Friday, August 10, 2018

Death on the Menu and a Hemingway Cocktail

Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is our guest today on Drinks with Reads with an inspired cocktail you won't want to miss. She has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Take it away, Roberta!

Food critic Hayley Snow is thrilled to be working at a three-day international conference at the Harry S. Truman Little White House. Things get off to a bad start when Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal (which belongs to Cuba and is on display for this weekend only) disappears. And they only get worse when a body is discovered in the storeroom. Hayley must spring into action before the killer adds another victim to his menu. 

When I was picturing this first-ever conference between Havana and Key West, I could imagine lots of conflict, as the history between the two countries is fraught with landmines. So then I tried to imagine what the two countries share and I came up with Ernest Hemingway. His wonderful home in Key West, where he lived with his second wife Pauline, is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, known for its polydactyl cats. He also lived outside of Havana for a long stretch of town time with his third wife. He loved both places (maybe Cuba a little more) and spent much time writing, fishing, and drinking. So what could go better with Death on the Menu than a Hemingway special cocktail?
Hemingway was a serious drinker who enjoyed his cocktails powerful and did not like sugar. So I made a few tweaks to the recipe for the rest of us.

Hemingway Special Cocktail (serves three)

1/2 cup good rum such as Pussers
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup grapefruit juice (I used pink)
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
1-2 tsp sugar, to taste
Club soda
Maraschino and fresh cherries for garnish
Stir together the first five ingredients. Pour over ice and add club soda to taste. Garnish with cherries. Cheers!

"Fascinating details about the Truman Little White House, Cuban American history and relations, Cuban food, and Hemingway’s years in Key West are woven through this atmospheric cozy."—Booklist 

You can find Lucy on FacebookInstagram, Pinterest and 
Twitter:   @lucyburdette


  1. Thank you for a great post, Roberta.

  2. Interesting recipe I must say. Very interesting about Hemingway’s life. It’s neat to read about.