One of our favorite and most prolific Drinks with Reads authors, Cathy Ace, is back today pairing her new book, The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer with the perfect drink. This novel is the second of the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries and will be released on February 1st 2016. You can see all of Cathy Ace's other Drinks with Reads posts here.
In THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER, the four women of the WISE Enquiries Agency try to work out why Aubrey Morris, a key player in the Morris Dancing troupe that’s supposed to lead the soon-to-be-married Duke of Chellingworth and his new Duchess from the church to their country seat, has disappeared. The clock is ticking, as, without the Morris dancers, local tradition states the fertility of the marriage will not fare well – and Henry, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, needs an heir.
Carol Hill – a happily pregnant Welsh computer whizz, Christine Wilson-Smythe – the young and beautiful daughter of an Irish viscount, Mavis MacDonald – a retired Scottish army nurse who doesn’t suffer fools at all, and Annie Parker – a true Cockney born of St. Lucian parents with a mouth as wide the Thames, plus their honorary additional member Althea Twyst – the dowager duchess whose presumed dottiness brought them to the Welsh countryside where they have made their home, work together as an effective team of softly-boiled PIs intent upon saving the day.
When asked what the Welsh drink, the usual answer is “anything”. As a Welsh woman, I can attest to this being the truth! Unlike the Irish, the Scots, or the English, it’s true that the Welsh don’t produce, and aren’t known for favoring, one particular type of alcoholic beverage other than a range of beers, from pale to stout, with dark mild being almost unique to Wales.
For those with a desire to taste a drink that might well be served at the wedding of a Welsh Duke being held on Saint David’s Day (March 1st) I therefore offer the Dewi Sant (that’s Saint David, in Welsh) which is one of three cocktails created by Armand Wysocki, Bar Manager at Donovan Bar, Browns Hotel in London as part of the St David's Day celebratory menu there, using Penderyn Sherrywood single malt whisky from Wales’s only distillery. If you can’t get Penderyn whisky then you have no choice but to “go international” and either use a Scottish or English single malt whisky, or an Irish single malt whiskey…note that the Irish have an extra “e”. Whichever of the four Home Nations you select as your source, try to choose a single malt that’s been kissed by a sherry cask.
A drink fit for a duke, a duchess, a dowager and the WISE Women. Iechyd da! (Cheers, in Welsh, pronounced yeah-key dah.)
50ml Penderyn Sherrywood single malt whisky
25ml Sweet Vermouth
Dash of sugars/simple syrup
The Method: Put all ingredients into a martini mixing-glass with ice and stir well. Strain into a glass. Add garnish of an orange slice or lemon slice (I prefer orange).
(To make your own sugars/simple syrup: use two parts water to one part sugar. Bring the water to a boil. Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. Note: Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or the syrup will be too thick once it cools. Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.)
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy Ace is the author of the Bony Blithe Award-winning Cait Morgan Mysteries. Her new series is The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries – featuring four female professional investigators, one of whom is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English (hence the acronym). They tackle quirky British cases from their base at a Welsh stately home – the ancient seat of the Twyst family, the Dukes of Chellingworth, set in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley in Powys, Wales, near the picturesque village of Anwen-by-Wye. Cathy lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband, and two chocolate Labradors, make sure she’s able to work full-time as an author and enjoy her other passion – gardening.