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!
THE BABS BELLINI
- 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.
THE VINE COUNTRY
- 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?