The Friday Tipple: Highclere Highball

Highclere Highball

It’s the weekend, Boozers. And, unlike the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey, we know exactly what that is. We’ve worked our little fingers to the bone all week and we’re deserving of a cocktail. As devotees of what appears to be the most popular soap opera in the U.K. and the U.S., we enjoy imagining life above stairs, when Carson delivers a frosty drink to us in the drawing room at the end of the day as we warm our weary limbs by a crackling fire. First world problems, indeed.

The real Downton Abbey is, of course, Highclere Castle, which has quite the storied history of its own and whose owners saved it from financial ruin by hiring the estate out to the highest bidder, in the grand old tradition of land barons suddenly faced with taxation. It’s a tough row to hoe, lords and ladies, and the Highclere Highball rewards that hard labor with a spot of sherry, a slug of gin, and a touch of ginger beer mingling together for all the world like the chauffeur dallying with the daughter of the house. Drink up — Monday’s just around the corner.

Highclere Highball

Sherry cocktails are a long-standing tradition in the most elegant London watering holes but Americans have long eschewed sherry as a viable sipper until recently. There are several types of sherry beyond the amontillado made famous by our own Edgar Allen Poe; we prefer a dry sherry like a fino which takes well to being chilled.

2 ounces chilled dry sherry

1 ounce chilled gin (we prefer the spicy bite of Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin)

2 ounces chilled ginger beer

a few drops of citrus bitters (we like Hella Citrus Bitters)

1 blood orange, freshly juiced (you can use a standard orange if necessary)

slice of blood orange for garnish

Put first five ingredients in a tall (highball) glass filled with ice, stir briskly, and garnish with slice of blood orange. Serve immediately.


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