I don’t know about you, but I’m still recovering from the season 3 finale of Downton Abbey. To be fair, I’d had some warning; my sister told me of Dan Stevens’ plans to leave the show long before that last episode. Josh and I spent the whole season discussing when and how the writers would bump him off. (Which was part of the fun: “There will be a shooting accident! No, he’ll have to go abroad to get the inheritance! No, a car crash!”)
In the end, the writers get us right in the gut, just as Matthew is reveling in his new fatherhood. You’d think that no one would ever have children on this show, if only because of the high rate of new parents dying off. Oh, Sybil, I still miss you!
While I wasn’t as devastated by Matthew’s death as by Sybil’s, I’m still getting my sea legs back after that punch of a finale. So I thought we could focus on happier times: namely, intrigue at the family retreat in Scotland. (Who else loves the fact that the Crawleys have a family member named Shrimpy?)
Drama abounds in Scotland, from cousin Rose’s scandalous attire to Shrimpy’s failing marriage to Anna’s attempts to learn the reel. And then there’s Molesley, drunken belle of the ball. A competitive lady’s maid tries to trick O’Brien into getting drunk at the big ball, all to get back at her for knowing just how to do Her Ladyship’s hair. But the trick goes awry and Molesley downs the cocktail, which sends him whirling gleefully around the dance floor. It’s one of my favorite parts of the episode.
While the suspect drink was most likely punch spiked with whiskey, the guests might as well have been sipping the Flying Scotchman Cocktail. Made with Scotch and vermouth, this cocktail is just one of the many drinks written up in The Savoy Cocktail Book, a 1930s collection of recipes from The Savoy hotel. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, it was all the rage to have a drink at The Savoy when one was in London–just ask Fred Astaire, George Gershwin, and Noel Coward.
I like this cocktail on the sweeter side, but you can adjust the amount of sugar syrup to your liking. Just make sure to drink a toast to poor, hapless Molesley when you try it.
Flying Scotchman Cocktail
(from The Savoy Cocktail Book, as featured in Savoy Stomp)
2 oz vermouth
3 oz Scotch whiskey
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tbsp sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
Shake vermouth, Scotch, bitters, and 1 tsp of the sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into 2 cocktail glass. Add sugar syrup to taste.