Downton Abbey Season 3 Wrap: Drink 'em while you got 'em (with cocktail recipes)

Matthew at dinner in Downton Abbey season three
Matthew enjoys a dinner zinger. Drink 'em while you got 'em, Matthew.

Amie Simon brings us a final post wherein we drown our sorrows the old-fashioned way, with a cocktail (or three). Bottoms up!

So much happened this season on Downton Abbey, and SO much of it was tragic, I thought I’d offer up some cocktail recipes to toast a few of the good times and help relieve the pain Julian Fellowes caused us with the bad times. Feel free to sip slowly, or down quickly and pour another right away—whatever helps you get through it!

One of the best things that happened in Season 3 was Mary and Matthew’s long-awaited wedding, but—whoops: during the planning, Lord Grantham finds out he’s put the estate in danger by losing ALL the money in some bad railroad investments, and even Cora’s disgustingly rich American mother can’t help. Luckily, Matthew stands to inherit enough money to save Downton from Lavinia’s father; he just refuses to accept it.

After a dramatic argument between Mary and Matthew and an equally dramatic make-up, the wedding happens. And there is much rejoicing. (Sort of.) Celebrate the marriage and the arrival of the fabulous Martha Levinson with a classic American cocktail, the Manhattan.

“I can’t give you money, but I know how to throw a party” Manhattan:

Pour 2 ounces rye whiskey and 1 ounce sweet vermouth into a shaker. Add ice and a few shakes of orange-flavored bitters. Shake, pour over ice, and serve with cold meats, cheeses, and bread—indoor picnic style.

After a few months of icy quips from Lady Mary, and uh, after she steals his mail and opens it for him, revealing that Lavinia was all good with him loving someone else, Matthew caves and agrees to bail Lord Grantham out so everything can stay as it should—mostly. Huzzah!

But it’s not long before Matthew starts butting heads with Robert over how to change things so Downton can survive long-term. Since Lord Grantham is so stubborn, it takes pretty much all season for him to agree that Matthew’s on to something. I feel like if these two had just gotten together and done tequila shots, it would have all been over much sooner.

“Let’s hash this estate business out over a few” shots:

Get 2 shot glasses and a bottle of Patrón. Pour 1 ounce each, start an argument, and down the shots. Repeat until most of the bottle is gone and you’re both exclaiming, “I LOVE YOU MAN!” and hugging each other.

And then the first medical complication pops up: Mrs. Hughes may have cancer. I’m thrilled they didn’t draw this out too long and revealed that it was nothing, after all. A few episodes of worrying is enough, thankyouverymuch.

It was touching to see Hughes and Patmore’s friendship develop during this arc, and an absolute joy to see Mr. Carson’s relief when he discovered the good news. A bottle of champagne is required to properly appreciate it—and it can double as a celebratory bottle for Mrs. Patmore escaping the greasy clutches of Mr. Tufton!

“We’re all so happy you’ll be all right” champagne:

Get your friends together, grab your favorite bubbly, pop the cork, and toast to Elsie’s health!

Lest we celebrate too long, though, let’s not forget poor Edith and her relationship misfortunes. After a complicated courtship between her and Sir Anthony Strallan, the two finally plan a wedding and make it all the way to the altar—where Anthony leaves her, sobbing and rejected.

Awww, geez. What is up with Edith and her terrible choice[s] in men? Between this, the married farmer she made out with, and her new editor beau (who’s basically a kinder Mr. Rochester), I just don’t think she’ll ever be able to be happy. This calls for something with a bit of a kick.

“Edith’s string of unhappy relationships” martini:

Pour 2 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of dry vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a lemon to represent Edith’s soured heart.

On a rainy night, a distraught Tom Branson arrives at Downton Abbey with some terrible news: not only did he help drive some Irish nobles out of their home, he set it on fire! But that’s not even the worst of it: he then fled immediately, leaving a pregnant Sybil to make her way home alone. NICE JOB, TOM.

After Cora pleads with Robert, his lordship agrees to help (for the sake of Sybil and his forthcoming grandson/daughter), but he only manages to keep Branson out of jail by getting him banned from Ireland. I can’t feel too sorry for Tom, but still, I’ll raise a glass of warm, comforting booze to his rebel spirit.

“Branson’s never going home again” Irish coffee:

Brew some dark roast coffee, and pour on top of 2 ounces of Irish whiskey. Stir in a teaspoon of brown sugar, then top with fresh whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. Sip while shaking your head at Branson’s youthful foolishness.

