Libretti and Libations: Utah Opera's DON GIOVANNI


Utah Opera and Salt Lake magazine partner for the 3rd annual Libretti & Libations, where art influences life – for at least a drink (or two). Talented mixologists from choice Salt Lake City and Park City restaurants curate artisanal cocktails inspired by the season’s opera productions. Until May 21, 2017, nine participating restaurants will offer expertly-crafted libations inspired by Utah Opera’s production of “Don Giovanni” as a way of infusing food and beverage with the experience of opera. Visit for more information.

Utah Opera presents Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” a tale of love, seduction, and murder, through the stylized lens of a 1950s “film noir” cinematic approach. The story is a parable of the consequence of immorality. Though at first glance Don Giovanni is appealing with his advances and promises, he represents a long dead aristocratic way of life. As a serial philanderer and an unapologetic killer with unconstrained impulses, he leaves a long trail of women in his wake. Going where he wants, doing what he wants, and being what he pleases can only go on for so long.

A social media contest sponsored by Salt Lake magazine will also be held to win a pair of tickets to see “Don Giovanni” at Capitol Theater, running May 13, 15 17, and 19 at 7:30 PM and May 21 at 2 PM. Participants can enter by sharing cocktail photos from participating restaurants, utilizing #UtahOperaSips, on Instagram. The winner will be chosen by Salt Lake magazine on May 17. Patrons attending the participating restaurants enjoy the specially crafted spirits will have a chance to read the libretto from the current opera. Libretto refers to the spoken word portion of the opera.

Mixologist Andrew Abeyta brings “The Don” to Bambara saying “If you are going to attempt to woo a potential love in the wee hours of the night, one might want a minty fresh breath with a bit of energy on the side. “The Don” is a silky smooth cocktail, with hints of nuttiness and chocolate, the fernet creates a unique finish and a touch of complexity.”

Bodega crafted up “The Citron Statue,” playing on Don Giovanni’s seductive and libertine personality with its lemon peel, the boldness of his demeanor with a strong dry flavor of gin, and a handful of other flavors to round out its taste. “The strong dry flavor of the gin paired with the bold spices of the Applejack speak to his more abrasive side, that eventually leads him to his death,” said bartender Ryan Santos. “The smoke of the syrup and the heat from the chartreuse allude to the hellfire that Don Giovanni is dragged down into soon after his encounter with the Statue of the Commendatore.”

BTG Wine Bar / Caffé Molise’s “Red Rogue” features ingredients from Spain, Italy, and France – all of which had women who gave way to Don Giovanni’s pursuits. “Though full of sweet sensuality, which can be had by all, this cocktail regrets nothing unlike Don Giovanni after his reckless pursuit of pleasure,” said manager Jesse Garrett.

Finca mixologist Natalie Hamilton created the Reposado Tequila based “Why Have Just One” to show how “

Park City favorite, Handle, and sister restaurant, HSL (Handle Salt Lake), present two cocktails in tandem for “Don Giovanni.” Handle’s Sean Palmer created the “Donna Fleur,” based on Donna Anna, who falls victim to Don. “

Don Giovanni is ruthless, and goes beyond moral and virtue in his attempts of seduction. I used honey and rose to represent his lavish attempts and his seductive ways- even as far as trying to seduce a bride on her wedding day! But underneath the sweet is bitter aperol, as it is with the villain Giovanni. It doesn’t end well for Don Giovanni, but this cocktail definitely ends well with lime and tequila to balance both the bitter and the sweet. “With Don Giovanni being such a seducer and womanizer, I wanted to create a drink that spoke for the ladies. Soft, floral, and botanical. This is what I would hope Don would give them in the seduction process.”

HSL’s Clifton Reagle created “The Invitation,” “named in reference to Don Giovanni’s brash offering of dinner to the Commendatore’s statue. The Invitation is a nod to both the film noir inspiration for the USUO production, and to the smokey depths of hell to which Giovanni is dragged.”

Rich Romney of Takashi created “Spring Fever,” which “sherry inspired by the Spanish setting of the opera, and the rest of the ingredients are our Japanese spin. The Kiuchi No Shizuku is a product I just got in that is very exciting. It is liquor distilled from a very popular and highly regarded Japanese made Belgian style beer. The liquor is steeped with orange peel, hops, and coriander which is where the cilantro ties in.”

Closing the participants out is Park City’s Tupelo and its cocktail “The Sum of All Sin” by mixologists Tony Goodkid, Eric Dee, and Memo. Meant to seduce with its silky and seductive flavors, “it is a fitting end cocktail for someone who has a devilish side.”

For more information, visit

Similar Articles