I'll confess I don't find Lady Mary to be particularly likable. Fellowes tries hard to give us reasons to sympathize with her, but to me, she just seems - mean. To be fair, Mary is a woman in a particularly difficult situation - forced to marry to maintain her lifestyle, haunted by a secret that threatens to ruin her. The crisp bite of Lilet Blanc, the French apertif wine, was, I felt, a good match for Mary's occasionally acerbic personality. Add basil, lemon, and champagne for a cocktail that's simultaneously tart, complex, and refreshing.
1.5 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4-5 basil leaves
brut champagne, chilled
Add the basil and lemon juice to your shaker and muddle. Add Lillet and ice and then shake and strain into a flute. Top with champagne.
Nancy Mitchell is ready for season 3. You can find more of her recipes on her blog, The Backyard Bartender.