Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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

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.
Follow me on Twitter here.
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: CoffeehouseMystery.com

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.


  1. My first foray into your series was Espresso Shot. Now I realize how much I still have to look forward to! Coffee AND mystery?! Does it get any better than that? PLEASE keep writing!

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah. As I've said for years on my coffee talk message board...as long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing. :)

      Good luck on winning the T-shirt and have a great week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. I have to admit that Dante is one of my all-time favorite staffers at the Blend! Needless to say, I am now *extra* excited to read Brew to a Kill.

    Congrats on the good news, Cleo! I'm so happy for you!!

    1. Cheers, Wendy, I hope you enjoy the read. Dante has some nice scenes in the book. He's become a favorite with quite a few readers. He's got such a great heart and is so down to earth, yet he still has that fine artist coolness about him - the tattoos, the love of space music, and the ability to attract every NYU undergrad who comes into Clare's coffee shop. (A valuable female customer magnet, to be sure. :)) I received an e-mail from a fan of Dante's and was surprised when she told me she was in her seventies! (Dante's not quite 30, but I think he'd be flattered.) Thx again, W., and good luck on winning this (real!) CSI tee!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Hooked on Coffeehouse Mysteries from the beginning. Love the atmosphere of Clare's coffee shop and its characters. Thanks for letting me visit NY each time I read one of your books.

    1. Thanks for coming. You’re always welcome at the Village Blend so come back often. You’ll always have friends in New York City.

      ~ Cleo

  4. I am not a fan of cold coffee in any form, but I love your coffee mystery series. It is one of my sisters' and my favorite reads of the year.

    1. Coffee may not be best served cold, but on a sweltering day in August I could think of worse things than an icy frappuccino. But I must confess that I prefer my coffee like the men in my Coffeehouse Mystery series—good, strong, and hot!

      ~ Cleo

  5. Coffee milk! When I was a little girl, my dad would wake up at 4 am to have time to relax over his coffee and newspaper before going to work. I was a ridiculously early riser even then (I still wake up at 4), so he'd make me some coffee milk and I'd sit next to him and read the "funny papers." It was just delicious, and I've never forgotten the taste of it. Thank you, Cleo!

    And thank you for the recipe for those egg tarts! You nearly drove me crazy yesterday, with your description of those flaky, tender, delicately-sweet things - I was so hoping you'd tell us how to make them.

    Oh, Dante..."the boyfriend experience" - I'm a tea drinker, but he can serve me coffee any time! I loved how he and Esther both took the spotlight in this book, and we got to see dimensions of them that we hadn't before. That has always been one of my favorite things about your books--the exquisite character development. Well, that and being led by the hand into the heart of New York. Oh, and the delectable recipes, of course.

    And by the way, you kept me up until 2 am!

    1. Not hitting the pillows until 2 AM, and you’re up again at four?! You, Laineshots, are tailor made for the life of a writer.

      Seriously, though, thanks for the kind and very thoughtful words. My characters are as real to me as they are to you—and so I can tell you honestly that YES, you DO want Dante to serve you coffee.

      ~ Cleo

  6. I love your series. I was hoping to read A Brew to a Kill before school started (chasing elementary students around the library often has me falling asleep over my books at night), but summer just passed too quickly. Now I'm hoping it will be my Labor Day Weekend treat. When I first saw the words Coffee Milk it reminded me of when my youngest son was in first or second grade. He wanted to drink coffee like the grownups so a good friend of mine shared a drink with him that her kids loved - Coffee Milk. (It's just milk with just enough coffee to give it a little color and a bit of sugar.) I think your drink sounds much more tasty.

    1. The coffee milk you describe is more like the treat my husband enjoyed when he was a boy growing up in Western Pennsylvania—real coffee drowning in enough milk and sugar to render it a soft drink. But he still has fond memories of that first great taste of joe.

      Do come back after school starts (and you have a little time) and tell me what you think of A Brew to a Kill. And a special thanks for all the work you do—you have a job that really matters.

  7. Going to make Coffee Milk today! So excited! Congrats on your new book:)

  8. Cleo,
    Congrats on your B&N " must read" listing, but they have always been on my must read list.
    When I was younger I had a milk allergy. I have grown out of it, but do not like the taste of pain milk. The coffee syrup sounds yummy. It just might help get a little milk into the diet. Can this be made with decaf as well as regular coffee?

    1. Thank you for those wonderful words. I wouldn’t be here, doing this without fans like you.

      To answer your question, decaf is fine for this drink. That’s the beauty of coffee milk, you can make it as strong or as weak or as sweet as you want. It’s a great way to add flavor to your milk and get calcium in your diet (without feeling like you’re in preschool).

      ~ Cleo

  9. Hi Cleo congratulations on your new release I have in my wish list to get read. The recipe sounds great and though I am not a big coffee drinker this I will have to try. Thank you for the great giveaway and recipes.
    The Babs Book Bistro

  10. As a former Texas police officer who currently works in the forensic unit in a psychiatric hospital in NY I need this shirt! I thoroughly enjoy your series and am so glad it's continuing on. Here's to many more books in this wonderful series.

    1. I’ll bet you have some pretty interesting shirts (and lab coats) of your own. Good luck, and thanks so much for reading the Coffeehouse Mysteries. Your enjoyment is my joy.

      ~ Cleo

  11. I love your books and am anxiously waiting for the next Haunted Bookshop to come out!

    1. Spooky how Jack Shepard keeps popping up like a haunted buffalo nickel. Sooner or later, he’ll again haunt the book aisles. Keep watching…

      ~ Cleo

  12. Twomanycookbooks