Episode 114: Historical Fiction

The Strand Magazine (cover), vol. 65, no. 321, September 1917

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing Historical Fiction books!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

Who is joining our reading group this week? This week we welcome back book group guest Lydia, from the Great River Library System!


We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip your coffee as you listen, or any other beverage you enjoy. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!

Stone Fence

Colonel Ethan Allen certainly didn’t require liquid courage, but a few nights before he and the Green Mountain Boys raided Fort Ticonderoga, that’s just what he sought. This drink was a popular, bracing blend of hard cider and rum, and Allen and his men downed plenty of them in the days before their pre-dawn raid of May 1775.

Want to drink like they did? It’s easy. Drop two ounces of dark rum in a glass, then top with hard cider—preferably one with a touch of residual sweetness. For a modern touch, garnish with a lemon twist.


1874 New Orleans

Drink name: Absinthe Frappé

Where it was invented: Aleix Coffee House, later called The Absinthe Room and now known as Old Absinthe House.

Who invented it: Cayetano Ferrer, head bartender of Aleix Coffee House and later proprietor of the establishment, which he renamed.

What is it? Absinthe, rich simple syrup, anisette (optional), chilled soda water.


Recipe 1 1/2 oz. gin 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth 1/2 oz. dry vermouth 1 oz. orange juice Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain, and garnish with an orange peel. The Bronx

“Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man are probably the first, and most famous, duo of drinkers, with a beverage in hand in every other scene…The drink was ranked third in “The World’s 10 Most Famous Cocktails in 1934,” likely thanks to the comedic mystery starring Myrna Loy and William Powell.”

“The Bronx is essentially a traditional martini of gin and vermouth with orange juice added in, shaken to a two-step time, as Nick suggests. ”


Gin Rickey

“Said to be the preferred pour of F. Scott Fitzgerald, this simple serve is best imbibed on a hot summer day. Don’t forget the chunky ice cubes.

  • 1.25 oz Tanqueray London Dry gin
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 5 parts soda water

Build in a highball glass, stir, top with soda water. Drag to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.”


Genre Suggestions

The Historical Fiction genre is such a fun one! You have license to go anywhere in history, to become anyone, and to explore all sorts of exciting new places. It’s like magic – and sometimes it is – but good historical fiction transports you to a place in history and helps you to feel the experience of being there.

This is a great genre for book groups to read, as the books can be discussed in so many ways: pure history, character development, any anachronisms, whether it’s all back in time or your main character is living in our time and traveling back with you. This genre can, like so many broad categories, cover all sorts of other genres: science, mystery, literary fiction, YA, and so much more. We have a lot of suggestions for historical fiction you might enjoy, or that you might want to share with patrons or friends, all on our podcast website – so check it out! Here are a few lists of books from our friends in reading at Goodreads, just to give you a taste of some possibilities!


Books Discussed



Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! We will be back next Tuesday with another genre, more book group hosts, and all kinds of books to share and discuss. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries.

Bring your book ideas, bring your beverages, and join us back here for more book discussion next Tuesday!

We support libraries!