a-crazy-haggertyStony River opens with two girls spying on the dilapidated house of someone they call Crazy Haggerty, a man they’ve seen stumbling drunk down the sidewalk, wearing a magician’s suit and red shoes. There’s more to James Haggerty, the reader learns over the course of the novel: former professor, practitioner of Irish witchcraft and grieving widower. He does like his whiskey, though, and keeps a flask of it in his bathrobe pocket.

A book blogger suggested I create a drink for my novel in honor of its 2016 debut in the United States. Good sport that he is and knowing whiskey isn’t my thing, my husband taste-tested a few concoctions before we settled on this recipe for a “Crazy Haggerty.”

  • 1 ounce of Irish whiskey — we used Jameson
  • 1 ounce of well-chilled dry mead — we used Magick Mead from Hornby Island, but another good dry mead will do
  • 1/2 ounce of Irish Mist honey liqueur
  • Serve over a single ice cube

According to Wikipedia (the Internet’s Oracle of Delphi), Irish Mist is “made from aged Irish whiskey, heather and clover honey, aromatic herbs and other spirits, blended to an ancient recipe claimed to be 1,000 years old.” It’s produced in Dublin but available in 40 countries. We live in Canada and found it easily at a liquor store near us.

Apparently mead is trending with the upwardly mobile, Game of Thrones crowd. Personally, it makes me picture unwashed, bearded men brawling in a dank medieval hall. It’s perfect for a “Crazy Haggerty,” however, as it has a long history with the Celts who once thought it had magic properties.

If James Haggerty had concocted the potion we named after him, he might have drunk it from the pewter chalice that sat on his altar. We used a Waterford (as in Waterford, Ireland) crystal glass.

Lest you think Stony River is all about magic spells and Irish witchcraft, I hasten to tell you it isn’t. It’s a mystery that shines a light on the type of secrets that hid behind closed doors in small-town America in a time we often romanticize. A mystery inspired by a true-crime story that shows how perilous it was for some girls to come of age in the 1950s.

 

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FROM THE BOOK