If you are looking for a weaker cocktail, Downton Abbey’s The Upstairs Cocktail is just the drink! This cocktail has a bold, refreshing taste, but the amount of alcohol in this drink is quite low. Serve this cocktail with lots of ice to keep it super cold on a hot, summer day.
DOWNTON ABBEY’S THE UPSTAIRS COCKTAIL
In my Downton Abbey Cocktail Book, there is no information provided as to why this particular cocktail is called The Upstairs Cocktail. There’s actually a note on the page that says “there’s no information on the Upstairs Cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book.” With the exception of the recipe, of course. So, I’m going to make my own assumptions.
If you’ve watched Downton Abbey, you might have noticed that cocktails were not served until late in season five. This is because cocktails were not popular until after the first world war. I like to imagine that the Lord and Lady of Downton at that time would want to partake in a cocktail or two before dinner. The would want to be seen as fashion forward and on trend.
However, as we see in Downton Abbey, the Lord and Lady hosted numerous dinner parties. These parties would be attended by socialites, politicians, and even members of the royal family. Hosting a proper dinner party was the key to continued success and relationships outside the abbey. My assumption is that they would partake in cocktail hour, but would sip on drinks with a low alcohol level so that they could keep their wits.
Again, I’m just making an assumption. But, the fact that Downton Abbey’s The Upstairs Cocktail is basically wine that has been watered down with sparkling water, makes my assumption make sense. When all is said and done, a backstory isn’t needed. This cocktail is just what it is – a delicious cocktail best served in a highball glass with lots of ice. Looks good, doesn’t it?
WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS DRINK:
- Dubonnet – Dubonnet is a specific aperitif wine that originated in France, and was created in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet. It was designed to make bitter quinine more palatable to the French soldiers. Yes, it was created to fight off disease and sickness. Available in rouge and blanc, Dubonnet rouge is prepared with a blend of herbs, spices, and citrus peels. Dubonnet Blanc is made with a white wine base, is the drier of the two, and is similar to dry vermouth.
- Lime Juice – Whenever you see a cocktail prepared with lime juice, always assume that the juice is freshly squeezed. Under no circumstances is it okay to use anything you can buy from the store in bottle!
- Seltzer Water – This is basically a carbonated water. In cocktails, seltzer water and club soda can be used interchangeably without much difference in taste. Likewise, this drink works well with sparkling water as well. Just be sure to use natural, unflavoured waters.
HOW TO MAKE THE UPSTAIRS COCKTAIL:
To prepare Downton Abbey’s The Upstairs Cocktail, measure the dubonnet and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to cover the liquid. Shake until the mix is really cold – about 30 seconds.
Fill a highball glass half full with ice. Pour the contents of the cocktail shaker over the ice and fill the glass up with seltzer water. Serve immediately.
Downton Abbey’s The Upstairs Cocktail
- 3 ounces Dubonnet
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 6 ounces seltzer water
- Measure the Dubonnet and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to cover the liquid. Shake until the liquid is chilled – about 30 seconds.
- Strain the liquid into a chilled highball glass that has been filled halfway up with ice. Top up the glass with seltzer water. Serve immediately.