Stone Skin on the Rocks, Round 5: The New Hero, Sweet and Sour

Welcome to another installment of Stone Skin on the Rocks, our weekly column where our authors provide a liquid pairing suggestion for their short fiction. This week brings us one substantial entry followed by a quick bump of liquid bliss. First up is the inimitable Ed Greenwood, whom you can find on both his website and facebook, in addition to the pages of The New Hero:

In the first volume of THE NEW HERO, and specifically my story therein entitled The Midnight Knight, we meet Mednaiya Knight, whose nickname became the title for the tale she stars in.

As unashamed, daring, and whimsical as any merry adventuress one may meet in a misspent life, she isn’t James Bond or the Saint, or even Modesty Blaise—but if the Saint had been a woman, she and Mednaiya would likely have been good friends, perhaps VERY good friends (insert nudges and winks here, though in a lifestyle like Mednaiya’s, there’s often little time for dalliance; opportunities must be seized with vigor in the brief moments available).

Left to her druthers, Mednaiya would be a green tea girl by day, and sip gently dry Riesling by night—but where The Midnight Knight takes place (the mythical and thankfully tiny South American country of Mariacordoba), the hot, humid climate calls for something sweeter and more tropical than her usual. Enter peach schnapps enlivened by a generous pour of mango syrup. How many ounces, you ask? Saith Mednaiya: “Ounces, my dear, are for mixing explosives or antidotes. For all other times in your life, master pouring with a steady hand—unless a nearby tongue happens to feel neglected.”

In the general unfolding of things, our Midnight Knight would find this cocktail far too sweet, and might even add a splash of grenadine and a glacé cherry to “go really decadent, as it’s just the one glass; if we’re drinking more deeply, all that sugar will have me worshipping at a handy porcelain bowl altar.” Or, on a whim—and our Mednaiya is never averse to whimsy—one could scorn the grenadine and cherry in favor of introducing a sour note, with a splash of sour apple schnapps or even two splashes of grapefruit juice.

If one desires a light snack to accompany this, one could do as Mednaiya does when she can get it, and grill the right sort of snake (anaconda, for choice), or settle for something more readily attainable: dosa or another thin flatbread with whatever mild curry or sambhar is your favourite. (Mednaiya has even been known to drench fat and fresh stalks of asparagus in melted butter and pepper, when she hasn’t the time to cook a curry.)

If that doesn’t your palate excited than you may want to check your pulse. In addition to Ed’s contribution, we also have a shooter-sized entry from Maurice Broaddus (website/twitter/facebook). This mixed drink is meant to accompany his stirring tale from The New Hero, “Warrior of the Sunrise”:

Vodka and cranberry juice (with a splash of sweet n sour) … mostly because that’s one of my drinks of choice for most situations.  Because no drink better prepares me to go to war…

There you have it, thirsty readers, a pair of sweet and sour beverages to go with The New Hero–Salud!

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