Making Cocktails the 1930s Way

In 1933 society millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld took Eltham Palace, formerly an important medieval royal palace, and transformed it into an Art Deco masterpiece. Their lavish home was often the setting for glamorous parties with equally glamorous guests, including explorers, film directors and politicians.

To celebrate the re-imagining of Eltham Palace this year, we recreated three cocktails that were popular in the 1930s with a video guide to help you make your own at home.

This video was filmed on location in the stunning Entrance Hall of Eltham Palace, the very same room in which Stephen Courtauld often mixed drinks for his guests in the evening. This unique location is also available to hire for parties, functions and weddings.

The Mah-Jongg Cocktail

Mah-Jongg was a much loved pet ring-tailed lemur who accompanied the Courtaulds for fifteen years on their travels and changes of residence. In Eltham Palace, 'Jongy' even had his own centrally heated living quarters, decorated with Madagascan bamboo forest scenes and with a trapdoor that lead to the ground-floor flower room and can still be seen today.

In honor of Mah-Jongg the lemur, we recreated the Mah-Jongg cocktail, consiting of triple sec, rum and dry gin. As all of the ingredients in this drink are spirit strength, this cocktail has a bit of a bite. As did the lemur!

Find out more about Mah-Jongg, the Eltham Palace Lemur

The Mah-Jongg Cocktail

The Mah-Jongg Cocktail

The Aviation Cocktail

The 1930s were celebrated as the 'Golden Age of Flight'. A time when technical advances and mass production allowed commerical air travel to really take off. The Courtaulds' would often take a holiday by air, including a ten week flying trip across Africa from Egypt to South Africa via Kenya and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1937.

It is no surprise then that somebody would name a cocktail after the pursuit, hence our recreation of the sky blue cocktail - the Aviation.

The Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation Cocktail

The Commodore Cocktail

The Courtaulds' were avid travellers and spent long periods abroad in exotic locations. They had their own motor yacht called the Virginia, and even a map room to plot out their travels across the globe.

In recognition of their nautical adventures, we re-created a Whiskey based cocktail named after the naval rank - the Commodore.

Discover how our conservators uncovered the Eltham Palace map room

The Commodore Cocktail

The Commodore Cocktail

Exploring Eltham Palace

Experience the decade of decadence as you are transported back to the 1930s (just in time for cocktail hour…). Eltham Palace is part showpiece of Art Deco design and 1930s cutting-edge technology, and part medieval royal palace. Bring your family and make yourself at home, try on clothes, play games and listen to music, as a guest of the Courtaulds.

Plan your visit

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