Local restaurants present libations inspired by Edmonton Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Lucia's Libations. Image courtesy of Edmonton Opera.

Lucia’s Libations. Image courtesy of Edmonton Opera.

On April 18, 21 and 23, the Edmonton Opera has brought back a show that hasn’t been seen in this city for nearly 20 years. Lucia di Lammermoor, a Donizetti story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, is an Italian opera set on the gothic moors of Scotland. As the tale goes, Lucia is forced into a loveless marriage by her brother, and as desperation consumes our protagonist, she commits a chilling murder on her wedding night.

The Edmonton Opera, working with Yelp Edmonton, challenged local restaurants to flex their creativity, asking them to come up with a libation inspired by this dark thriller. As Tim Yakimec, Edmonton Opera’s general manager and artistic director, said, “Opera pairs well with many things, food and drink included.” A first-time project for this organization, presenting opera as a cocktail is smart – they can reach a new audience while also building relationships within the culinary community.

Three restaurants stepped up to give their take on this show. &27, BLVD and Mercer Tavern’s bartenders all chose to acknowledge the Scottish landscape through the use of various scotches, adding additional ingredients to marry the other themes of the show.

From now until April 23, you’re invited to patronize these restaurants and encouraged to try each of their specially designed Lucia di Lammermoor influenced cocktails in order to ready yourself for this opera. Or, if you’d like, perhaps you can attempt to whip one up at home using these recipes.

 

Lucia's Loch from &27

Lucia’s Loch from &27. Image courtesy of Edmonton Opera.

&27
10612 82 Avenue
Created by Janice Bochon

Lucia’s Loch

1 oz Kahlua
1 oz Bowmore 12 year
1 oz Lavender simple syrup
2 oz milk

“A drink reminiscent, both visually and flavour-wise, of Scotland’s misty lochs and moors,” Bochon said. “Complemented with the lavender subtle flavour notes as well as its more seductive symbolism of devotion, ardent attachment and distrust.”

 

BLVD-COCKTAIL

Lucia’s Royal Blue Hour on the Moors from BLVD. Image courtesy of Edmonton Opera.

BLVD 
10765 Jasper Avenue
Created by Brendan Brewster

Lucia’s Royal Blue Hour on the Moors

1.5 oz Blue Hour Reposado Tequila
0.5 oz Blue Alize
0.25 oz Campari
0.25 oz Drambuie
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice

Short stir for dilution, double strain into a clean flute, top with Prosecco. Garnish with an edible hibiscus flower, which will act like nucleus points for the carbonation in the Prosecco.

“Made with a highlands Reposado, it has a fine balance between the agave notes, the wood, scotch-smoke and the bittersweet strawberry of the Campari. Kind of like a Rosita meets a Seelbach, burnt,” Brewster explained.

 

mercer-cocktail2

The Fat Lady cocktail from Mercer Tavern. Image courtesy of Edmonton Opera.

Mercer Tavern
10363 104 Street
Created by Taylor Zottl

The Fat Lady cocktail

0.5 oz Dubonnet
0.5 oz Campari
0.5 oz Averna
0.5 oz Glenlivet 12year
1 dash of lemon bitters

Build in glass with all ingredients, Stir for 20 seconds with ice cubes. Garnish with an orange peel and the lemon bitters on top.

 

I know that I can’t wait to sample these drink creations over the next two and a half weeks, and will, of course, be posting about them through social media, if I do. So, please be sure to share your experiences via Twitter (@edmontonopera) and Instagram (@edmopera), using the hashtags #eoLucia and #eoMixology; Edmonton Opera can also be found on Facebook.

Here’s hoping to a successful first endeavour for the Edmonton Opera, as I’m certain opera and cocktail fans alike would love to see round two.

For more information about Lucia di Lammermoor, or to purchase tickets, click here.

Edmonton Opera presents Lucia de Lammermoor

Edmonton Opera presents Lucia de Lammermoor

*Please don’t drink and drive. Arrange for a cab or a designated driver.*
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Edmonton Restaurant Review: Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus

My dad's Brisket & Buffalo Chili with cornbread at Sloppy Hoggs.

