Happy hour at the INN BY THE LAKE

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I love to read books with great descriptions of food and drink. Maybe they make me hungry, but they draw me into the story as I smell the savory aromas of a great dinner or imagine the leather and tobacco taste of an aged cabernet.

As I wrote my newly-released INN BY THE LAKE, I must’ve been thirsty a lot. One of my favorite characters (I admit I love them all), Chef Henri loves to serve cocktails on the porch while his guests and family watch the sun set. As Luke tells the old inn’s newest guest Amanda, “Henri loves his cocktails almost as much as his cooking.”

So there are a number of different cocktails mentioned. I only chose concoctions I love.

These include —

Gimlets. [Amanda] tipped her glass toward [Luke]. “Your father makes a delicious cocktail. I’ve never tasted one of these before.”

This mix of lime juice and gin is a perfect summer sipper.

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Almond Joy coffee. “A hotel specialty, cherie,” Chef Henri tells Amanda. “It has Amaretto, chocolate vodka, and coconut rum.” He winked at her. “I leave some room for the coffee.”

My husband has taught bartenders how to make this one, mixing all those ingredients to taste.

Black Russian, sort of. “A Black Russian.” [Luke] shrugged. “Sort of. I had to substitute. It’s Kahlua and cherry vodka. I couldn’t find Henri’s plain vodka. I think it’s all right. Try it.”

This one got a comment during the book editing process: Is this really a thing? It sounds yummy. Might have to try it. ☺

I’ll admit that like Luke, we concocted this when we only had cherry vodka. No one complained or turned it down when offered.

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Manhattan. Henri serves Amanda a strong cocktail as he waits for Luke to come home. “It’s my favorite. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the cherries. This drink needs a good maraschino cherry to dress them up.”

Very true. I was snacking on the cherries from my mother’s Manhattans long before it was legal for me to drink one. Now I save the cherry until my glass is drained. It’s the perfect–and strong–mix of rye or bourbon, a dash of vermouth and bitters and don’t forget the cherry.

Spiked iced tea. When Luke’s friend Frank stops by the inn, Henri mixes up a little spirits with the iced tea.
Luke tasted the drink in his hand. “I saw Henri experimenting with this the other night. It’s weird but I like it.”
“Yeah? It’s iced tea.” Frank took a taste and then another. “Oh, no it’s not. There’s bourbon in my iced tea.”
“He makes it with gin too. It’s not bad, is it?”

I have no idea where I learned this drink but it’s delicious, refreshing and invigorating.

Maybe there’s something here that you’d like to sip while you read my new sweet modern love story. Cheers!

Inn By the Lake, my sweet modern love story set at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland, is available from Champagne Book Group.

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