A Star is Born

The Casablanca cocktail is ready for its close-up

The Orpheum Theatre bar’s cocktail list is appropriately star-studded, with several drinks named after films and actors of the past. And while it keeps company with the likes of the Hepburn and the Bardot, perhaps the most intriguing libation is the Casablanca.

The drink is a unique combination of red wine, crème de cassis and champagne that piques the interest of adventurous patrons, says Orpheum bar and restaurant manager Corey O’Connell. “Most people don’t know what to expect,” she adds.

But those who try the cocktail encounter a mix of flavors that mingle surprisingly well. The richness of the red wine—Orpheum bartenders prefer using Cabernet—emerges first, followed by a slight taste of berry from the crème de cassis. And the champagne lends a fizziness and lightness to the moody-looking, deep-purple drink.

But would you expect any less from a drink named the Casablanca? In the case of this cocktail, the blending of seemingly incongruous elements truly is “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

RECIPE: Casablanca

Combine 4 oz red wine and 1 oz crème de cassis. Pour into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Recipe courtesy of the Orpheum Theatre, 216 State St., 255-8755, orpheumtheatre.net.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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