Park City mixologists join Utah Opera’s Libretti & Libations |

Park City mixologists join Utah Opera’s Libretti & Libations

Utah Opera again presents the annual Libretti & Libations, where art influences life or at least a drink. Talented mixologists from favored Salt Lake City and Park City restaurants curate unique cocktails inspired by the season’s opera productions. From Dec. 18 to Jan. 24, six locations will offer refined libations inspired by Utah Opera’s "The Merry Widow" as a way of infusing food and beverage with the experience of opera.

Patrons attending the sponsored restaurants enjoying the specially crafted spirits will have a chance to read the libretto from the current opera. Liberetto refers to the spoken word portion of the opera. A social media contest sponsored by Salt Lake Magazine will also be held to win a pair of tickets to see "The Merry Widow" at Capitol Theater on Jan. 22. People can enter by sharing a photo of their libation on Twitter or Instagram at one of the featured restaurants, utilizing #UtahOperaSips in their post. The winner will be chosen by Salt Lake Magazine on Jan. 20.

Salt Lake City restaurants Bodega, Finca, Pallet Bistro and BTG Wine Bar, return to contribute their signature concoctions inspired by the fiery and exquisite tale of "The Merry Widow." Bodega’s "Rue Royale" cocktail, "personifies the character of the unpredictable Hanna, with its spiced undertones and fuller body. Balancing the sweet honey and the earthy rosemary, it leaves a delicate yet pronounced aftertaste," says mixologist Ian Gordon.

Finca’s cocktail, "Slow Waltz," is a light and slightly sweet drink with a delightful bubbly feel, inspired by Hanna and the man she truly loves dancing around the idea they may love one another. "I felt that this cocktail’s title, ‘Sloe Waltz,’ is not only a play on using Sloe Gin, but on Hanna and Danilo’s slow steps towards finally proclaiming their love," says Natalie Hamilton. "In Act I of the opera, both Hanna and Danilo ask each other to dance and find reasons not to. Danilo begins to waltz by himself in front of her, and finally Hanna falls into his arms. I wanted this cocktail to be about this moment light, happy, and teasing. After all, falling in love is a merry affair!"

Pallet Bistro’s Bijan Ghiai brings some warmth in their interpretation of "The Merry Widow." Their hot French cocktail, "A Widow’s Welcome," with ingredients cognac, crème de cassis, Pernod, lemon and hot water, is inspired by the heartwarming moment when Danilo finally says "I love you" to Hanna in the third act. "Good Fortune" by BTG Wine Bar comprised of spirits such as Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon, Grand Marnier, and Black Walnut Bitters, is named after the title character’s inherited fortune.

Park City restaurants O.P. Rockwell and Handle provoke the nature of "The Merry Widow" in their signature drinks. "Lost Inheritance," by O.P. Rockwell , is comprised of liquors solely of French origin. "This is a stirred cocktail with a very balanced sweet and spiced flavor profile," says O.P. Rockwell ‘s mixologist Chris Panarelli.

In a concoction laced with Aviation Gin, Persimmon, spice and a single blood orange tear, Handle made "Steps on Song," conceptualized by the solidarity Hanna keeps herself in. "I couldn’t help but notice not only in story but in image how Hanna lifts herself above and out of those around her," says Handle’s bartender Matt Phol. "A single red blood orange "tear" drop suspended in the center of a clear cocktail, much in the same way Hanna suspended herself from those around her."

Upcoming Utah Opera productions that will feature Libretti & Libations craft cocktail partnerships in the month leading up to the performances are: Verdi’s "Aida" (March 12-20, 2016) and Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro" (May 7-15, 2016).

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