Friday, June 30, 2017

Mai Chai and A Crime of Passion Fruit

Ellie Alexander has brought us the Mai Chai and A Crime of Passion Fruit for this weeks installment of Drinks with Reads. Her novel is the latest in her popular Bakeshop Mysteries series. 

In this installment of the Bakeshop Mysteries, A Crime of Passion Fruit, Jules (pastry chef turned amateur sleuth) is returning to the Amour of the Seas, the boutique cruise ship where she spent a decade working in the pastry kitchen and expanding her palate at each port of call. She left the ship and her husband Carlos to return to her hometown of Ashland, Oregon where she’s been healing her broken heart and running the family bakeshop Torte. Being back in an industrial kitchen has its perks, like the state-of-the-art equipment and a staff of dozens. However, Jules is almost immediately homesick for Torte’s bright red and teal walls and eclectic customers. To make matters worse she’s plunged into dangerous waters when she finds the body of a mysterious young woman face down in the azure swimming pool.  

Chai tea is huge here in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that we slog through months and months of dismal, gray, unrelenting rain. Coffee shops and tea houses throughout the region offer spicy warm chai drinks to help chase away the winter blues. There’s nothing better than curling up with a mug of chai tea in front of roaring fire and watching the wind and rain lash outside. When I was working on A Crime of Passion Fruit, which is set in the azure waters of the Caribbean under sun-drenched skies, the sky here in Portland was unleashing a river of rain. I was sipping a hot chai tea latte with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and trying to image—better yet—remember what it felt like to have the sun warm your skin. One of the best things about writing is stretching your creativity, but admittedly I was water-logged and starting to wonder if that big, beautiful orange ball that sometimes graces Portland’s skies would ever reappear. I was also on deadline which meant that in addition to putting the finishing touches on the book I needed to whip up a batch of tropical recipes that would have readers imagining themselves on a white sandy beach sipping a fruity cocktail. That’s when inspiration struck. I was buried under piles of blankets, drinking a chai and dreaming about a Mai Tai. Why not mash them up into a Mai Chai? Hence the drink was born. 

In the book, Jules and her lead barista serve up their cold, fruity concoction for breakfast sans alcohol, but I suggest that if you’re in the mood for a touch of Northwest flavor with hints of the tropics that you splash it up with a shot of Caribbean rum. Cheers! (look - the drink is right there on the cover.) 

Chai Tea mix (Andy uses Oregon Chai, but any black tea blend will work)
Coconut milk
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ of a fresh lime
A splash of almond extract 
1 teaspoon of grenadine syrup

Mix the juices and grenadine syrup in the bottom of a clear glass. Add milk and chai. Stir. Add ice and finish with a slice of pineapple, an orange rind swirl, a maraschino cherry, and a tropical drink umbrella. 

*If you’re feeling extra fruity, add a splash (or shot) of Caribbean rum! 

Ellie is here courtesy of great escapes virtual book tours. 

Here are the other stops on the tour:

June 27 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 28 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
June 28 – Books, Dreams, Life  – SPOTLIGHT
June 28 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
June 29 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 29 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
June 30 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
June 30 – Mystery Playground – Drinks and Reads
July 1 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
July 1 – A Cozy Girl Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 3 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 3 – Celebrating Authors – INTERVIEW
July 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW
July 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 7 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST  
July 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
July 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 11 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
July 11 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

You can find Ellie on Twitter @BackshopMystery and Mystery Playground @MysteryPlaygrnd

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