Oh yeah, and also: Bates FINALLY got released from prison! The long, drawn-out battle between him and evil prison duo Craig/Durant ends with a threat from Angry Bates that pays off, because Anna investigates something-something, zzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry.

Anyway! We can forget all about those boring prison scenes because happy Bates and Anna are happy, and they’ve never been cuter. Rejoice with them by pouring a tall glass of “racy” beer.

“No more yawning over Bates in prison” beer:

Buy the biggest bottle of beer you can find, crack it open and pour it into 2 chilled glasses—preferably shared with someone you can smooch.

The arrival of three new staff members started some heat in the Downton kitchen: O’Brien’s nephew Alfred caught Daisy’s eye, pretty new kitchen maid Ivy caught  Alfred’s eye, well-coiffed Jimmy (or JAMES, according to Carson) caught both Ivy’s and Thomas’s eyes, and well, we can only guess no one caught Jimmy’s.

Whoever ends up with whom in the end, it was an entertaining ride! A flurry of flirty young things throwing out cheeky compliments, jealous tantrums,  and the best lines ever from Mrs. Patmore. Who wouldn’t want to drink to that?

“You’re all in love with the wrong people” tuxedo #2:

Pour ½ ounce gin and ½ ounce dry vermouth into a shaker with ice. Add a dash of bitters, a dash of grenadine, and a dash of absinthe. Shake and strain into glasses, garnish with a curled lemon peel. Drinking these probably won’t sort out complicated love lives, but at least it’ll make it fun! 

There were a few horrifying moments this season, but none more devastating than the death of our poor Sybil, who perished from eclampsia-produced seizures shortly after her sweet little baby girl was born. To add to the trauma, Fellowes chose to have her (somewhat extended) death scene play out in front of the entire family.  YEOWCH.

Rather than drown our sorrows, let’s choose to remember headstrong, beautiful Sybil before she left us with cocktail that sparkles in celebration of her brightness.

“We’ve lost our sweetest spirit” cocktail:

Pour 1 ounce St. Germain into a champagne flute, top with Prosecco, and drop in a fresh strawberry (or a few raspberries). Sip while remembering Sybil’s smile.

Isobel Crawley made everyone’s business her own this season, and set her sights on rescuing the ruined women of the town—in particular, former Downton maid Ethel, who caused the family and staff to utter the word “prostitute” probably more times than it was warranted.

Nevertheless, rescue her, she did, by giving her a job as a cook in her own home (ill-advised, but kind). And bless the Dowager Countess! She stepped in to complete the job—and save her family’s reputation—by finding Ethel a position in a home near her little boy. Yay! I love a happy ending.

“We need something to wash down Ethel’s cooking” cocktail:

Pour 2-ounces of bourbon into a tall glass, fill with ice, and top with ginger ale and a slice of lemon. Down at least half the drink after eating something terrible.

Cora and Robert’s marriage suffered some major setbacks this season, as Robert exhibited less-than-stellar judgment about everything, repeatedly slammed Edith, and trusted the wrong doctor with Sybil’s life.

After a final blow-up at Crawley House, Violet stepped in again to save the day by coercing Dr. Clarkson to do some research and report back to Cora and Robert that there was nothing they could have done to save their poor daughter. It worked, and we can all relax knowing that the Granthams will stick together (at least until Cora finds out about Robert supporting his former mistress’ son). Let’s drink to their happiness!

“I forgive you … until I find out about Jane Moorsum” French 75:

Pour 1 ounce gin, ½ ounce fresh lemon juice, and ½ ounce simple syrup into an ice-field shaker, strain into a flute, and top with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist and toast each other … warily.

We knew it was coming, but can we ever forgive O’Brien for orchestrating Thomas’ heartbreak (and possible prison sentence)? And who knew any of us would ever actually like the guy, let alone feel sorry for him? Poor Thomas. His heart wanted to believe that Jimmy liked him back so badly that he fell for the wicked scheme O’Brien and her bangs cooked up.

I’m just glad Alfred let Lord Grantham talk him down at the last minute, and that Jimmy came around and decided to be nice after Thomas saved his pretty face. Now Mr. Barrow can spend the rest of his days pining after Jimmy and his perfect abs hair. Wait, what?

“I’ll settle for friendship if you can’t love me back” bone crusher:

Combine ½ ounce each of gin, vodka, Cointreau, and rum in a shaker with ice. Add ¼ ounce grenadine and a squeeze of lime juice. Shake and pour into a tall glass; top with champagne. Just before drinking, slice a cherry in half and drop it in to symbolize Thomas’ broken heart.

