February Musings

February Musings

All of us have particular likes and dislikes. My friends and family know that I’m an unapologetic Anglophile. If the cozy mystery is located in a British village, I’m delighted. If the spy novel has an intrepid Brit traipsing around the world protecting free speech, I’m there with him or her. I have recently begun to watch “Good Morning Britain” on Brit Box. It’s the daily news from London and probably is no better or worse than our morning news shows from New York, but to me the sound of the accent makes the information ever so much more authoritative. That’s absolutely silly – and I know it. Nonetheless, I’ve got ”Good Morning Britain” on the television while I’m writing. I feel good. 

On another note, we bought a calendar for 2023 that’s called “Happy Hour.” It has a drink of the month. This month the chosen drink is in honor of the golden age of aviation and called the Aviation. The recipe first appeared in Hugo R. Ensslin’s 1917 Recipes for Mixed Drinks: 


1 ¾ fl. Oz Old Tom gin 

½ fl. Oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice 

½ fl Oz. maraschino liqueur 

¼ fl. Oz. crème de violette (this makes the drink a lovely lilac) 

Maraschino cherry for garnish 


In a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice, combine the gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry. 

Let us know if you’ve tried the drink and what you think. 

Meanwhile, I’m trying out the recipes that I’ve included in my novel, Unprincipaled Death. I like chocolate or berries with gin drinks. The following is from Café Annie’s in Houston and is a marvelous chocolate cake: 


2 cups sugar 

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour. 

1 cup cocoa 

2 tsp cinnamon 

1 ½ tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

2 eggs, lightly beaten. 

1 cup milk 

½ cup melted sweet butter 

2 tsp vanilla extract 


1 pound semisweet chocolate 

2 cups sour cream (at room temperature) 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

½ tsp salt 


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, milk, and melted butter until fully incorporated. Add 1 cup boiling water and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 – 40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool, and turn out of pans. 

For the frosting: 

Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup sour cream. Stir chocolate mixture into remaining sour cream and add vanilla and salt. Allow the frosting to cool. Slice tops of cakes to make flat surfaces. Spread 1/3 of frosting over one cake. Place second cake on top. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake for at least an hour before serving. Serves 10 to 12 or more if sliced thin to go with drinks. 

This is a perfect accompaniment for a patio gin drink and something sweet besides bowls of fresh berries. Yummy! 

Let us know if you make these and what you think! 

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