On May 19, Prince Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony that will be watched the world over.
Bars and restaurants are incorporating British ingredients like Scotch and London Dry gin. Rituals like afternoon tea are being used as inspiration to create drinks that put guests in the spirit of the big event.
So, break out your finest teacups and saucers and prepare to celebrate the Royal wedding of 2018, taking place this Saturday, May 19.
The Ultimate High Tea, $25 (serves 2)
Recipe courtesy of the Dish & Dram, Kensington, MD
After touring the Swedish Royal Palace and learning about the country’s royal family on a recent trip to Sweden, co-owner Zena Polin toasted with a Tipsy Tea back at the hotel. “I was inspired to bring the idea back to the Dish & Dram’s Royal Wedding Watch [promotion] and serve our version of a ‘high’ tea,” she says.
- 5 oz. Beefeater Gin
- 3 oz. Elderflower liqueur
- 2 Tbsp. Great Falls Tea Garden Kensington Grey Tea (can substitute Earl Grey Tea)
- Hot water to fill a teapot
- Few dashes orange bitters
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
Place the tea and hot water in the teapot. Let steep for 2 minutes or until desired flavor is achieved and strain out tea. Add gin and elderflower liqueur and stir gently. Top with orange bitters, to taste. Serve in the teapot with two teacups or allow to cool slightly and pour into two cocktail glasses filled with ice (for a chilled version).
The Duchess’ Hourglass, $24
Recipe and image courtesy of the Milestone Hotel, London, UK
The hotel located right across from Kensington Palace created a modern twist on the classic Negroni—reportedly one of Markle’s favorite drinks—served over an ice ball in a cut crystal glass. “We name[d] it the Duchess’ Hourglass because as guests sip and enjoy their cocktail, the ice ball begins to melt,” senior bartender Angelo Lo Greco explains, “and the liquid, which rests on top of the ice ball trickles slowly through to the bottom, reminiscent of the sands trickling through an hourglass."
- 3 Fresh raspberries
- ⅔ oz. Gin
- ⅔ oz. Dubonnet
- ⅔ oz. Campari
- Housemade clove Campari spray, for garnish (see note)
- Dehydrated lime wheel to garnish
Add the gin, Dubonnet and Campari to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and stir to chill. Add the raspberries to the shaker, muddle them, and stir lightly. Double strain the drink into a shallow goblet or coupe over an ice ball, and garnish with a spritz of the clove Campari spray and the dehydrated lime wheel.
For the clove Campari spray:
Muddle 5 cloves in the bottom of a glass jar. Add ¼ cup Campari, seal tightly, and let macerate for a day or until desired flavor is achieved. Store the spray in an atomizer.
His & Hers Cocktails
Recipe and image courtesy of Loews Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL
The Loews Chicago Hotel has several promotions to mark the upcoming Royal Wedding, including an American Princess package with accommodations, a welcome amenity of scones and clotted cream, two fascinators, in-room dining breakfast, and a discount on spa treatments. Their His & Hers cocktails celebrate the bride and groom, respectively.
His (cocktail on the right)
- 1 ½ oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
- ½ oz. Carpano Antica Formula
- ½ oz. Triple sec
- ½ oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice from 1/2 lime
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish with a Luxardo cherry
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail mixing glass over ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass to serve. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Hers (cocktail on the left)
- 1.5 oz. New Amsterdam Orange Vodka
- ¼ oz. Nolet’s Gin
- ½ oz. Aperol
- ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
- ¼ oz. Fresh orange juice
- ¾ oz. Simple syrup
- Garnish with orange peel
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and strain to serve.
Recipe and image courtesy of lead bartender Benny Hernandez, Area 31, Miami, FL
Inspired by the couple’s engagement ring and modern royal love story, Hernandez’s whiskey cocktail, a refreshing and strong libation, is a liquid representation of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s whirlwind romance.
- ½ oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
- 2 oz. Fresh pineapple juice
- ¾ oz. Simple syrup
- 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. Crème violette
- 2 dashes Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
- Activated charcoal and small micro flowers to garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Double strain into a purple teacup and garnish with the activated charcoal and micro flowers.
When Harry Met Meghan
Recipe courtesy of head bartender Sarah Ruiz, Dirty Habit, Washington, D.C.; Image: Dirty Habit
Ruiz’s warm tipple uses a gin distilled in Washington, D.C., and Earl Grey tea, a favorite of the Brits. Feel free to serve it in a heatproof glass or a teacup.
