaro convinces Almaviva to pose as a drunken soldier - this strong rum-based cocktail will give anyone the courage to approach their beloved.

  • 1 1/2 oz. gold rum
  • 1/4 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Ginger ale or ginger beer (the spicier, the better!)
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: skewered slice of orange, candied ginger, lime and cherry

Directions

Fill old-fashioned glass with crushed ice and then add rum, gin, and lime juice. Top with ginger ale and garnish. (Recipe adapted from Imbibe magazine).

Dr. Bartolo's Dirty Martini

Nothing assists scheming to marry your much-younger ward better than a classic dirty martini.

Ingredients
2 1/2 shots Gin
1/2 shot of brine from cocktail olives
1/8 shot extra-dry Vermouth

Directions
Shake ingredients with ice in cocktail shaker and strain. Serve chilled. (Recipe from Food Network's Michael Chiarello.)

Anything for a Dime (aka the Don Basilio)

The hypocritical Don Basilio is Rosina's music teacher-and he's willing to do just about anything if the price is right. Indulge your inner money maker with this appropriately green concoction.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 ounce pear-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce green melon liqueur (preferably Midori)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Lemon wedge & lime twist for garnish

Directions
Combine vodka, liqueur, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled short glass. Garnish with a lime twist and a lemon wedge. (Recipe from Food Network).

The Rossini

Named after composer Giaochino Rossini (a noted foodie!), this cocktail is a take on the classic Bellini.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar syrup (boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until dissolved completely, chill)
  • 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 6 orange zest strips, for garnish
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle prosecco, chilled

Directions

Place strawberries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth. Strain liquid through fine-mesh sieve to make a seedless puree. Add sugar syrup and Grand Marnier to puree, and refrigerate until very cold. Rub the rim of each glass with orange zest. Pour prosecco into champagne glasses until 3/4 full. Carefully stir 2 Tbsp. puree into each glass and serve very cold. (Recipe by Ina Garten from Oprah.com).

Pictured above (l-r) Alek Shrader as Almaviva bribes Kyle Ketelsen as Don Basilio. Alek Shrader poses as the drunken soldier. Dr. Bartolo (Alessandro Corbelli) attempts to woo Rosina (Isabel Leonard). Photo credits: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

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Drinking with DIE FLEDERMAUS

As you’re planning the menu for your holiday gatherings, why not take a cue from the greatest of all drinking operas—Die Fledermaus—and raise a glass or two? Throw caution to the wind and drink the night away like Eisenstein, Rosalinde, Adele, Dr. Falke, and the rest of the delightfully inebria

As you’re planning the menu for your holiday gatherings, why not take a cue from the greatest of all drinking operas – Die Fledermaus– and raise a glass or two? Throw caution to the wind and drink the night away like Eisenstein, Rosalinde, Adele, Dr. Falke, and the rest of the delightfully inebriated crew. But be sure to enjoy in moderation – not every law enforcement officer is as tolerant of mistaken identity and comic confusion as Governor Frank!

 

Eisenstein’s Champagne the First Cocktail

Just like Eisenstein, this classic cocktail will never change.

3 drops Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube
1 ounce cognac
4 ounces chilled champagne 

Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a champagne flute. Add cognac, and top with champagne. (Recipe from Martha Stewart)

 

Adele’s Laughing Punch

Deceptively light and refreshing, the perfect drink for impersonating an actress. 

4 bottles chilled champagne 
2 cups Grand Marnier
2 cups gin
4 large limes 

The day before, combine the Grand Marnier and gin in a pitcher and chill overnight. Just before serving, slice the limes in half and squeeze the juice into the punchbowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir gently and then float the lime shells. Serve in glasses over ice. (Adapted from Chicagoist).

 

The Mad Hungarian

Spicy and sweet – several glasses will have you singing the csárdás with Rosalinde.

2 shots cinnamon whiskey
Root beer 

Pour two shots of cinnamon whiskey into a highball. Fill with root beer and serve on the rocks.

 

Dr. Falke’s Revenge

Malort is a famously bitter cocktail and a Chicago tradition. This drink disguises the taste with the sweetness of elderflower, but the kick comes at the end, just like Dr. Falke’s elaborate revenge.  

¾ oz. Jeppson's Malort
¾ oz. Beefeater Gin
 
¾ oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
grapefruit peel 

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and shake hard. Strain into cocktail glass. Twist grapefruit peel over glass to extract its essential oils. (Recipe by Brad Bolt, Bar Deville for the Chicago Reader)  

And if you’re looking for a little cocktail-themed practical joke that you can play on an unsuspecting party guest, substitute Malort for any brown-colored liquor in any cocktail and be prepared for a spit take! 

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