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Mischief of Magpies

Anthony Horowitz has written a stunner of a novel with his Magpie Murders. Two stories, separated by half a century, unfurl as the pages quickly turn, each mystery tied to the other, as fiction and fact are wonderfully blurred. The novel literally starts with a bottle of wine, so I did, too - and then put an English summer in your glass.


Mischief of Magpies

2 oz. Red Wine
1 oz. Gin
.5 oz. Sherry
.5 oz. Black Currant Juice
Currants for Garnish

Shake all, except the champagne, with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Top with champagne and garnish with the currants.


Edan Lepucki is back with a Southern California splash called Woman No. 17.  The story begins poolside, but what starts out mischievous and a little bit sexy soon turns dark.  A lot of vodka is consumed in these pages, and a lot of champagne, which begged to be turned into a frozen summer sipper. 


Drink No. 17

3 Cups Frozen Strawberries, Raspberries & Cherries
2/3 cup Pink Champagne
1/3 cup Vodka
1 T Honey
Fresh Berries for Garnish

Blend until smooth.  
Garnish with berries.


  Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane begins with an unbelievably painful collision of tradition with what one girl’s heart tells her to be right.  That moment haunts this beautiful novel that traverses the globe, with the modern world intruding on cultures steeped in tradition.  That’s where we’ll begin mixing this month - with tea steeping in a mug.


2 oz. Rice Wine
3 oz. Hot Tea
1 oz. Mint Infused Simple Syrup
Mint Leaves for Garnish

Combine all - except the garnish - in a warmed mug.  Stir.  
Garnish with mint.

Smokey N°5

cocktail photo

There's a lot of drinking and smoking going on in Victor Lodato's Edgar & Lucy. And plenty of thought about the memory of Chanel N°5.  So I wanted to put the perfume in a glass and swirl it with smoke.  The most unusual step for this drink is bottling that smoke - please go to booksinc.net for detailed instructions.

  Edgar and Lucy cover image


Smokey N°5

1.5 oz. Vanilla vodka
.5 oz. Galliano
.5 oz. Crème de banana...
.5 oz. Rose water
.5 oz. Jasmine flower water
2 dashes lemon bitters

Stir all with ice. Strain into smoke filled vessel. Stopper it. Tilt once, twice. Release into chilled glass.

San Francisco ’65

  It would be easy to say that Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays is about time travel.  But since it’s about so much more – choice and consequence, love and loss – I’ll instead say that 1965 is important, lemon trees are important, and champagne, yes, is important.  So pour yourself a glass – but be prepared to have it grow warm, because you won’t want to put this book down once you start.  


San Francisco ’65

Sugar cube
Lemon bitters
Lemon twist for garnish

In a champagne flute, douse the sugar cube with lemon bitters.  Add champagne.  Top with limoncello and garnish with the twist.

Lucky Boy Punch

In Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy, two women love the same little boy.  While his birth mother – illegally in the US – is being detained, his foster mother discovers her own love for the child is boundless.  You’ll want to drown your sorrows after reading their heartbreaking story, and this punch will help you do just that. 


Lucky Boy Punch
1 bottle red wine
½ cup mezcal
½ cup orange juice
1 cup raspberries
½ cup pomegranate seeds
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 mango, sliced

Combine all ingredients, except the Prosecco, in a large pitcher or bowl and refrigerate overnight.  When serving, top with the Prosecco. 


Michael Chabon’s Moonglow may be my favorite of his novels – which should say quite a lot since the author is a Pulitzer prize winner. Moonglow is breathtaking in its scope, from prewar America through Europe and back again. There isn’t a novelist today who’s such a gifted teller of stories.  Hearing about the homemade hooch that soldiers distilled themselves during the war inspired this month’s Moonglow cocktail.  

2 oz. White Dog Mash whiskey 
1 oz. white vermouth (Chambéry blanc)
Cocktail onion for garnish
Combine whiskey and vermouth. 
Stir well with ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with the onion.


November CocktailIn T.C. Boyle’s The Terranauts, you’ll follow 8 scientists literally experimenting under glass as they live in an artificial environment similar to what we may someday construct on Mars.  Pre-closure, one of the Terranauts hits the vodka and smokes pretty hard, so this Naut-tini is for him.cover

2 oz Stolichnaya Vodka
.5 oz Mezcal
7 raspberries

Muddle six of the raspberries with the vodka and mezcal. Double strain into an ice-filled shaker. Stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the remaining raspberry.

The Mr. Magoo

Maria Semple is back, and while it’s hard to be funny and heartfelt – without being cloying! – Semple is able to do just that in this wonderful story about Eleanor Flood.  Eleanor pledges on page 1 that, indeed, Today Will Be Different.  Having made similar promises – often – I only wish I could accomplish those vows without “the destruction in my wake.  

 The Mr. Magoo
1 oz. Hudson Whiskey
2 oz. Limoncello
.25 oz. Simple Syrup
1 dash Lemon bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Club Soda
Lemon and Orange Wheels
Combine the whiskey, limoncello, and simple syrup.  Stir.  Strain into a glass garnished with the lemon and orange wheels.  Top with club soda.  Dash with the bitters.


Amor Towles delivers one of the most perfect novels of the year with A Gentleman in Moscow.  The gentleman in question -- Count Alexander Rostov -- finds himself sentenced after the Revolution to a life of house arrest in his beloved hotel, the Metropol.  Forced to give up his lavish rooms for a garret, he fondly remembers a grander time when there used to always be flowers in the Metropol.


Flowers in the Metropol 
1.5 oz Metaxa
.5 oz rose water
.25 oz simple syrup
.25 oz lemon juice
1 drop Aftelier Perfumes Rose Chef’s Essence
Rose-petal ice sphere

Combine all in an ice-filled shaker.  Shake well.  Strain over ice.