My dad’s Brisket & Buffalo Chili with cornbread at Sloppy Hoggs.

I have actually mentioned Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus in a previous review about their now closed sister restaurant Absolutely Edibles (AE’s). I’m still not entirely sure why AE’s shuttered its doors after 19 years both serving and catering food – perhaps it was an expired lease – but I’ll miss it. Judging by the updated website, they still do catering. Out of which location, I can’t be certain, yet the good news is that Sloppy Hoggs is still open for business. They even carried over the AE’s brunch menu, albeit with a minor change or two.

Sloppy Hoggs itself is geared more towards Southern style cuisine, so the look of the restaurant consists of many large booths – perfect for the communal-like atmosphere reminiscent of a friendly barbecue – that can fit between six to eight people. The tables at the center of the space can be reconfigured to accommodate larger parties as well. I quite like it. It’s nice and sunny inside due to the large windows, it’s clean, and the booths are comfortable.

When it comes to the menu, the food is very much of the hearty variety. Items such as jambalaya, beans & rice, chicken & waffles, BBQ chicken, pulled pork and wild sausage pepper the list. However, it should comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following my previous posts that I love mac and cheese. No question, it’s one of my favourite dishes. It’s delicious and the concept is simple, but if not executed properly, it can really be a disappointment. Therefore, when I saw the choice of mac & brisket, I had to find out for myself if it was up to snuff. My dad joined me on this first outing to the restaurant last year, opting for the brisket & buffalo chili.

My first observation when the food arrived was that the portions were quite large. The bowl of chili that my dad ate could probably have fed two people. I sampled a bite of the slow-simmered mix of beef brisket, buffalo, beans and veggies and was glad to see that the consistency of the dish didn’t come out as a pile of glop. There were various textures evident in the chili, which I liked. The beef brisket was nice and succulent. Cheddar cheese and sour cream helped to cool the flavour down a bit, too. The only problem with this order was that the chili wasn’t served at a hot enough temperature. We asked that the server return it to the kitchen to be reheated. When it came back to the table, it was so hot that steam was rising from the bowl. The chili also came with a side of my dad’s choice. He decided on the corn bread. It was more crumbly than I would prefer, but it tasted great.

My Mac & Brisket at Sloppy Hoggs. So good!

My Mac & Brisket at Sloppy Hoggs. So good!

The mac and cheese half of my mac & brisket dish started off a little underwhelming. On the menu, it’s described as a creamy pasta infused with bacon and jalapeno, and while it was a smooth cheesy sauce (baked over with extra cheddar!), the added flavour profiles didn’t really come through at first. It turns out that I just needed to stir it up, so that everything was more properly distributed (so much for working my way across the plate in an orderly fashion). Once the spiciness and smokiness from the jalapeno and bacon started hit my taste buds, I changed my mind about this selection. The ten ounces of slow-smoked brisket was the perfect compliment to the skillet of mac and cheese; the tender beef was generously coated with barbeque sauce that played well with the rest of the ingredients.

The service we received was excellent and the amount of food for the price was justified. As a result, based on that one occasion, I was inclined to go back again. As it happens, I was pushed to do so sooner than I planned and rather unexpectedly. I still had a Groupon in my possession for the aforementioned Absolutely Edibles when they closed. Thankfully, they chose to transfer any unused vouchers over to Sloppy Hoggs instead, hence my second trip to the restaurant earlier this year.

This is when I found out that they were offering the old brunch menu from AE’s on the weekends. Maybe they always served those brunch items in the past, but I’m not able to verify that. All I know is that I can still get the waffles with the works or the pulled pork waffle (see my previous AE’s review), and that makes me happy. The one major difference I made note of between their latest iteration of these brunch dishes and the ones that were previously available at AE’s is that they no longer seem to come with those fantastic sweet potato fries. Those have now been substituted with regular hash browns. Granted, I’m okay with that. The small cubes of pan fried potato were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and made even more delicious when smothered with tangy ketchup.

I was too full to eat any more, but I couldn’t stop until the plate was taken away from me. You’ll probably have a hard time stopping, too.