The Bartender of Seville: A taste of Bob Peter’s opera-inspired cocktails

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If you’ve ever been to the Ritz-Carlton’s 15th-floor Punch Room, then you can likely imagine why the cocktail bar is the perfect pairing for a night at the opera. It’s glamorous and elegant — and just a few blocks from the Belk Theater, where Opera Carolina performs each season.

Which is why starting tomorrow the Punch Room will begin offering its own twist on Opera Carolina’s performances. For each performance, bartender Bob Peters is creating a cocktail based on the artistic work. Up first? “The Barber of Seville.”

“I realized as I was reading the story of this show that I related to the barber,” says Peters. “He’s the instigator. And he’s in the service industry. I’d be ‘The Bartender of Seville.’”

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“The Barber of Seville,” which is a comic opera, tells the playful story of a clever matchmaking barber dealing with multiple men seeking the same woman.

“Figaro, who is the barber, has to steal a key to get into her room,” says Peters. “It’s like ‘Mission Impossible.’ And really the key is the key to the opera.”

So Peters named his cocktail “The Key.” It’s a mix of all-Italian ingredients for the Italian opera — Cynar, Italian Sweet Vermouth, and prosecco — and is garnished with a fig (or, as Peters calls it, a “a Figaro”).

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It’s a perfect fall drink with rich flavors of raisin and fig mixed with the light effervescence of prosecco. If you’re going for pre-opera snacks, it pairs well with the duck sliders, and if you’re headed there for post-opera dessert, try it with the dark chocolate cherry mousse.

And while the opera itself doesn’t open until Oct. 22, the $15 drink hits the menu Saturday, Oct. 1. Which means now’s the perfect time to get a taste of this performance before it takes the stage.

Photos: Sarah Crosland

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