Friday, September 20, 2019

Crypt Suzette and Spiked Spiced Cider

Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan joins us today on Drinks with Reads. Maya writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries: By Cook or by Crook, Scam Chowder, Final Fondue, The Tell-Tale Tarte, S’more Murders, and Crypt Suzette. The series, set in a historic town along the Chesapeake Bay, features a cafĂ© 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. Let's see what she has in store for us today...

When Val caters a party at Bayport’s new bookshop on Spooktacular Saturday, a costume contest is part of the festivities. Everyone dresses as characters from books. Among the contestants are the Fictionistas, a creative writing group started by Suzette, the secretive young woman who rents a spare bedroom in the house Val shares with her grandfather. As Val tells her best friend, “People choose costumes that mirror their personalities.” If that’s true, Suzette’s fellow Fictionistas reveal a violent streak. They dress as the ambitious Lady Macbeth, the obsessive Phantom of the Opera, a zombie from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the vengeful Morgan le Fay, evil sorceress from Camelot. 
After Suzette is found dead of an apparent accident, Val and Granddad suspect foul play. When the Fictionistas gather at the bookshop on Halloween eve, Val offers them a drink perfect for a chilly day—warm spiced apple cider. Though non-alcoholic, the cider she serves seems to be spiked with truth serum. The Fictionistas lose their inhibitions and accuse each other of murder. Did one of them kill Suzette or was her death rooted in the past she’d kept secret and tried to escape? Having dressed as Nancy Drew for the bookshop party, Val tries to answer that question and almost becomes the next “accident” victim.

The drink related to my book is an alcoholic version of the warm spiced cider Val makes. Spiked Spiced Cider works well for a Halloween party or any cool-weather party. It’s also a tongue-twister, so you can challenge your guests to say it five times fast. 
This drink is also known as mulled apple cider. Like mulled wine, it’s simmered in a crock pot or on the stove with spices and citrus for flavor. The spices should include cinnamon and cloves at a minimum, but you can also add a star anise or grated fresh ginger if you like that flavor. Put the smaller spices in a tea ball or wrapped and tied cheesecloth. If you don’t do that, you’ll need to strain the cider before serving it. Simmer the spices and cider, keeping them below the boiling point, and only add the alcohol after you remove the cider from the heat. 

½ gallon(1.9 L) unfiltered apple cider
2  cinnamon sticks 
10 whole cloves
1/2 oz. (15 ml) orange juice or lemon juice if you prefer a less sweet drink
1 oz. (30 ml) dark rum or brandy [Skip for a non-alcoholic cider]
Sliced oranges and cinnamon sticks for garnish
Put the apple cider, spices, and juice in a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat up to the point of boiling and then simmer for 1-3 hours. If you use a slow cooker or crock pot, turn it to low and cook for 3 hours. Turn off the heat and remove the spices from the pot, straining if necessary. Add the rum or brandy for an alcoholic version of the cider. Serve it warm, garnished with sliced oranges and a fresh cinnamon stick in each cup. 

To find out more about the Five-Ingredient Mysteries, including Crypt Suzette, visit Maya’s: 
Amazon Author Page:

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