Make it a double: Two signature cocktail recipes for Dying on the Vine

When I was writing the second book in the Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Series, I attended a wedding fair in downtown San Francisco, and one thing that stood out to me was the idea of having a signature cocktail at a wedding. I ended up using that in the book, but instead of being at a wedding, the signature cocktail ended up being served at a funeral.


Then, a week or so before the release of Dying on the Vine, Adam Wagner and the nice folks over at Criminal Element surprised me with my very own signature cocktail. I was thrilled! I’d always wanted my own signature cocktail. My husband and I decided to make it to celebrate my book launch, but then decided that life was short and we’d better go ahead and test it out immediately just in case.

I’ll give it to you straight up (a little booze humor for you there): it’s not for the casual drinker. It’s delicious, but it’s strong. The Babs Bellini, on the other hand—the signature cocktail that’s actually in the book—is light and breezy.

Which one do I like better? Depends on the occasion. The Babs Bellini is perfect for Sunday brunches and afternoon funerals. And the Vine Country is perfect for when you can’t decide whether you want wine or something stronger. (Hint: Why not have both?)

Now, I know a lot of our readers aren’t big drinkers, but you never know when you might want to impress your guests with a fancy libation. And if, like me, you “love Jesus but drink a little,” then I hope you’ll join me for a book-themed cocktail!


(5 servings)

  • 1 bottle prosecco or sparkling wine
  • 1 cup frozen peach slices, thawed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 cup Aperol
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Blend the peach slices, water, sugar and Aperol in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons puree to each glass, then top with the sparkling wine (slowly so it doesn’t fizz up). Garnish with a lemon.


(1 serving)

  • 1 1/2 oz merlot
  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 4 cherries
  • lemon slice (garnish)

Muddle cherries in a cocktail shaker. Add wine, bourbon, simple syrup, and ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with the lemon slice.

Readers, what main ingredient would be in your signature cocktail?

17 thoughts on “Make it a double: Two signature cocktail recipes for Dying on the Vine

  1. Tomatoes and tabasco and lime — I love spicy bloody marys (actually virgin marys) garnished with carrots, olives and celery — kind of like a drinkable salad. I just tried prosecco not too long ago and loved it, so I’ll definitely have to try a Bab’s Bellini ~

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Water is an ingredient! How about sparkling water with a splash of cherry bitters (or whatever flavor you prefer)? We’ll call it the Mark Baker!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Those both sound like fun things to try! Thanks for the recipes.

    Signature cocktail so far is red wine with lots of ice cubes. (Lila calls it a “slushee” in book 2.) But I’m open to suggestions. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I call a frappacino an adult milkshake… you could call it the adult slush? Or, depending on how much she has, the adult slosh? Just picturing what someone who is drunk might call a slushee.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My characters favor daiquiris and margaritas, but my go-to is Jack Daniels. I add an ice cube. However, since we have Merlot and Bourbon on hand, I’m thinking we may try the Vine Country as our after-dinner cocktail tonight. Cheers, Marla!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ohh…Think I need to up my cocktail game. I like lemon, coconut, and lime. And, um, chocolate. Any suggestions? We could try all of these at the next Chicks after-party.(Maybe not all at once.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. These sound great! I actually have a friend in L.A. who’s a mixologist and he created a cocktail for my series called The Cajun Country Mystery. I have yet to make one, though. I think I need to hire him to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

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