Disclosure: This is an honest review written by us based on our experience using this book to make cocktails. Although we were not compensated to write this review, this post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.
About The Book
The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book: Appropriate Libations for All Occasions, written by Lou Bustamante, is a 160-page recipe book that’s filled with a mix of about eighty classic cocktails as well as original recipes that are inspired by characters and scenes from Downton Abbey, a British historical drama television show that aired on PBS from 2010-2015.
The recipes included in this book are divided into categories by type—the Stirred Drinks & After-Dinner Drinks, Refreshing Drinks, Party Drinks, Pre-Dinner Drinks & Hangover Helpers, and Everyday Drinks—so you can easily choose which you want to try based on time of day or occasion.
• 80 cocktail recipes with ingredient lists, methods, and brief descriptions of each cocktail
• Beautifully styled photos of most of the cocktails
• Photos from scenes in Downton Abbey
• A foreword written by Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey
• An introduction written by Annie Gray, a food historian
• A short illustrated glassware guide
• A table of contents that includes page numbers for the beginning of the book’s five sections
• An index with cocktail names and ingredients for easy navigating
What We Liked
Here’s what we liked about this cocktail recipe book:
Theme: We’re both fans of the show, so we really enjoyed that this book was created for people like us. To be honest though, Downton Abbey is really a broad theme of the book. It’s almost as if the book is filled with very interesting, respectable, complex recipes that just happen to have a bunch of screen grabs from the show shown next to the cocktails. It’s not kitschy at all like many movie or show-themed books can be, so even those with no knowledge of the show can enjoy the recipes too.
Bookmark: Unlike all of our other cocktail recipe books, this one has a fabric ribbon bookmark that you can use to keep your place. We really loved that handy design choice and that the designers chose a coordinating gold color that perfectly complements the rest of the book.
Design: The Official Downton Abbey Book is beautifully designed; it’s honestly the most glamorous book we own. It features intricate details just like the show, including gold foil elements, swashes, and lovely fonts all throughout—a graphic designer’s dream.
Photography: From start to finish, the book seamlessly weaves stills from various episodes (with accurate glassware used for each cocktail on-screen) and beautiful original photos of the drinks that look as if they could’ve been taken on-set between the recipe pages.
Descriptions: Short histories of the classics, as well as fun facts for originals that tie them into the show (and not in a kitschy way), are included with each recipe. We especially enjoyed learning about the inspiration behind the cocktails created just for this book.
Sections: The book is divided into categories by drink type, and each is cleverly named after places in the show—The Library, The Grounds, The Village, etc. This was helpful when we wanted to find specific types of drinks.
Libation Notes: Short tips and fun facts, called “libation notes,” are included with many of the recipes, and all of them are printed in a white font against the lovely gold foil background. These were often related directly to the show, so it was fun to learn more about characters and cocktails while reading them.
What We Disliked
Here’s what we didn’t like as much about this cocktail recipe book:
There was honestly nothing about this recipe book that we didn’t like. If we had to nitpick, there were maybe two recipes that listed cups as a measurement for an ingredient instead of ounces, which forced us to convert them ourselves, but that’s all. This book did give us major glassware envy, so you’ve been warned if you can’t resist hunting down similar sets like us.
Who Should Buy This Book
In our opinion, The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book: Appropriate Libations for All Occasions is best for readers who:
• Are Downton Abbey fans (You may get a little less out of the experience if you aren’t a fan of the show)
• Are cocktail enthusiasts who enjoy more complex, dry, and bitter recipes
• Would like a new beautifully designed cocktail book for their coffee table
Although themed around a specific television show, this book is an excellent resource for imbibers of any drinking level, and its recipes are well-curated mix of classics everyone should try at least once and originals inspired by characters from the show that still manage to be respectable. We will say that most of the cocktails are a little more geared toward people like Alex who prefers more serious drinks, but Kendall found several gin recipes she especially enjoyed. Overall, this book will a beautiful addition to your coffee table that is likely to get plenty of use.
Our Favorite Cocktails
These are the recipes we liked most from this cocktail book:
Wedding Coat: A gin cocktail made with lemon juice, crème de cassis, and gum syrup
Final Say: A gin cocktail made with maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, lime juice, and a lime twist
Tuxedo No. 2: A gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, cherry liqueur, absinthe, orange bitters, and a lemon twist
Wild Rose: A tequila and dry sparkling wine cocktail made with pineapple gum syrup, maraschino liqueur, Angostura aromatic bitters, and a orange twist
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