Lyric Libations: TOSCA March 27, 2020

Love. Jealousy. Revolution. Death. It all can be found in Puccini's Tosca. Three characters—the rebel, the diva, and the villain—are caught a game of cat-and-mouse with deadly consequences. Non-stop drama could require a cocktail (or three) to unwind. Pick your favorite!

Vissi d'arte

Floria Tosca lives only for art and for love—her passionate nature leads her to make some impulsive, and ultimately deadly, decisions. This cocktail pays tribute to her over-the-top personality with sweet agave and spicy jalapeno; blood oranges give it an appropriately crimson color (no stabbing required!).


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 fl ounces) fresh squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 tbs Agave
  • 4 fl ounces whiskey
  • 1 medium sized jalapeño, chopped, stem removed (about 2 tbs)


In a cocktail shaker, add the blood orange juice, agave and whiskey, stir until combined. Add the jalapenos, replace the shaker cap and shake three times, immediately pour through a strainer into two highball glasses filled with ice, straining out the jalapeños. Discard the jalapeño. (Recipe from Honest Cooking)

The Rebel Artist

Mario Cavaradossi is hot-blooded and brash; his love for Tosca is only equaled by his fervent political beliefs. Quench your thirst for justice with this fiery cocktail that combines sweet strawberries with spicy Sriracha.

Ingredients

  • Half of 1 ripe strawberry
  • 1 stalk cilantro, chopped in 3 pieces
  • 2 thin slices cucumber
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/8 ounce amaro (I used Averna)
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 drops Sriracha, or more to taste
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 3 thin slices cucumber

Muddle strawberry, cilantro, and two cucumber slices. Add lime juice, agave nectar, amaro, tequila, and Sriracha. Fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with remaining cucumber slices. (Recipe from Serious Eats)

Scarpia's Sazerac

This classic cocktail is as bitter as Scarpia's soul. The strong poison seeps into your veins and can make you susceptible to all kinds of dark insinuations. Those who are easily swayed by their emotions have been warned!

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 1/2 ounces rye whisky
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • absinthe
  • lemon peel

In an Old-Fashioned glass (not a mixing glass; it's part of the ritual), muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water. Add several small ice cubes and the rye whiskey, the Peychaud's bitters, and the Angostura bitters. Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel. (Recipe from Esquire)

Tosca's Kiss

This drink is deceptively sweet and naive, but ultimately just as potent as the diva for which it is named. It's the perfect cocktail to sip if you want to forget all of your troubles. Or, for a more sinister use, it truly could be the kiss of death for the sadistic man who is plotting to kill your one true love and take his place in your heart...and your bed.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 oz Red Vodka
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 tbsp Apricot Brandy

Shake all ingredients well with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (Recipe from Spiritdrinks.com)

Last seen during Lyric's 2014/15 Season, Puccini's Tosca returns to the stage in November 2020 in a sweeping new-to-Chicago production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Renowned soprano Sondra Radvanovksy sings the title role opposite Joseph Calleja as Cavaradossi, Fabian Veloz as Scarpia, and Maestro Giampaolo Bisanti, both of whom will be making their Lyric debuts.