Friday, August 3, 2018

S’more Murders and a Titanic Cocktail

Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries: By Cook or by Crook, Scam Chowder, Final Fondue, The Tell-Tale Tarte, and S’more Murders and today she's here mixing up a fabulous cocktail. Her series, set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, features a café manager and dinner-party caterer solving murders with her live-wire grandfather, the Codger Cook. Each book has five suspects, five clues, and Granddad’s five-ingredient recipes. 

A yacht on the Chesapeake Bay is the murder scene in the fifth book of the series, the Titanic-related S’More Murders. As warm April weather brings boaters to the Chesapeake Bay, Val Deniston agrees to cater a dinner party aboard a yacht. Its owner, a collector of Titanic memorabilia, asks her to re-create the final meal served on that doomed ship—a ten-course meal for eight people. The collector’s trophy wife adds another dish to the feast, prevailing on him to serve s’mores as an icebreaker when the guests arrive. On the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, the yachtsman welcomes his guests aboard and assigns them roles in a murder mystery game. Val soon reaches the chilling conclusion that the host is fishing for the culprit in a real crime. When someone disappears from the boat, Val and Granddad have to reel in a killer before s’more murders go down. 

To write a book revolving around the final meal served on the Titanic, I researched what the passengers ate and drank on that ship. No bar menus have survived from the Titanic, but historians tell us that cocktails were popular in the first decade of the 20th century. Among the cocktails people of that era drank are the Manhattan, the Tom Collins, and the daiquiri. Wine and champagne flowed freely on the Titanic. The ship reportedly carried 1500 bottles of wine.
We know more about what the passengers on the Titanic ate than what they drank. A few passengers tucked souvenir menus in their jacket pockets, and those menus survived. Original menus exist for the last meals that the first and second class passengers ate on the ship. In the first-class dining room, waiters brought the food to the table on silver platters, offered guests a portion of every dish, and suggested a wine to pair with the food. The sixth course was a palette cleanser, Punch Romaine, similar to a frozen champagne cocktail or an alcoholic sorbet.  
The drink related to my book is an updated version of Punch Romaine. What better place to photograph a drink served on the Titanic than on a ship? I took the photo while cruising to Bermuda. When I asked Mike, the mixologist on the Holland America Veendam, to make a cocktail served on the Titanic, he looked startled. Apparently, no one else had ever made such a request. Then he began humming the theme song of the blockbuster Titanic movie and continued to hum as he concocted the cocktail. The recipe I gave him, which appears here, is adapted from one that appeared in Saveur a hundred years after the Titanic hit an iceberg.  

The Titanic Cocktail

1 oz. white wine
1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. white rum
2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Twist of orange peel, for garnish

Combine the white wine, syrup, juices, and rum in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake the mixture and pour it over a mound of crushed ice in a coupe cocktail glass. Add a splash of champagne and a twist of orange peel. 

To find out more about the Five-Ingredient Mysteries, including S’more Murders, visit Maya’s: 

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