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Five Soul-Stirring Cocktails Inspired By Powerful Operas

Opera cocktails

An opera performance is filled with powerful notes and complex compositions which significantly affect the audience. It is not dissimilar to preparing a cocktail, where ingredients have to be carefully balanced to achieve the perfect structure or composition. The flavours need to be impactful to make the drinker look up wide-eyed and wonder about the drink's makings. Let's celebrate the power of opera by creating cocktails inspired by beautiful musical pieces

1. Sull’aria (The Letter Duet)

Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart

This piece of opera music was mentioned in the Hollywood film The Shawshank Redemption. Legendary actor Morgan Freeman’s character says about the piece: '...o this day I don’t know what those two Italian ladies were singing about…I like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it…And for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free.' The music is bright and light, like a summer breeze and it deserves a cocktail with the same qualities


3 Cucumber slices, plus more for garnish
6 Mint leaves, plus more for garnish
60 ml Gordon
5 ml Lime juice
5 ml Elderflower liqueur
15 ml Simple syrup


Take a shaker and gently muddle cucumber and mint in it. Add other ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a lowball over ice. Garnish mint and cucumber.

2. Largo al Factotem

The Barber of Seville, by Rossini      

This insanely famous piece of music shows the grand entrance of Figaro, who through the opera, sings praises of his multiple talents. Figaro seems like a character who would take up the most difficult challenge. If he ever walked into a bar today, he would probably order the most complicated cocktail. Like a Ramos Gin Fizz, but with a little Seville orange in the form of marmalade.


30 ml Egg white
60 ml Gordon Gin
3 drops Orange blossom water
½ tablespoon Marmalade
1 tablespoon Simple syrup
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Heavy cream
30 ml soda water


Take a shaker and whisk the egg white a little with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients except soda water. Shake without ice for 25 seconds. Now add a handful of ice cubes and shake well for 30 seconds. Strain into a 250 ml serving glass. Top it with soda water and serve.

3. Vissi D’Arte

Tosca, by Puccini

This opera shows the dilemma and terrible fate of Tosca, who must give herself to the evil Baron to save her love from getting executed. She laments her situation in this piece which is rich, bitter-sweet and nuanced. The opera inspires a cocktail which is a variant of Bijou. In this cocktail, the stiff complex drink uses Benedictine instead of Chartreuse and adds cacao nib infusion for extra bittersweet throatiness.

45 ml Gordon Gin
30 ml Cocoa nib infused sweet vermouth*
15 ml Benedictine
1 dash Orange bitters


For cacao-infused vermouth

Mix 500 ml sweet vermouth and 60 gms cacao nibs in a covered container.  Let the infusion rest overnight. Strain in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

For the cocktail

Take a shaker and add all ingredients with and shake it until the content is very chilled i.e. 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Opera cocktails

4. Hab Mir’s Gelobt

Der Rosenkavelier by Strauss

A powerful story of a love triangle which culminates with all three characters' voices coming together as they become of one mind and the relationships are resolved. The characters consist of two women and a man, but all of them are performed by three women. The strong vocals of three women, their voices intertwining, inspired a cocktail with three main ingredients — champagne, apricot liqueur and gin.


30 ml Gordon Gin
30 ml Apricot liqueur
3 drops Rosewater
90 ml Brut (dry) champagne


Take a shaker and add gin, liqueur, and rosewater with ice until the mixture is chilled.  Strain into a flute glass or cocktail glass and top with champagne.

5. Sous le Dôme Épais (The Flower Duet)

Lakmé by Léo Delibes

A tragic love story between a young Indian maiden and a British officer is portrayed hauntingly and beautifully in this piece. The opera's sweet notes and heady presence inspire a cocktail with two spirits, just as the two sopranos who sing the duet. The two strong ingredients are cognac and aquavit with raspberry liqueur to impart sweetness.


30 ml Aquavit
30 ml Cognac
15 ml Sweet vermouth
15 ml Dry vermouth
5 ml Raspberry liqueur


Take a shaker and add all ingredients with ice until the contents get chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass.

raspberry cocktail


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