July 01, 2020

Lyric Libations: SOLE E AMORE

Sun and love. We can’t think of a better pairing, unless you settle in to watch this virtual recital with a drink in your hand. Toast Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola and members of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble with one of these Italian (or Italian-inspired) concoctions. Saluti!

Aperol Spritz

This classic Italian aperitif reminds us of long sunny afternoons. Pair it with small bites like olives, grapes, or fresh mozzarella on crusty bread.


  • 3 ounces (1 part) Aperol
  • 3 ounces (1 part) dry Prosecco
  • 1 ounce (a splash) club soda or unflavored sparkling water
  • Orange slice, for garnish

Fill a wine glass with ice, then add Aperol, Prosecco, club soda, and a slice of orange. (Recipe from Cookie and Kate)

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This sunny-hued liqueur hails from the south of Italy. Make this ahead of time to mix with vodka or Prosecco, or enjoy by itself in an ice-cold shot glass! Watching the recital with friends? This recipe yields 7 cups.


  • 10 lemons
  • 1 bottle vodka
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar

Peel the lemons in long strips, trimming away the white pith from the lemon peels (save the fruit for another use!). Place the peels in a 2-quart pitcher and pour the vodka over the peels. Cover and let sit for about 4 days at room temperature.

Make simple syrup: Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely, pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. Pour the limoncello through a mesh strainer and discard the peels. Transfer to bottles and refrigerate. (Recipe from All Recipes)

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Italian Soda

Creamy, bubbly, and sweet; this drink is actually American in origin. We’ll let it slide, though, as the Italian soda is a delicious treat for audiences of all ages.


  • 3 tbsp flavored syrup—we like raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate, or lemon!
  • 1 cup ice
  • 12 oz club soda or sparkling water
  • 1 tbsp cream (either heavy or whipped)

Add flavored syrup to a tall, clear glass. Add ice, then fill with club soda or sparkling water. Stir, then top with a drizzle of heavy cream or a dollop of whipped cream. (Recipe from Oh So Delicioso)

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Need a sweet pick-me-up? Somewhere between a drink and a dessert, the affogato is our new favorite way to drink coffee.


  • Ice cream (coffee, chocolate, or vanilla)
  • Espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • Shaved dark chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, or other toppings

Place 2 small scoops of ice cream in a coffee cup, then pour in a shot of espresso or 3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee. Top with shaved dark chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, or your toppings of choice. (Recipe from Food Network)

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Header image: Kyle Flubacker