The 'Downton Abbey' Cookbook and Cocktail Book Will Let You Live Your Best Dowager Countess Life
At the very end of the finale episode of Downton Abbey, the always-impeccable Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, led a New Year's toast as the family celebrated Lady Edith's wedding (finally!) and raised their glasses toward 1926. "It makes me smile, the way every year, we drink to the future whatever it may bring," she said.
It took more than three years for the Crawleys to fast-forward to 1927, and they've also jumped from your local PBS station to the big screen: the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie opens next week. Thankfully, two new cookbooks have been released to tie-in with the film, which means that we can still pretend to be charming English aristocrats even after the final credits.
The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook shares some of Mrs. Patmore's secrets, with more than 100 recipes that have been inspired by — or even featured on — the show. (Because even cookbooks like to remind everyone of Edith's decade-plus of unhappiness, it includes the recipe for the golden lobster cutlets that were abandoned after Sir Anthony Strallan bailed on her during their dang wedding.)
In true Downton style, the book is separated into Upstairs and Downstairs sections. The former collects entrees and appetizers worthy of assorted Earls and Countesses (Chicken Vol-au-Vents, Quail and Watercress, Sole a la Florentine) and the latter reflects the servants' less-fussy everyday fare (Toad-in-the-Hole, Beef Stew with Dumplings, Jam and Custard Tarts).
In addition to the recipes and accompanying color photos, author and English food historian Annie Gray has included some context on the relevance of these dishes, and some general early-20th-century etiquette and entertaining tips.
"Drinking is very important at Downton," Gray writes in the introduction to The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book. "At least three types of wine are served at every upstairs dinner, plus port for the gentlemen after it. There's alcoholic punch at parties, plenty of Champagne, and, as the years go by, the gradual adoption of the cocktail."
This sleek volume includes recipes for classic cocktails like the Mint Julep, the Sidecar, and Planter's Punch, along with beverages that have been inspired by the characters themselves. (We're eager to try 'The Final Say,' which includes creme de violet as an homage to the Dowager Countess. "Do not underestimate this cocktail," the recipe warns. "It's both potent and balanced." Noted.)
If you require more Downton in your mixology, U.K. distillery Harrowgate Tipple recently announced the release of its Downton Abbey gin and Downton Abbey whisky. "We are excited to bring Downton Abbey to life for fans of the series with a range of authentic, high quality spirits that evokes the flavors and style of the show's post-Edwardian era," distillery founder Steven Green said in a statement, adding that Harrowgate Tipple is the only distiller "in the fictional Downton Abbey region."
Lot18 has also announced the debut of its three Downton Abbey wines, which include a Sparkling Rosé, a Bordeaux Blanc, and a Bordeaux Rouge. All three varietals are available at select Cost Plus World Markets, or online at Lot18.com/DowntonAbbey.
Both The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook ($24.50 Amazon) and The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book ($22.50 Amazon) will be available starting September 17. That gives us three full days to figure out how to sneak a roast quail into the theater for the flick's opening day. Do Edwardian-era evening gowns have pockets?