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Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

DiningatDownton
Here’s a fun party game: who in this picture is no longer with us? (photo ITV)

Downton Abbey fans love to share the show with their friends and family.  The fabulous food lends itself to themed parties.  In this post, I include a few specific ideas for planning a Downton party.  Whether you are serving 2 or 200 there are plenty of recipe ideas to make in your own Abbey.

In 200 posts over three years, I have posted over 250 recipes for foods which would have been served upstairs and down at Downton Abbey and other great English country houses from the Edwardian era through to the early 1920s. All for the love of Downton and those who love the show.  For a full list of dishes by meal or occasion, check out my Recipe Index.

Entertaining is Much Simpler in Season 5

We are now in the 1920s and if you are planning to host a Downton Dinner, you will be relieved to know that family dinners during this period are now only 3 courses…unless of course you are entertaining your fellow aristocrats.  And the cocktail party finally comes to Downton. Carson finally gets with the times!

Check my Press Clippings

Don’t just take my word for It:  I have given a number of interviews in the national press,and my recipes have been posted in papers around the world.  I even prepared Afternoon Tea for national TV. Check out my Press Page.

Why not buy the Book?

Want it all and more in a pretty package?  My ebook, Abbey Cooks Entertain, is available for download here (click on the image in the right column), or you can order from Amazon. I also include a cocktail section with authentic cocktails from the era. My 2nd Edition is now available with recipes from Season 1 – 5 with both imperial and metric measurements.

I hope to provide inspiration for fans of all cooking ability who want to take a Downton twist on casual or formal gatherings.  It is pretty rare to get rich selling books, but every penny helps offset my food costs so I can continue to share new recipes with you throughout the year.

 

Cocktails at downton

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Grab a fellow chef to make prepping more fun (photo ITV)

The cocktail hour finally comes to Downton late in Season 5, but why not get an early start? In addition to the recipes below, many savoury dishes which are served at Afternoon Tea (check out my Online Guide) are perfect for upscale entertaining.

Downton Beverages

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  • Non Alcoholic: fans of John Bates know that he has given up alcohol so you may make a conscious decision to serve non alcoholic drinks in his honor. Some Edwardian standards include:
    • Tea
    • Lemonade
    • Coffee
  • Alcoholic:  You may recall that Mary warned Sir Richard: “I could ask Carson to make one for you, but I can’t guarantee the result.”   But now that Lady Rose is spicing things up at the Abbey feel free to raise a toast to Season 5 and cheer on your favourite characters with a delicious cocktail inspired by the Post-Edwardian era, these ideas were provided by my friends at the.bar.com. 
    • Lady Mary The crisp bite of Tanqueray London Dry Gin makes Sassy Lady a great match for Mary’s occasionally acerbic personality. The lemon juice, sugar syrup and champagne make it a cocktail that’s simultaneously tart, complex, and refreshing, but most of all classy and sassy, just like Lady Mary.
    • Lady Edith Divine Unconvention is a mix of delicious bittersweet marmalade with pure, clear Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka and a lively dash of citrus. Serve in a marmalade jar much like Edith the rebel, fighting convention and pomposity.
    • Lord Grantham With its combination of subtle botanics and spitzy tonic, Front a Frontis, a classic mixed drink has Lord Grantham written all over it. Simple, yet elegant, this cocktail makes a great serve for gentlemen’s poker and cigar party.
    • The Dowager Countess– Nothing is as memorable as her quips and sharp irony pointed at all those who disregard etiquette. The epitome of tradition and guardian of all aristocratic values, the Countess is all about keeping the status quo at Downton, so let’s toast an Ettican’tin in her honour! With a tasty sour edge and subtle sweetness, this is an upscale cocktail for the discerning drinker.
    • Tom Branson – proud of his origins even when he becomes part of the aristocrat family, Tom Branson would enjoy the Good Craic, this Irish whiskey blended with ginger ale, that has a fruity though spicy aftertaste.

The busy life at Downton is even busier downstairs, where all the glamorous dinners and parties are prepared. But what drink would have suited an outing at the fair or a beach picnic for the lovely bunch downstairs?

  • The Servants– When it comes to their own entertainment, the servants enjoy easy-to-make and easy-to-share refreshments. Make Do and Blendis  a Smirnoff Punch with simple yet tasty ingredients that is best shared!

If you don’t trust Carson to mix drinks, consider wines, spirits and liqueurs for your guests.

  • Champagne or sparkling wines would be a great celebratory drink to toast each of the 16 categories.
  • Madeira: Edwardians loved madeira, for any fortified wine (sherry, brandy) would be fitting tribute to the Dowager countess.
  • Wine: a great choice.
  • Scotch: a favorite of the Crawley men, single malt for an upstairs crowd
  • Pimm’s: a popular drink in the UK (derived from gin), but might more suitable for the summer. If you do live in the lower states it might be suitable as thirst quencher. Check out my Pimm’s Punch recipe, my favorite.

“Signature” Downton Dishes

If you aren’t prepared to do a great deal of cooking but still want to bring a little bit of Downton to your own viewing party, why not try making one memorable item from the show to share with fellow fans.

Downton Servants Hall tribute

Pay tribute to the hard working servants with big dreams (photo ITV)

Many of our favorite characters live downstairs, so you may wish to invite family and friends over for a dinner of simple, hearty dishes which helped fuel our favorite downstairs team for their long 12+ hour days serving the needs of the Crawley family and the sprawling estate.  Convert your Abbey dining room into a servants hall.

