Due to the publication of Curtis Sittenfeld’s fabulous new novel Eligible (an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice), there has been a lot of recent publicity about the works of Jane Austen. How fortuitous that I’m closing out Cocktails & Corsets month on Cinema Sips, since there happens to be a fantastic movie that celebrates all things Austen, and features Keri Russell in corset-attire. This week’s film Austenland (DVD/Download) is an absolute must for any Austen aficionado.
Based on the novel by Shannon Hale, Austenland is about a Jane Austen superfan who travels to a fantasy resort in England in order to live the Regency-period lifestyle. This means empire waist gowns, croquet, reading in a grassy meadow, and the promise of a romance-filled ball. There are Darcy references galore, a rescue in the rain (on horseback), and catty remarks over high tea. Plus, everybody’s favorite scene stealer, actress Jennifer Coolidge. What time is check-in again?
Although my first instinct for a Jane Austen-inspired cocktail was the Pimm’s Cup, research tells me that this liqueur was not available until decades after the author’s tragically short lifespan. Therefore I’ll be serving a beverage that any Austen fan worth her salt would be drinking during her 5th reading of Sense & Sensibility– tea. While watching Austenland, I recommend drinking an Erstwhile Evening Tea.
Erstwhile Evening Tea
1.5 oz Gin
1.5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1.5 oz English Breakfast Tea, chilled
.75 oz Lemon Juice
3 dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled teacup, and garnish with a lemon twist.
As Jane, Keri Russell makes an interesting statement about the Regency period. She says it’s a lot like a corset- she likes the way it looks, but it makes it hard to relax. In a world where emotions are kept in check, and image and social standing matter far too much, I could see her point. Austenland might not be the best place to establish a permanent residence, but it sure looks like fun to visit. Cheers!