Downton Sippers: Cocktail Recipes From Highclere Castle’s Head Butler

Cocktail recipe

Luis Coelho, the butler at Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle, who doubles as a bartender for the famous estate, recently shared some of his favourite cocktail recipes with us. Photo: Mpak ART studio/Ilarion Ananiev/Getty Images

Carson may not have been a fan of cocktail parties at Downton Abbey, but Luis Coelho, the real head butler at Highclere Castle, where the drama was shot, is actually quite the mixologist. In fact, he’s been known to test out his boozy concoctions on everyday patrons at a makeshift bar set up for the public just outside the castle — a venture that would likely have Carson’s tails in a twist.

“In the summer, we created a bar outside the castle from which we sell our Highclere Gin, and Luis loves coming up with cocktail recipes,” Lady Carnarvon, or as she’s officially known, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, told the Express. “He is very much a showman, more flamboyant than Carson.”

Lucky for us, the butler/bartender extraordinaire isn’t shy about divulging a few tricks of the trade. Here, Coelho shares two of his favourite cocktail recipes.

The Negroni

Negroni cocktail
Photo: Courtesy of Highclere Castle Gin

0.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin (or any good quality London Dry gin)
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
0.5 oz Campari
Fresh orange peel

Pour gin, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled.

“I prefer to use a very thin glass with an extra-large ice cube as opposed to numerous ice cubes. The cocktail looks delightful, and the pleasure is heightened”  —Luis Coelho, Head Butler, Highclere Castle

The White Lady


cocktail recipe
Photo: Courtesy of Highclere Castle Gin


1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin (or any good-quality London Dry gin)
0.5 oz triple sec
0.8 oz lemon Juice
1 egg white (optional but splendid)

Mix gin, triple sec and lemon juice with a half cup of ice and shake until cold. Strain into a martini or coupe glass.

“If you are adding the egg white (which we adore), place it in the shaker with the other ingredients but don’t add ice. Give it a shake for about 20 seconds to allow the egg to blend through. Strain the mixture, then add ice, and shake until cold.”  —Luis Coelho, Head Butler, Highclere Castle