Test Kitchen: Little Red Bus

September 14, 2021

This edition of Test Kitchen pays homage to Amelia Earhart, whose love letters in Lindsay Zier-Vogel's charming, big-hearted epistolary novel  Letters to Amelia (Book*hug Press) propel the story's protagonist to go on a pilgrimage of her own. Scroll down to get the recipe for The Little Red Bus, a refreshing tomato mocktail (with an option to add vodka or gin) that Amelia would have certainly enjoyed and read the first chapter of Letters to Amelia,  launching virtually tonight at 8pm EDT! Get your glass ready for a toast!




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Amelia Earhart loved tomato juice. It was her constant flying companion, and she was known to drink it hot or cold, calling it her “favourite ‘working’ beverage.” When she was in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, about to set off on her historic solo transatlantic flight in the red Vega she called her “Little Red Bus,” she stopped in at the Cochrane Hotel (now called Hotel Harbour Grace) where Rose Archibald gave her a thermos of tomato juice that made the journey with her.

The Little Red Bus is an homage to Amelia, to that flight, and to Grace’s pilgrimage to Harbour Grace to see Amelia’s airfield.



Little Red Bus_photo

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Zier-Vogel




Makes 1 cup
Note: Tomato water can be made 3 days ahead


  • 3-4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of salt



  • Place tomatoes in a bowl and with sprinkle salt
  • Cover and chill at least 12 hours
  • Strain tomato pulp from liquid in a colander
  • Discard solids (and save for soup, sauce, etc!)
  • Cover tomato water and chill


Drink as is (as Amelia Earhart would’ve), or garnish with any of the following:

  • Celery stalk
  • Spear of dill pickle
  • Dill bean
  • Cocktail onions
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Horseradish to taste
  • Old Bay spice
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 oz. of gin or vodka 



Click here to download the first chapter of Letters to Amelia.

Register for the Toronto Lit Up launch of Letters to Amelia here




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Lindsay ZierVogel_AuthorPhoto_credit_PhillipaCroft

Lindsay Zier-Vogel is a Toronto-based writer, arts educator and the creator of the internationally-acclaimed Love Lettering Project. After studying contemporary dance, she received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Since 2001, she has been teaching creative writing workshops in schools and communities. As the creator of the Love Lettering Project, Lindsay has asked people all over the world to write love letters to their communities and hide them for strangers to find, spreading place-based love. Lindsay also writes children’s books. Because of The Love Lettering Project, CBC Radio has deemed Lindsay a “national treasure.” Letters to Amelia is her first book.

Photo credit Phillipa Croft







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Thanks so much to Lindsay for sharing this tasty mocktail with us and to Hazel at Book*hug Press for connecting us!




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