Valentine’s is a time for enjoying romance and decadent foods and beverages…to create that intimate mood.
When I moved to Tampa from Toledo, one of my many inspirations for writing Tears on a Tranquil Lake was my exploration of fine Caribbean rums. Honestly, stores here have four to five times more shelf space for rum varieties compared to up north. Yes, I had to do some sampling!
I enjoyed allowing my heroine, a mermaid named Ciel, to discover and develop a taste for fine rums. One of her suitors, the dashing pirate captain Raphael, teaches her the careful process of tasting a quality blend while they make port in the wild pirate hang-out of Tortuga.
In case you’re curious…after you pour the sample into the glass, lift it up to the light and check for clarity in the rum. Aged rums will have a golden or mahogany hue from their extensive aging in oak barrels. This color indicates what to expect when you taste. Lighter rums tend to be lighter and drier, and darker rums richer and heavier in flavor. Once the rum is poured into the glass, give it a sniff from the far side of the glass. Master blenders use sense of smell the most when creating their rums. Then swirl the rum around in the glass. Now take another whiff of the rum to see if more of the aromas have been released by swirling. Some of the bouquets you may detect: wood; nuts; honey; spice; vanilla; cocoa; orange.
Now for the best part--tasting. Take a small sip and swirl it around your mouth. Let the rum linger on your tongue and then the rest of your mouth. After swallowing the rum, allow the taste to linger and assess the "finish" which will probably be your most important memory of the rum. The length of the "finish", how long the taste remains in your mouth and nose, tells a lot about the complexity of the rum. What did you taste? Oak, vanilla, molasses, caramel, fruit, cinnamon, spices, nutmeg, tobacco, coconut? How would you describe the rum--sweet, smooth, full-bodied, harsh, or well-balanced?
What are your favorite beverages to set that intimate mood?
What a surprise for a young woman, to find herself suddenly transformed into a mermaid.
Ciel’s first thought – track down the merman who changed her and make him reverse his magic.
Unable to find him, survival in her new world becomes paramount. She eagerly accepts help from a dashing pirate captain who takes a fancy to her, lavishing her with finery. When her merman does show up, he competes for her affection. One look into his eyes makes her life more complex -- he is her soul mate.
Which man will she choose – pirate captain or merman? Which life – human or mermaid? Caribbean adventures and dangers chase Ciel as she searches for decisions and the key to her happiness.
Warning: This book contains Haitian vodou, sultry wenches, foul-mouthed scalliwag pirates, overindulgence of fine Caribbean rum, and amorous encounters on deserted beaches.