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Independence Day! Celebrate AND Win a Trip to Highclere Castle

HCG Castle Pic

June 24, 2024 – The Founders would have been astonished as they sweltered in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in 1776 crafting the separation from England and the King, to learn that a British gin with a very aristocratic  pedigree would be a celebratory libation for Independence Day 248 years later (recipes below). Not only that, there’s a chance for someone to win a trip to a real English castle for a very special occasion.

Highclere Castle is the home of Highclere Castle Gin.  It is also known as the “Real Downton Abbey”.  The 3rd Downton Abbey Movie is in production there right now and to celebrate the upcoming release Highclere Castle Gin is offering the chance to win an EXCLUSIVE trip for two to a private cocktail party at Highclere Castle, known to millions of fans around the world as the “real Downton Abbey.”

The winner will receive a three-day, two-night trip for two to Highclere Castle this September, complete with airfare, accommodations, ground transportation, a behind-the-scenes tour of Highclere Castle and the estate, and tickets to an invitation-only, VIP cocktail party hosted by Lord and Lady Carnarvon, residents of Highclere Castle.

Highclere Castle gained global fame as the iconic filming location for the hit TV series “Downton Abbey.” The show’s portrayal of lavish parties and the upstairs-downstairs dynamics cemented the castle’s reputation as a hub of aristocratic elegance.

Launched in 2019, Highclere Castle Gin is crafted from botanicals sourced from the estate of the Castle, including citrus from the Victorian-era orangery and lavender planted in the 9th century by the Bishop of Winchester.

Highclere Castle Gin is now the most awarded premium gin in the world and is distilled in England’s oldest gin distillery. The 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon are co-founders of the brand, together with American spirits entrepreneur Adam von Gootkin.  

Residents of the United States, 21+ are invited to enter their email address for a chance to win the trip at the contest website. One entry per email address. No purchase is necessary to win. Entries will be accepted until July 30, 2024. A random entry will be selected on July 31, 2024. Complete rules are available on the contest website.

Here are five cocktail recipes developed by the Castle’s butler, along with his charming notes, all of which are delicious and very “doable” by a home bartender.  Highclere Castle Gin is available in stores or at  Suggested retail is $29.99.

Classic Gin Martini

Classic Martini

Presented from Highclere Castle’s archived recipes.

The butler’s notes are from the early 1920’s.

  • 1.75 oz Highclere Castle Gin
  • .25 oz Dry Vermouth

Method: Chill your martini glass ahead of the recipe.  Fill the mixing glass halfway with ice.  Add vermouth, stir for 10 seconds and strain using only the perfume of the vermouth on the ice.  Add Highclere Castle Gin and stir for 20 seconds and strain into your chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a verdant green olive or lemon twist.  Prepare your garnish beforehand and, ideally keep all ingredients chilled including the martini glass which creates a frosted finish and keeps the martini crisp.  For an added twist, you may wish to add a dash of orange bitters.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Gin Martini 3

Legend has it the original espresso martini was created by Dick Bradsell, a British bartender who revolutionized the cocktail scene in London in the 1980’s.  We’ve replaced vodka in this classic recipe with gin and have discovered a level of added complexity.

  • 1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Cold Espresso
  • 1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • .5 oz Simple Syrup

Method:  Brew the espresso and let it cool.  Mix Highclere, Kahlua, espresso, Bailey’s and simple syrup with ice in a shaker and shake for 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled martini glass quickly so you can get the foam.  Garnish with a piece of lavender and 2 coffee beans or a touch of cinnamon.  Enjoy!

English Tea

The prettiest of the cocktails and highlighting the botanicals of Highclere Castle Gin.

English Tea 3
  • 1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin infused with Jasmine Tea
  • .75 oz Luxardo Aperitivo Italiano
  • .5 oz Triple Sec
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • Lemon Twist

Method:  Infuse 1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin in a glass with ½ a teaspoon of loose-leaf jasmine tea.  Let it sit for 30 minutes and strain.  Combine infused Gin, Luxardo, Triple Sec and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds.  Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

Negroni Spritz

Negroni Spritz 1

While there have been many variations of this wonderful Italian classic, this negroni spritz takes it to new heights adding a touch of bubbles to the finish because bubbles make everything better.

  • 1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Dry Sparkling Wine
  • Orange peel/rosemary sprig

Method:  Add Highclere Castle Gin, Campari, St. Germain and bitters to a chilled mixing glass and stir for 20 seconds.  Strain the cocktail into a tall white wine glass or Champagne flute.  Top with dry sparkling wine.  Garnish with an orange slice or peel and a rosemary sprig.

Gin & Tonic “The Highclere Way”

Gin Tonic Highclere Way
  • 1.5 oz Highclere Castle Gin
  • Artisanal Tonic Water
  • Garnish with an orange slice and rosemary sprig

Method:  Fill the glass with ice followed by the gin, slowly pour in the tonic water and then give a gentle stir.  Cut some orange peel then twist it over the top of the glass which helps to release its natural oils.  Place the orange peel In the glass along with a sprig of rosemary.