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January 3, 2013

'Downton Abbey' returns Sunday

Celebrate in style with these tips on throwing a suitably swell viewing party.

By Avery Yale Kamila
Staff Writer

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Lady Edith and Sir Anthony Strallan (Laura Carmichael and Robert Bathurst)

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WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday




Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere Party & Dinner

MPBN holds a special event featuring a cocktail hour, 3-course dinner and screening of the first episode of season three.

WHEN: 6 p.m., Sunday

WHERE: Frontier Cafe and Cinema, 14 Maine St., Brunswick

HOW MUCH: $50 or



WANT TO HOST your own "Downton Abbey" viewing party? Here are the menus of two Maine parties -- one held in December, another coming up on Sunday -- to give you an idea of what cuisine to serve.

CHRISTMAS AT DOWNTON, hosted by MPBN at the Portland Museum of Art on Dec. 11:

Artisanal cheeses with fresh and dried fruits, grapes, pomegranates, clementines and nuts

Housemade pates with cornichon, pickled vegetables, chutneys and mustards

Assorted breads and crackers

Cottage pies

Smoked chicken, Stilton and grape tartlets

Bangers en croute with english hot mustard

Cucumber cup canapes with smoked trout mousse

Cheddar ale bisque shooters with buttered mini brioche croutons

Crab canapes on rye toasts

Christmas punch


Sparkling wine

Sparkling water

Ginger ale

SEASON 3 PREMIERE PARTY, hosted this Sunday by the Frontier in Brunswick (

Cocktails: The Lady Crawley, Downton Fever and traditional mulled wassail

Red leaf, watercress, and English cucumber salad with a buttermilk dressing

Choice of roasted vegetable Napoleon with a creamy sage polenta or crispy duck breast with a blackberry sauce

Traditional English sherry trifle




2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce St. Germain elderflower Liqueur

Topped with prosecco and served in a martini glass


2 ounces bourbon

1 1/2 ounces barenjager

Lemon cloves

Topped with Earl Grey tea and served in a martini glass

- Source: Frontier, Brunswick


VIEW A "Downton Abbey"-inspired menu and recipes created by America's Test Kitchen, including shrimp cocktail, crown roast of pork, smashed minty peas, Parker House rolls and Tipsy Squire, at:

Morin, who works as the program director at The Frontier in Brunswick, also has experience planning a "Downton Abbey" party. The restaurant and cinema is hosting a nearly sold-out premiere party and dinner on Sunday that includes a three-course meal. Guests are encouraged to come in costume.

The Frontier staff (mostly in their 20s and all of whom are fans of the show) plan to wear dark jackets, white shirts and bow ties.

"We'll make sure the service is fantastic and everything comes out at the perfect time and that we're treating guests as if they were upstairs," Morin said.

The menu begins with a watercress and English cucumber salad, then moves to a choice of roasted vegetable Napoleon with creamy sage polenta or crispy duck breast with blackberry sauce, and finishes with a traditional English sherry trifle and a brandy.

"Our kitchen manager is a bit of an Anglophile," Morin said. "This gave him the opportunity to do something a little bit more fancy." 


In addition to new characters and new plot twists for old standbys, this season of "Downton Abbey" introduces another novelty: The cocktail.

"In the first episode, they talk about cocktails for the first time," said Morin. "Before, they were talking about wine and brandy. This is the first one where there's a little soiree going on and they have cocktails, but they don't talk about what they are."

This meant Frontier had a to do a bit of historical sleuthing to devise a cocktail menu that will be served prior to dinner.

"Cocktails in the late Edwardian era were simple," Morin said. "They were one part liquor, a bittering agent and some sort of sweetener. That's just what a cocktail was back then."

The show is known for interweaving historical events and period household details into the narrative.

"It is a soap opera, but the reason why guys like it and why older people like it is they do such a good job of identifying that period," Morin said. "It's not just a soap opera. It's like watching the History Channel. They talk about how they strain their wine, how they cook their food, and the footman talks about how he puts the jacket on the lord."

To bring some of that same historical charm to your own party, Morin suggests asking "one of your friends to take everyone's coats at the door and make sure everyone's drinks are full at all times."

As for entertainment, the cast of "Downton Abbey" will provide that for you.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


Watch Downton Abbey: Official Seasons 1 & 2 Recap on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

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Additional Photos

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Costumed guests enjoy a “Downton Abbey”-themed MPBN party in December.

Courtesy photo

Downton Abbey Joss Barratt Photographer
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The unfortunate Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle)


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