The tension between the Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley rose during Season 3, with zingers being flung back-and-forth faster than Matthew was driving that convertible (too soon?). And oh boy, there were some good ones.

But even though Isobel got some really nice lines in there, Violet reigns supreme! All hail the Dowager and her quick wit with an appropriately named drink.

“The Dowager always has the last word” cocktail:

 Combine ½ ounce each of gin, lime juice, green chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur into a shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass—garnish with some good one-liners.

The finale/UK holiday special packed up the Crawley family and had them travel to the Highlands of Scotland to visit Cousins Susan and “Shrimpy” in their Disney-esque castle.

While there, Robert learned to appreciate his own family (after hearing about Shrimpy’s unhappiness); it was decided young Rose MacClare will be joining the Downton gang soon, and after a slight scare with Lady Mary’s pregnancy, she delivered a healthy son with Dr. Clarkson and Isobel’s help. The only way to toast this is with some bagpipes and a Scottish cocktail.

“We survived the Highlands and Susan’s griping” kiltlifter:

Shake 1.5 ounces of single malt Scotch with 1 ounce of Drambuie and 2.5 ounces of lime juice gently, then pour over ice into glasses. Drink while appreciating the fact that you’re not married to either Lady Flintshire, or the daughter of Lady Flintshire.

And now we come to the end-of-the-season shocker Downton fans can’t stop talking about: Fellowes choosing to address Dan Stevens’ decision to leave in the most devastating way possible—by having poor Matthew meet his demise in a head-on car accident while rushing home to celebrate the arrival of his heir with the Crawleys.

This calls for something extra-strong, so I can only recommend a hefty pour of bourbon on the rocks, which you can nurse while mulling over your preferred method of coping: outrage (HOW COULD YOU!!?!?), or denial (maybe he’s just in a coma!).

“Let’s erase the memory of Matthew’s broken body” bourbon:

Pour 2-4 ounces of your favorite bourbon (I am partial to Bulleit). Add some whiskey stones for chilling. Drink while sobbing until you can’t sob anymore. 

Thanks for reading and commenting, Downton fans! Until next season …

5 minutes! Get your snacks and drinks! #downtonpbs

Pictured: a clover club with huckleberry syrup, mixed by KCTS 9's Lucia Gregory, your livetweet hostess. Find this recipe and many more on our Pinterest board, Carson's Cocktail Hour.

P.S. It was delicious. - Ed.

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10/20/13

Does anyone else think that Mary's baby is not Matthew's? They were having trouble conceiving and then wham, bam she's pregnant, she's delivered. Wouldn't it be a great twist if someone else were the father? This is totally within Mary's character who wants a male heir more than she wants a husband. Having married Matthew the estate is secure for her generation. But without a male heir it is not secure for the next generation. And we cannot count on Edith to ever marry. Mary's problem would be finding a man she can trust not to come around making claims in future. Gay Thomas might be such a man. Tom Branson, who is going to the US, also might be interested.

04/11/13

Do we know for sure that Matthew is dead? Is it official? I mean, he looks dead but all we really know is that 1) he crashed his car; 2) it's lying on top of him; 3) he's giving a blank, vacant stare; and, 4) blood is oozing from his ear.

02/26/13

Loved the witty blog on the Season Finale! Laughed all the way through while enjoying the names of the drinks and will consider making some.... thanks!

02/24/13

I hate it! Why why why?

02/22/13

Thank you fo the magnificent Downton Abbey series. Matthew was one of my favorite characters and I'm so sorry to see him go especially
the way he died. It was hard to fall asleep (Washington State Time)
feeling very upset after he saw his Mary and his new son. Wha happens
to Tom Branson, will he take charge with his father-in-law? I do hope
so. Thanks again for Downton Abbey. Waiting for season 4.

02/22/13

I wonder what we'll feel like after our Downton Abbey Party where we make one of each of these cocktails - reciting the blog like a litany, and then downing the "refreshment" that goes with it.

02/22/13

Hopefully it will leave us feeling warm and fuzzy, remembering only the good times! Either that, or it'll erase the memory of Season 3 and we'll have to start all over again from the beginning. :)

02/21/13

I still have a supply of huckleberry syrup.

02/22/13

Obviously we have to plan another cocktail party, since I was lame and missed the last one.

02/22/13

I'm not going along with the "lame" thing, but you did miss a delicious drink.

02/22/13

Thanks, Daphne! <3 And I'm sure we can all find many excuses to get together and sip cocktails.

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