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Archive for October 9th, 2020

M. A. Monnin: Music as a Muse (Recipe)
Friday, October 9th, 2020

I brake for great songs. Not literally, but when I’m driving, I tend to station-surf, hunting for a song that lifts me up and reflects my mood. Between FM, satellite radio, the cd player, and yes, even a cassette player, there are plenty of options in my car. I’m constantly searching for songs that make me feel—feel happy, sad, romantic, or amused. One tune that I block out all else to listen to is “Samba Pa Ti” by Santana. Something about those notes evokes yearning and sensuousness, and lifts my soul to a satisfying high.

So when I answered the submission call for short stories involving a supernatural connection to jazz for the anthology All That Weird Jazz, I knew the story I wrote would involve a song that pulled the main character in, a song like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, or “Still Got The Blues For You” by Gary Moore. A song that takes the listener to another world. A Siren Song.

In my story “Siren Song“, Hawk Hathaway’s soul is touched by a song, too, one that leads him to a life-changing dilemma. He listens to local jazz at The Gimlet Lounge, a bar above an old speakeasy, sitting in the dark, sipping on drinks served to him by attractive bartender Greta, who with her pierced eyebrow, plaid skirt, and biker boots is both from a different world and so out of his league.

For myself, listening to music while enjoying a refreshing drink (alcoholic or not, I’m not partial), soothes my soul and provides a calming effect that I appreciate more than usual during this troubled year. Here is a cocktail with a history as old as The Gimlet Lounge, and I’ve included a non-alcoholic version as well. It’s one of my favorites.

The French 75

The French 75 is a champagne cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s and got its name from the French artillery gun used during World War I. I enjoyed several of these when The National World War I Museum in Kansas City served them at their exciting evening events that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War. They are typically made with either cognac (French brandy) or gin. For cool fall and winter nights, I prefer them made with brandy, but on hot summer nights, a French 75 made with gin is particularly refreshing.

Serve in a coupe or flute. Makes one serving.

French 75

½ oz. cognac
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 oz. Champagne
Twist of lemon peel for garnish

Fill a shaker with ice and add cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake, then strain into glass and top with Champagne. Add lemon peel.

French 75 Mocktail

3 oz. Tonic water
2 oz. Sprite
Twist of lemon peel for garnish

For the mocktail, pass on shaking over ice because both of the ingredients are carbonated. Instead, pour ingredients directly into a flute or coupe, and stir with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

The tonic water adds dryness to the drink, and there is no need to add lemon juice since Sprite already has lemon flavoring. I use Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water.

Enjoy your drink, turn on the stereo or stream your music of choice, and if you have no dilemmas of your own to ponder, why not check out Hawk Hathaway’s in “Siren Song“?


All That Weird Jazz

Jazz. A music of improvisation, of passion, of its very own kind of magic. Considered by many to be the only truly original American form of music, it has since its birth in a smoky room somewhere also been tied to the strange, wrapped up in the supernatural, associated with the occult, at least in hints and shadows. Pro Se Productions now brings together several of the most innovative writers in genre fiction today in ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ, telling the tales of the unusual between the notes, the magic behind the music.From straight up pulp action to ghostly noir to a dragon who digs Jazz more than anyone else, ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ takes love for this unique musical styling to an all new level, complete with adventure, thrills, and even a chill or two.

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About the Author

A. Monnin is an AF veteran and avocational archaeologist. She lives to travel, and can’t wait until her next foreign trip. Egypt, the French island of Guadaloupe, and the Balearic Islands are all on her agenda.

You can find her here:
Facebook: MA Monnin
Twitter: mamonnin1
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