Agatha Whiskey by Colleen Mullaney (+ a Q & A with the author)

Agatha Whiskey by Colleen Mullaney

From the author of Gin Austen, Colleen Mullaney’s new book, Agatha Whiskey, is a delicious and mysterious collection of cocktails and mocktails. 

The perfect gift for mystery fans, Agatha Christie fans, amateur mixologists, and anyone who wants a fun drink to sip on all year round.

A celebration of Christie’s timeless murder mysteries, killer short stories, suspenseful plays, and unmatched characters—with cocktails that are so tantalizingly delicious, it must be a crime.

Dame Agatha Christie is arguably the world’s most famous mystery writer, with over a billion copies of her books sold.

Agatha Whiskey (Skyhorse, September 2023) takes clues from Agatha’s most pivotal works of fiction and honors her most popular detectives. Featured super-sleuths are Dame Agatha herself, the one and only Maiden of Murder, detective Hercule Poirot, whose sleuthing is only outdone by his magnificent mustache, and Miss Jane Marple, the sweet old maid with an uncanny knack for crime solving.

There’s a plot twist for everyone with fifty thrilling drinks such as a Pocket Full of Rosé, Orient Espresso Martini, and Daiquiri on the Nile. There are also detective drinking games to get your party on the right track, and mocktails for those who choose to forgo an endless night.

Just like Agatha herself, Agatha Whiskey is here to entertain, inspire, and add some drama of the right sort to your life. Make sure to read to the very end for a cocktail from the book, “Hercule’s Hurricane.”

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Agatha Whiskey

Agatha Whiskey is available wherever books are sold
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About the Author: Colleen Mullaney is a well-known lifestyle expert and bestselling author of how-to books covering a range of topics on entertaining, cocktails, floral design, and weddings. Her most recent, Gin Austen, won the International Gourmand Drink Culture Award. Mullaney is a former magazine editor-in-chief and has been a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Today.com, New York Daily News, Woman’s Day, and many more. She lives in Westchester county, New York.

 

Q & A with Colleen Mullaney, author of Agatha Whiskey

Colleen, I shared a cocktail from your previous book, Gin Austen, shortly after it was published. Given the relative staidness of Jane Austen’s situations and characters  the 20th-century settings of the Agatha Christie mysteries, how was the creative process behind Agatha Whiskey different?

I wrote Gin Austen to celebrate Jane’s work and her tremendous legacy through entertaining and cocktails, giving lighthearted insight into her world and her characters. She definitely was a woman ahead of her time, and her popularity remains so strong today.

So, when I began researching a second book by a woman author, I thought who better than Dame Agatha, the bestselling novelist of all time! But the question was, where do I even begin to choose titles and works to feature?

Her canon of work is so vast, and my goal was to write it so readers would discover a bit about her personal life and work — and to be entertained with cocktails. Hopefully, readers will come away curious.

As I decided how to approach the book, I broke it into different chapters to reflect the topics of her writing: Drinking Detectives, Murders & Mysteries in Faraway Places, Garden Parties, Stolen Identities & Unscrupulous Vicars, and Family Dynamics & Deadly Disturbances to name a few.

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Agatha Christie - wikimedia commons

Learn more about Agatha Christie
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Dame Agatha was something of an expert on poisons. Kemper Dawson (mystery author and host of the All About Agatha podcast) in the Forward to your book points out that “The Queen of Crime used poisons more than any other means to murder her characters.” Of course, your cocktails and mocktails aren’t poison-laced, but did these factors help inspire them?

Oh yes! I loved the fact that during the First World War, Agatha worked as an assistant dispenser, gaining knowledge of poisons. Ao it was a natural fit that poisons inspired many of the books I featured and the cocktails I mixed: Sparkling Cyanide (Sparkling Cyanide), Artist in Residence (Five Little Pigs), Seaside Sangria (Sleeping Murder).

Others were a play on words like Orient Espresso Martini (Murder on the Orient Express) and Daiquiri on the Nile (Death on the Nile).

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Gin Austen by Colleen Mullaney

See also:
A Jane Austen-Inspired Cocktail from Gin Austen
and Passion Fruit Martinis Are Announced
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Speaking of mocktails, can you talk about why you provided an alcohol-free alternative to each of your recipes?

I wanted to celebrate the fact that Agatha wasn’t a drinker, so I included a mocktail with each cocktail recipe. I featured a mocktail that I titled “Mocktails and Murder,” which I thought she would have enjoyed, sitting and looking out at her gardens. The cocktail is very garden-centric with Seedlip Grove 42, an English brand specializing in non-alcoholic spirits, rhubarb syrup, and bitters.It’s quite refreshing and tasty!

Also, I thought it was important to include mocktails for the growing number of people that are abstaining for personal reasons or simply to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

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Hercule's hurricane cocktail from Agatha Whiskey

“Hercule’s Hurricane” (recipe below) Photo: Jack Deutsch
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I recently read The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Dame Agatha’s first published novel, and the one that introduced her iconic detective, Hercule Poirot. This novel inspired your first two cocktail recipes, including the one I’ll be sharing here (Hercule’s Hurricane). Are you Team Poirot or Team Marple? And, would you like to give a shout-out to any of her lesser-known detectives (all of whom are listed in your book)?

Yes, the question I find most torturous when talking about the book! I adore Poirot, and his quirkiness, mannerisms, and profound way of being. That said, I root for his happiness.

But for me it’s Miss Jane Marple. She’s entirely underestimated, up for anything, and has no plans for slowing down. I love her community of St. Mary’s Mead, how she lives a virtuous life training girls from the nearby orphanage to work as housekeepers so they can go on and earn a living.

She has a nephew, Raymond West, who treats her to vacations and hotel stays. Then there’s the fact she makes her own Cherry Brandy from her grandmother’s recipe, offering it to anyone who’s had a bit of a fright. I include a recipe titled Miss Marple’s Cherry Blossom, with, of course, cherry brandy!

Scattered throughout your book are quotes from Agatha Christie’s novels. Can you share a favorite, and why it appeals to you?

Oh, it has to be this from Murder at the Vicarage: 

“What are you doing this afternoon, Griselda?”
“My duty as the Vicaress. Tea and scandal at four-thirty.”

I just love the levity and humor of the honest answer, as you know in the book they do sit around and gossip about how one of the characters should meet his demise. Little did they know he was quite dead already!

For me, as a writer of entertaining books and lifestyle expert, mixing cocktails and inviting friends over to join in is what it’s all about — sharing and being hospitable is pure joy.

I would suggest grabbing a copy of Agatha Whiskey, inviting friends over, mixing up some cocktails and letting the fun begin! Pick your poison!!

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Hercule's Hurricane cocktail recipe

 

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