Sunday, December 29, 2019

Champagne Salad + Best of Year Book & #Giveaway News from Cleo Coyle

Year End Note from Cleo
Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

We know many of your are busy getting ready to celebrate the New Year. Ours will be a quiet celebration because we have writing deadlines to meet. But we wanted to take a moment to share a virtual champagne toast with you all, as well as some good news. 

The past year was a challenging one for Marc and I. His surgery and recovery last fall left us with a gap of time between books that was larger than we would have liked. But the experience we went through as a couple influenced our writing and led us to try something a bit different for our brand new Coffeehouse Mystery, Brewed Awakening

In many ways, this book was a leap of faith, and we're very glad we took it. Not only have our series' fans embraced the novel, making it a national mystery bestseller, but we just heard that it's made three best of year lists...

Brewed Awakening on 
3 Best of Year Lists:

If you've already purchased our new mystery or borrowed it from the library, we want to thank you for supporting our work. If you haven't read it, we sincerely hope you'll give it a try. 

Brewed Awakening is a wonderful introduction to our Coffeehouse world. If you like it, there are 17 more books for you to enjoy, and there will soon be one more, because we're already at work on our next Coffeehouse entry, due for release in 2020.

And speaking of 2020...

"Waste not," says Mr. Fellowes. Save those last few tablespoons
of New Year's Eve champagne to make our Champagne Salad
on New Year's Day!

Cleo Coyle’s Champagne Salad

Are you having champagne this New Year's Eve? Why not reserve a small amount for your salad? Most champagne vinaigrette recipes use champagne vinegar. Our recipe uses actual champagne! The recipe works with either fresh or leftover bubbly. Whether it's fizzy or flat makes no difference. This vinaigrette is light, bright, refreshing, and the delicate flavor of champagne comes through beautifully.

A fresh salad is also an especially intelligent way to start off the New Year. Why? Lettuce is mostly water and hydrating will help set your body right after an evening imbibing to excess (aka attempting to pickle yourself).

Our amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, actually received this same advice from her ex-husband, Matt, a guy highly skilled in the art of party survival: "Drink lots of water. Hydrate with salad. Even better, dress those crisp, healthy, greens with a hair of the cat that bit you!"

To download our recipe
in a PDF that you can print, 
save, or share, click here.

Click for the Free Recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle’s
Champagne Salad

Servings: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette, enough to dress an average salad for two.


2 T. champagne (fresh and bubbly or flat and leftover, either will work)

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon white rice vinegar (or white or cider vinegar or lemon juice)

1 clove garlic sliced into big pieces (optional)

Directions: Combine all ingredients (but the garlic) in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork. Add the garlic and let stand 15 minutes (this optional step will impart a light garlic flavor). Remove all of the raw garlic. Whisk again and pour the dressing over your favorite salad. The salad you see in my photos is one we often enjoy: romaine lettuce and mixed greens, grape tomatoes sliced in half, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.

Cleo's Final Tips

* Vinegar: We like white rice vinegar for this dressing, but any white vinegar will impart that needed note of astringent brightness, which will balance the sweetness of the champagne. If you don’t have any white vinegar on hand, use lemon juice. We would not recommend red or balsamic vinegar for this vinairgrette. Not only will those darker, heavier vinegars overpower the delicate champagne flavor, they will change the dressing’s color and defeat the culinary concept. (Then again, if you’re hung over, snow is piling up outside, and it’s all you have on hand, it will have to do.)

* The oil flavor really shines through in this vinaigrette so choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil.

* Sea salt and kosher salt are much better choices than table salt.

* We often use black pepper or a pepper mix for this dressing, but if you want a really nice presentation, use white pepper. Grinding it fresh always gives you better flavor.

Happy New Year, Everyone!   

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us >> Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle

Friend us on Facebook here.
Follow us on Twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here

Just Released!

Our NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Learn more or buy at:

 Amazon * B&N

Indie * 



New Updated Version!

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

Click for Cleo's Free Checklist of
Coffeehouse Books in Order


Don't miss Cleo's guest post and
at Kings River Life magazine.

CLICK HERE to jump there,
and you'll have a chance
to win this prize package:

Click this prize package image to jump to
our guest post and enter our giveaway. Or...

Good luck! ~ Cleo 


  1. Congratulations on your best list picks. I could not put the book down.

    1. Peggy - Thank you! Marc and I are thrilled to know it. We've got our cast back in action for a new story next year. We'll have more info soon, until then, we hope you'll keep in touch, and have a very...

      Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  2. Brewed Awakening is a wonderful read, like all of your Coffeehouse mysteries. Congratulations on making three best lists. You have already made mine.

    1. Rita - Thank is so sweet, thank you, and Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  3. Loved Brewed Awakening and I can't wait to read your next book. Happy New Year to one of my favorite writers.

    1. What a beautiful comment to read as we end our year. We're honored to be among your favorite writers, Macey. Thank you so much. Marc and I will do our best never to let you down. Keep in touch and we'll have more news soon about next year's Coffeehouse Mystery. Until then, cheers again, and...

      Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  4. I love all your books. I just finished Shot in the Dark and I got Brewed Awakening for Christmas. My first book of the new year!

    1. We are honored to have written your first read of the new year. So glad Clare and Company were under your Christmas tree. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  5. This dressing sounds like a winning tongue tickler!
    The book, Brewed Awakening, is smashing!!!

    New year greetings and all the very best to my favorite authors.

    1. Thank you kindly, Libby, it's always a joy to hear from you. xoxo Looking forward to having more foodie fun with you in 2020. Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  6. Thanks for the shout-out and Brewed Awakening definitely deserved all its honors.

    1. Thank you so much, Dru, Marc and I were honored to be included on your 2019 list. Happy New Year to you. May it be filled with good reads, good eats, and plenty of good times with good friends. xoxo

      ~ Cleo

  7. Yum, I have a weakness for anything involving champagne! Read a sample of Brewed Awakening and now I've got to find out what happened to Clare! Can't wait, but while I do I'm going to read Murder Most Frothy, one I missed in the series. Thanks for the recipe, and all the entertainment thru the years, Cleo!

    1. Hi, Lynn - Thank you so much for the nice words. Marc and I hope you get a chance to read Brewed Awakening. It's a very special entry in our series. In the meantime, enjoy Murder Most Frothy, which is quite a romp for Clare and Company. Cheers for stopping by today, and have a wonderful holiday week.

      Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  8. Happy New Year Cleo! Enjoy reading your books. Looking forward to reading your new novel and starting the haunted bookshop series. Recipes included in books are wonderful. Thank you for the adventures and entertainment. Best Wishes for the New Year

    1. Marc and I are glad to know that you're enjoying our Coffeehouse Mysteries. Our Haunted Bookshop world is just as much fun, and we're delighted you're going to give our second series a try, too. Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen.

      Happy New Year!
      ~ Cleo