18 December 2021

Weekend Cooking: The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady Thornwood

Book cover of The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady ThornwoodAre you a fan of the show or books Bridgerton? Do want something to tide you over until season 2 of the television show starts (sometime in 2022)? Do you want to prepare for a Bridgerton viewing party (even if the members of your household are the only guests)? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I have the book for you.

London ton incognito gossip Lady Thornwood takes us into the ballrooms, gentleman's clubs, parlors, and--dare we say--bedrooms of Regency society to introduce us to the era's libations and the dawn of the cocktail as we know it. Mixed drinks broadcast the host or hostess's status: only those with money and connections could obtain the variety of needed spirits, which were often distilled and brewed in faraway lands. In The Regency Book of Drinks: Quaffs, Quips, Tipples, & Tales from Grosvenor Square, Lady Thornwood tells all.

Photo of a cocktail from The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady ThornwoodThe book, which I received from Abrams as part of the Abrams Dinner Party review program, is much more than a fan spin-off of the popular novels and Netflix show. Lady Thornwood (Amy Finley) provides a short history of the different types of alcoholic drinks that were available during the Regency and offers up very doable and delicious cocktails to make at home. The general categories of drinks include cocktails with Champagne, punch bowls, daytime refreshments, seductive drinks, and even non-alcoholic mixes for the youngsters and those who otherwise choose to avoid getting tipsy. The dear lady even shares recipes for several syrups to perk up your drinks (like cinnamon syrup and ginger syrup).

The names of the cocktails are great fun--Advantageous Match (with Madeira), Reprehensible Rogue (a rye drink), and Debutante's Ruin (a punch), for example. Each drink is introduced by Lady Thornwood in a very Bridgerton style, making The Regency Book of Drinks as much fun to read as it is to use. I've included a scan of one of the gentleman's drinks, complete with Lady Thornwood's edits (you may have to click the image to enlarge it). The other scan is from the Champagne chapter and also gives you a feel for the style of the book.

Page from The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady Thornwood

A page from The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady Thornwood

Photo of a cocktail from The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady ThornwoodI made several of the cocktails, and Mr. BFR and I both really liked them. I made the Worthy Suitor, which calls for bubbly; the Lady's Maid, which combines sherry and gin (I garnished mine with a cucumber slice); The Lucky Mallet, which called for curacao (I had blue on hand, though orange was likely called for); and the Good Sir, made with rum and renamed by Lady Thornwood "Alleged Business." I'm looking forward to exploring more cocktails from The Regency Book of Drinks as well as the "innocent" drinks, like the Gently Bred Lady (citrus juice and tonic) and the Unimpeachable Virtue (flavorful syrups and seltzer).

Recommendation: The Regency Book of Drinks by Lady Thornwood would appeal to fans of the Bridgerton series or other Regency novels. Those interested in learning more about the era's drinks and the dawn of the cocktail would also like this book. It'd be great fun to serve one of the punches or the virgin cocktails at a book club meeting. Even if you don't drink or just don't make cocktails, I highly recommend checking The Regency Book of Drinks out from the library--it's so much fun to read.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Jackie McGuinness 12/18/21, 11:33 AM  

Oh I need this book for my now finished bar!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 12/18/21, 3:45 PM  

I love Brigerton and welcome your recommendation.

Tina 12/19/21, 8:21 AM  

I’ve not read or seen Brigerton but this cocktail menu looks appealing. Fun names too.

Care 12/20/21, 9:32 AM  

That green drink with the lemons looks very interesting!

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