This 1920s Cocktail Recipe Shows You How to Make a Classy Gin-Based Drink
The social life of Downtown Abbey was a lot tamer than that of its real-life set, Highclere Castle, at least according to the stories of Lady Carnarvon, who manages the estate with her husband, the Eighth Earl of Carnarvon. Highclere Castle has hosted notable guests (Queen Elizabeth, Queen Caroline, and the Prince of Wales, to name a few) for centuries.
Based on accounts she’s heard, her favorite soirees were from the 1920s and '30s. “It was after World War I, and everyone felt that life was really something special, [something] to be celebrated, even though times were hard,” she explained. “The Earl of Carnarvon was a very generous host and he wanted to give his guests every bit of comfort and style that he could.”
Parties were conducted in candlelight, as gas and electricity were limited, but the earl could offer food and impeccable service. Highclere Castle has extensive gardens and food, which included everything from oats to pineapple grown in the greenhouse, luxuries in the post-War world. “He certainly liked eating and drinking well. If your glass was running low, a butler would appear with a fresh one on a silver tray, and the old one whisked away,” Lady Carnarvon said. “It was all very glamorous.”
Part of party-planning included mixing up exciting new cocktails. And, as Highclere Castle launches its very own gin, Lady Carnarvon found a handful of old recipes from those famed get-togethers. This one, simply named “Dry Cocktail,” is being shared for the first time with T&C. It’s quite strong, but the herbal notes of the gin inspired by the Highclere gardens—lavender, juniper, orange peel, and even oats, which give a creamy finish—are showcased.
It makes six, so invite some friends over, light a few candles, and cue the music to spend the night in classic Highclere style. The Dowager Countess would undoubtedly approve.
Equal parts gin and brandy (1.5 ounces each) two parts dry Vermouth (6 ounces) with a dash of angostura bitters, soda water to taste, and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with the peel. Serves six.
Highclere Castle Gin
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*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors