The owners of the real castle that was used as the location in the BBC Downton Abbey series are hosting a virtual 1920’s cocktail party on Friday, April 17th at 7:00 p.m. for fans of the show. What a brilliant way to distract us all during this time of home isolation!
According to People Magazine, any other year the magnificent Highclere Castle — the country estate made famous by Downton Abbey — would be full of tourists who visit the manor to experience the grandeur of the grounds as spring comes to Hampshire, England. This year, of course, things are very different.
Countess Carnarvon, the current lady of the house, decided to hold a virtual cocktail party so people could join her and her husband, the 8th earl, in sipping some 1920’s cocktails made with gin, since the couple have their own gin brand!
Lady Carnarvon is hosting the first cocktail party via Facebook Live on Friday April 17 (from 4:00 p.m. ET, 9:00 p.m. U.K. time). “We will tell stories of the cocktails that were served here in the '20s and '30s, add some jazz music and see what we can do to bring people together,” Lady Carnarvon told People.
The Bishops of Winchester owned the estate for 800 years, from 749, before the Carnarvons took over. Lady Carnarvon said that in the 1920s and ’30s, Prince George, Duke of Kent was a regular guest at the house. “We are bringing back a little of the glamour,” she explained. “[Novelist] Evelyn Waugh would say in his letters to Nancy Mitford something was ‘very Highclere’ if it was very well done. That’s a nice way of setting the scene.”
One of the drinks that is expected to be featured is a gin mojito (recipe below).
Lady Carnarvon’s Gin Mojito
1.5 ounces Highclere Castle Gin
3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 teaspoons sugar syrup
10 mint leaves
Twisted Lemon Peel to garnish
Put the Gin, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and 8-10 mint leaves into a glass add some crushed ice. Add soda water, and finish with mint leaves and a lemon peel twist.