Showing posts with label cold drinks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cold drinks. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Brew to a Kill named a Must-Read Mystery + Comment to Win an NYPD T-Shirt from Cleo Coyle

This is a comment-to-win week! 

Because the NYPD plays an important role in my Coffeehouse Mysteries, I'm giving away this NYPD Crime Scene Investigator T-shirtMore info at the end of this post. 

But first some happy news....

A Brew to a Kill 
named a
"Must-Read Mystery"
 of the Month at B&N

I recently learned that A Brew to a Kill was named a "must-read mystery" for the month of August by B&N's mystery book buyer Jules Herbert. Not that this is on par with finding a cure for cancer, but it's a nice little bit of caffeinated news, and I'm happy to share it with my readers. If you're among them, I want to thank you for helping this series even make it to book #11. Cheers!

     As for my recipe today, it's something I use to keep me awake at the keyboard during these dog days of summer. What is it? No, not coffee, but you're close. It's...

Coffee Milk. 

I know it sounds odd, but I assure you it is one delicious and revitalizing drink. It tastes like a tall, cold chocolate milkshake but with a deep, earthy dimension and a sweet little kick of caffeine.

I mentioned this drink in book five of my series, Decaffeinated Corpse, when I introduce a struggling fine arts painter named Dante Silva who goes to work for my amateur sleuth (Clare) in her coffeehouse. 
My recipe for Hong Kong-style egg custard
can be found in the recipe section of
A Brew to a Kill
. For a look at the recipe
section's contents, click here.

Dante is a fairly minor character in many of my books. In my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, A Brew to a Kill (just released last week), he plays a much larger role. He even takes a trip to New York's Chinatown as a sidekick to my amateur sleuth as she follows a lead to a Cantonese bakery and a delicious, warm tray of egg custard tarts.

As it happens, Dante was born and raised in Rhode Island, a state which declared Coffee Milk its official drink. This little point of coffee trivia was brought up by the characters in Decaffeinated Corpse and that's how Coffee Milk ended up being included in the book.

So here is my recipe, along with a shout-out to reader Nancy P. who recently reminded me how much she enjoyed this drink after learning about it through the book. 

In these last, long days of summer, there's no cheap kick like a sweet, cold coffee drink...

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Milk


Ice cold milk
Coffee Syrup (recipe follows)

Directions: Pour Coffee Syrup into a glass of cold milk (about 2 tablespoons per 8 ounces or to your own taste). Stir and enjoy!

You can purchase Coffee Syrup from companies famous for making it like Rhode Island's Autocrat. Or you can make your own.

In the photo to the right, you'll notice what looks like a pancake syrup dispenser. But that's not maple syrup in there--it's coffee syrup! (What did you think? It is chez Coyle, after all.)

We love this easy-pour method of storing the coffee syrup. It's a convenient way to add it to milk or fortify hot coffee. Try splashing some into your own morning joe for an improvised red-eye. It's delicious, and my husband and I really do enjoy it. What follows is the recipe I use to make my homemade coffee syrup.

To print, save, or share both of these recipes in a single PDF document, click here. 

When the syrup thickens enough to coat the
back of a spoon, it's finished cooking.
Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Syrup

Makes approximately 1 cup


1 cup of ground coffee
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar

Step 1: Brew coffee (regular or decaf) in your drip maker at the ratio of 1 cup of ground coffee to 2 cups of cold water. Depending on your coffeemaker, your final yield will be a little over one cup of very strong coffee.

Step 2: Place all of this very strong coffee into a saucepan. Over medium heat, slowly stir in one cup of sugar. At no time should you allow this mixture to boil, which may give the coffee a bitter taste.

Step 3: Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly to help dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clearly simmering, continue cooking for about five minutes, stirring often and not allowing the syrup to boil. The mixture will thicken a bit as you cook it.

Step 4: When the syrup is done cooking, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool. Coffee syrup can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, for up to a month.


Leave a comment on this post
and you will be entered automatically to win
this NYPD Crime Scene Investigator T-shirt.

100% cotton, sizes S to XXL.
For more on the exact sizes, click here.
All profits go to the NYPD Police Museum.

Deadline to comment:
Monday 8/20

 1:00 AM (Eastern)

12:00 Midnight (Central)
11:00 PM (Mountain Time)
10:00 PM (Pacific)

Winner chosen by Random Number Generator
and announced on my blog Tuesday: 8/21

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
Learn about my books here.

Friend me on Facebook here.
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Good luck!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breakfast in a Glass—Fruit Smoothie


School here starts pretty early. Actually, it starts real early.

I’m an early riser myself, so the early hour isn’t too big of a deal. But one thing I’m not, when I first wake up, is hungry.

I usually want to eat something about an hour after I’ve woken up. My children are the same way.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option. An hour after they’ve gotten up, they’re already sitting at a desk in school. And lunch comes pretty late for both of them.

I always put a breakfast of some kind in front of the children. Here in the South, breakfasts are traditionally large. That might be, historically, because they’re an inexpensive meal to fix and they can keep you from being too hungry, later, for the more expensive lunch and supper.

Sometimes my children will eat all their breakfast…sometimes they’ll just pick at it and I can tell they’re still half-asleep and not a bit hungry. Considering I’m the same way, I can’t really blame them.

But one way I know I can fill their tummies with enough fuel to get them to lunchtime is by giving them a smoothie.

There are about a million different ways to make a smoothie. You can actually just put any fruit you’ve got in your house in it. I’m going to share my favorite smoothie—the one the family likes the best. I can feel good about it because of the nonfat yogurt, the fiber, and all the vitamins from the fruit. And…it only takes minutes. Using mostly frozen fruit makes it a snap to fix...and also gives the smoothie a nice consistency.

IMG_20110315_123427Mixed Berry Smoothie

1 32-oz container vanilla flavored nonfat yogurt
3/4 of a 16 oz. bag of frozen, mixed berries
1 speckled banana (my family will not eat speckled bananas)
1/3 cup shredded wheat (I like a whole grain one)

Combine all in a blender and blend on medium.

I like to put the yogurt on the bottom of the blender—frozen fruit on the bottom tends to gum it up too much and make the process take a while longer. If you like the consistency thicker, you could add more fruit. If you like it thinner, you could add a little juice to the mix (I’ll sometimes add orange juice.)


This serves to both fill them up and give them a healthier jumpstart on their day. Plus, it’s just a little more appetizing sometimes than just another bowl of cold cereal.

And…they’re not just for breakfast, of course! They’re great for a snack, too…to keep us from reaching for something a little less healthy :)

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tale of the Virgin Mojito by Cleo Coyle

I'm a cheap drunk, meaning very little coin at the bar will get me loopy.

I'm sure this isn't much of a revelation to anyone aware of my partiality for the most classically sobering of beverages (i.e. coffee, which I normally take via an IV drip beside my writing desk).

My husband is the same way when it comes to alcohol. We enjoy a nice, cold beer on the weekend; a glass of vino with dinner every now and again. For the most part, however, cocktails are a special occasion thing and not part of our daily routine.

That's mostly why I came late to the mojito. The drink, which is basically a Cuban mint julep, has been trendy for some time now, but I only got around to trying one about two years ago. Well, let me tell was love at first sip!

I sampled the mojito a few more times, even began to make them at home. But, it seemed to me, a pattern was emerging. A short time after I drank my little Cuban friend, I started feeling annoyed, antsy, even argumentative. Was I imagining it? Hmmm....

I couldn't help thinking of one of our rescued stray cats. We took in Mr. Fellows when he was a very tiny kitten. He loves us. We love him. And he's about the most pleasant, even-tempered, genuinely happy feline in our house. BUT...get a little catnip into this puss and he starts to growl and proceeds to pick fights with every furball who passes his paws.

So I'm thinking maybe there's something to my pattern, too. I mean, beer and wine don't have a negative impact on my mood. So I tried my rum mojito one more time and decided I was not imagining it. Sad but true, too much white rum sends me to the Dark Side.

This is one reason my "Virgin Mojito" was born. The other reason is my realization that the refreshing experience of sweetened lime and mint over ice was the real attraction for me all along.

Do I miss the rum buzz? Not really. I mean, I could try switching the alcohol to bourbon, essentially making the drink a mint julep. Maybe next time I'm at a party or in a bar I'll give it a test. I'm not really that concerned. At heart, I'm a relentlessly sober sort of person anyway, more workaholic than alcoholic. Which isn't to say I wouldn't consider a trip to the Dark Side again...if tempted.

Until then, my quickie Virgin Mojito recipe will have to do. It's one I especially enjoy during New York's long, sticky summers.

Finally, I still can't help wondering if the rum thing is all in my mind. Do any of you have a type of alcohol that sends you to the Dark Side?

Cleo Coyle's
Virgin Mojito

Servings: 1


10-20 fresh spearmint leaves
1 wedge of fresh lime
2 or 3 ice cubes
ginger ale
1 thin slice of fresh lime


"Muddling" the mint is the only real technique to get right here. To "muddle" something for a cocktail means to crush it in the glass with a utensil. Bartenders have a device called a muddle, but the prongs of a fork will do the job just as well.

Step 1 - Place your mint leaves in the bottom of your glass and squeeze the juice from you lime wedge onto the mint. 

Step 2 - Use the prongs of a fork to muddle the dampened mint. (You are crushing the mint to release its essential oils.)

Step 3 - Drop the spent lime wedge into the glass and toss a few whole ice cubes on top of it all. (Note: A classic mojito uses crushed ice, but I like the whole cubes, which serve as a kind of strainer, keeping the mass of crushed spearmint leaves away from the rim of the glass so you can sip the drink without most of the leaves getting in your way.)

Step 4 - Fill the glass with ginger ale, place the slice of lime on the rim and...

Drink with Joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

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click here.


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.