Tailor your Own Upstairs Menu

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Bring out the good china for a great party (photo ITV)

With over 250 recipes on my blog, just search for your own combinations of dishes to suit the particular tastes of your own Lords and Ladies.  King Edward VII introduced fine French Cuisine to England, and aristocracy enjoyed wonderful food influences from around the British Empire, so enjoy the culinary journey.  Now that we are in Season 5,  the meals in the 1920s were now typically only 3 courses, unless of course they were hosting a large dinner party for guests.

How about:

Downton Desserts

*Biscuits shaped into a cake, brilliant

If dessert and coffee is more your cup of tea, you could serve traditional dessert and tea favorites. I have also included a few recipes fancied by the Royal Family.

Afternoon Tea

host a grand tea

Not all parties have to take place after dark. Why not host an Afternoon Tea? It is the easiest way to entertain and impress your friends.  If you can make crustless sandwiches you are off to a good start.  Home bakers will be able to master the sweets and my easy scone recipe.  Not so skilled in the kitchen? I am sure you are well known for finding the best bakeries in town.

My Online Guide to Afternoon Tea provides you with hosting tips, and some of my favorite recipes.  A full list of recipes is listed in the Recipe Index.

*Downton Reading Suggestions

I have reviewed a few Downton Abbey era books which you may enjoy:

In addition please do check out the great fiction written by Evangeline Holland, who blogs at Edwardian Promenade.  She has also just hosted a great Page on Facebook:  Books for Downton Abbey Fans

My Downton Entertaining Cookbook

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27 thoughts on “Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

  1. Can you recommend any Downton Abbey period books?

    1. I should have put some links right into the post and will attend to that now as a postscript. I have reviewed a few. My favorite Downton book is the one written by Jessica Fellowes, Julian Fellowes niece. It is a great coffee table book; she combines photos from the set with Edwardian history. http://wp.me/p27trL-N7

      1. any fiction recommendations?

    2. Books in and arounf that period:

      Anne of Green Gables
      A Room with a View
      Rebecca
      The Age of Innocence
      The Secret Garden
      Sherlock Holmes

  2. Welcome back, Pam. Entertaining these days is trying to keep the heat out of the house, so I try not to turn the oven on. Glad to hear your cookbook is coming along.

  3. Oh Pamela, I am so pleased that you are back!!! You were missed. The menus look fabulous and I WILL be sampling a few!!! AND new period reading? Yes, indeed!!!

  4. […] can serve this great savoury gluten free/vegetarian dish at tea, as a appie, or main dish at your Downton Abbey viewing or Emmy party. I might even try it as a burger, just make larger thicker patties. These delicate cakes may […]

  5. […] speaking of Downton, doesn’t this look like […]

  6. […] we can plan a little Downton Abbey Emmy Party. Did you hear DA earned 16 Emmy noms? Pamela at Downton Abbey Cooks offers some great suggestions for DA-inspired entertaining. Which recipe should I try? The Emmys […]

  7. Can you email your blog to: bbwalk@charter.net
    Name is:Bonnie Walker, Alabama, USA

  8. Our local PBS station Downton Abbey preview at a local theater a few weeks before the new season starts. It always takes place at 10 am. I would like to host a Downton Abbey breakfast beforehand and would LOVE some ideas for breakfast. Thanks!

  9. Thank you so very much for your passion and willingness to share it! Your wonderful menus and recipes will make my Sunday Downton Abbey viewing party a success.

    I am making barley soup and apple crumble. I have referred others to your site and I can’t wait to see what they bring!

    We are having a “downstairs” potluck this time. I am thinking for the season finale I’ll have an “upstairs” dinner party.

    Cheers!

  10. […] to party is to host one with a theme. Whether it be a winter wonderland-inspired gathering or a "Downton Abbey" fete, having a theme always gets friends excited.Have a fabulous spread It's been said that the way […]

  11. […] to party is to host one with a theme. Whether it be a winter wonderland-inspired gathering or a "Downton Abbey" fete, having a theme always gets friends excited.Have a fabulous spread It's been said that the way […]

  12. This is amazing! I wish I found it before my friend and I hosted our own Season 3 party. In the end I left the cooking to her and I dealt with decorations and a little photo memento for the guests. Here is a sample of what I made: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120323595/downton-dress-up-single-or-group-digital . Her food was a big hit, and my photo will help them remember our fabulous evening! (Although next time, we’ll try some of these recipes… they seem much more “official”). Thanks!

  13. […] 9. Hosting a Downton Abbey Dinner Party […]

  14. im having a downton abbey themed party and im trying to find a silver dome server (not real silver of course) im serving a roast chicken dinner well my servants are and im looking for a candle holder and decanter lol i cant wait ill post some photos on this site to show you how it went its not until 30 th nov so any isdeas will be gratefully accepted,…

    1. I have kept my eye out open for you in my own travels in thrift stores, but you never know what gems you will find there. You can always try eBay or even restaurant supply stores. If you are handy you can even make your own by drilling a hole in the bottom of a metal bowl and screwing in a silver drawer handle.
      Good luck and send pictures. I will post here.

  15. […] Many holiday traditions include food. Today we review my favorite traditional holiday recipes, and one of my own traditions. Also known as fenberries in the UK, cranberries not only find themselves on our Christmas tree, but in Cranberry Torte,  a crowd pleasure which is quick and simple to make. And once the holidays are done, you can use my online guide to start planning your Season 5 parties. […]

  16. […] weeks, many fans approached me for food pairing ideas to celebrate the launch of Season 5.  My Online Guide to Hosting a Downton Abbey Party has plenty of ideas. When pressed for a specific dish for this episode, I suggested a flambé […]

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