- 1 oz. One Eight Distilling Untitled No. 3 Gin
- ½ oz. Pear brandy
- 3 dashes Bar Keep Apple Bitters
- Hot Earl Grey tea to top
- Dehydrated pear to garnish
Add hot water to a heatproof glass and let it heat for a few minutes. Pour out water and build the drink in the glass, topping with a few ounces of Earl Grey tea. Garnish with the dehydrated pear.
Recipe courtesy of cocktail expert Mirek Struniaski, Stratus Lounge, Philadelphia, PA; Image: Stratus Lounge
Struniaski’s drink at the rooftop bar of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is a nod to the English tradition of afternoon tea. Its base is London Dry Gin, hailing from where Harry and Meghan’s relationship began.
- 1 ½ oz. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
- ¾ oz. Earl Grey tea-infused honey (see note)
- ½ oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 4-5 Fresh blackberries
- 1 Lemon wheel
- 4-5 Mint leaves
- Club soda
- Lemon wheel to garnish
Add honey, lemon juice and berries to shaker tin and muddle. Add the gin, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a glass, add expressed mint leaves, top with ice cubes and club soda to fill, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
For the Earl Grey tea-infused honey:
Steep 1 heaping teaspoon of loose Earl Grey tea in ¼ cup hot water for a few minutes. Strain out the tea leaves and mix 1 cup honey with 2 tablespoons of the steeped tea (or more to taste). Stir to combine, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The Princess and the Tea
Recipe courtesy of Outlier, Seattle, WA; Image: Aubrie Pick
Suitable for a princess, indeed! This royal engagement-inspired cocktail features crème de violette, created from two distinct flower breeds, including the (aptly named) luminous ‘Queen Charlotte’ blossom. Chamomile syrup gives a nod to the British love for tea, and when served in a gorgeous teacup and saucer, induces a royal vibe to all who sip.
- 1 ¾ oz. Absolut Vodka
- ¼ oz. Crème de violette
- ¾ oz. Chamomile syrup (see note)
- ¾ oz. Lemon juice
- 2 dashes the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
- Loose chamomile tea, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a teacup and saucer, and garnish with some loose chamomile tea.
For the chamomile syrup:
Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat, add 4 chamomile tea bags, and steep for 20 minutes or until desired flavor is achieved. Strain out the solids and store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Strawberry Cuppa, $13
Recipe and image courtesy of Paul Taylor, head of bar concepts, Royal Wedding Pop-Up Bar, Washington, D.C.
Drink Company, the team behind successful pop-up bars themed around cherry blossoms, Game of Thrones, Halloween and Christmas, is back with one inspired by the Royal wedding. Guests can sip original cocktails amid British heraldic flags, white flowers, a throne room and life-size cutouts of members of the Royal Family. This drink combines several kinds of Scotch with white vermouth and a strawberry-infused vermouth, served in a teacup and garnished with a tea cookie.
- ¾ oz. Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
- ¾ oz. Bruichladdich the Classic Laddie
- 1 oz. Yzaguirre Blanco vermouth
- ½ oz. Strawberry vermouth (see Note)
- Shortbread cookie to garnish
Add all ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice, and stir until well chilled. Strain into a teacup and saucer, and garnish with a shortbread cookie
For the strawberry vermouth:
Combine 7 oz. Gonzalez Byass “La Copa” Roja Sweet Vermouth, 7 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth, 7 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth and 10 ½ oz. strawberries in a Cambro. Seal and allow to set out for 1 day. Strain out solids, and store the vermouth in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Marry Harry, $20
Recipe courtesy of Regis Ryan, event mixologist, The Four Seasons, Washington, D.C.; Image: Four Seasons Hotels Limited
Ryan’s twist on the Penicillin cocktail is a nod to both Prince Philip and Meghan Markle’s penchant for Scotch (the Prince is especially fond of Bowmore 15 Year). “Adding in the St-Germain and rhubarb shrub help create bright and floral notes, balancing the cocktail while integrating the flavors of the lemon elderflower cake rumored to be served at the Royal wedding,” he says.
- 1 oz. Bowmore 15 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- ¾ oz. Rhubarb shrub (see note)
- ¾ oz. St-Germain
- ¼ oz. Honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
- ¼ oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 1 spritz Angostura Bitters (from an atomizer)
- Bee pollen and elder flowers to garnish
Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Pour the contents in a rocks glass filled with crushed ice, top with a spritz of Angostura Bitters, and garnish with the bee pollen and the elder flowers.
For the rhubarb shrub:
Combine 3 cups rhubarb cut into ¼ inch pieces, ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or until rhubarb is broken down. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain out the solids and store in the refrigerator.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.