Friday, October 4, 2019

Tara Laskowski, One Night Gone and The Allison and The Maureen

Award-winning author, Tara Laskowski, joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate the publication of her debut novel, One Night Gone. She has previously published two short story collections, one of which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. Her Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine story, "The Case of the Vanishing Professor" won the 2019 Agatha Award and her Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine story, "States of the Matter," was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project's Literary Awards Prize. Let's see what drinks she's picked for One Night Gone.

My debut novel, One Night Gone, is set in Opal Beach, a fictional town on the New Jersey shore. It has two points of view and two timelines—Maureen, a teenager, has come to Opal Beach during the height of summer in the 1980s. Allison, a recently divorced 40-year-old, is house-sitting in Opal Beach during the offseason in 2015. 

Both women are drawn to the beach town as a way to escape their past and start anew. But both find trouble there—Maureen vanishes by the end of the summer, and when Allison begins looking into the teenager’s disappearance nearly 30 years later, she discovers that the residents of Opal Beach like their secrets to stay buried.

Beyond that, Allison and Maureen are very different people with very different life experiences. For that reason, I knew they each needed drinks that represented not only their personalities, but also the time of year in which they visit Opal Beach.

The Allison, aka a Seafoam Sangria, has beachy hints to it, but it’s more sophisticated with its wine base. Sweet—but not overly so—and subdued, the drink is easy to sip but doesn’t scream “BEACH PARTY!!!” It’s a drink you’d enjoy in early autumn on an expansive wooden deck while gazing out at the horizon.

On the other hand, The Maureen, aka The Blue Mermaid, is a beach drink to be reckoned with. Pineapple chunks, cherries, paper umbrellas, pink flamingos—all these garnishes would be happy to crowd up in its business. It’s got rum and pineapple juice—a Kool-aid-esque refreshing cocktail that you can drink and drink before you realize you’ve had a little too much. I added a rim of crushed graham cracker “sand” to the drink to give it an even more fun look. (Maureen would enjoy that detail.)

So pick your poison—or make two and sip them alternately while you switch chapters! These drink recipes—along with one other, plus a reader’s guide and some other goodies—are also available on my Book Club Guide on my web site.

Happy beach reading—and drinking!

The Allison (Seafoam Sangria)


  • 3 parts white wine
  • 2 parts blue Hipnotiq liqueur
  • 1 part ginger ale

Mix ingredients together. Serve chilled or over ice.

The Maureen (The Blue Mermaid)

  • ¼ cup ground graham crackers (for rimming)
  • 1 oz Malibu Rum
  • 1 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine, like sand. Place in a shallow bowl. Wet the edge of a double old fashioned glass with water and dip into the graham crackers, rimming the glass. Add ice to the glass, then pour in the rum, blue curacao, vodka, and pineapple juice. Stir. Add a cherry for garnish.

Tara Laskowski’s debut novel One Night Gone was published this week by Graydon House Books. She is also the author of the short story collections Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette, and Bystanders, which won the Balcones Fiction Prize and was hailed by Jennifer Egan as one of the best books of 2017. She is an Agatha Award winner and a member of Sisters in Crime.


  1. Thank you for a great post, Tara! Loved One Night Gone.

  2. This is definitely going on the TBR pile!

  3. I love the idea of making them both and sipping each as the chapters switch. The story sounds really intriguing!