Tea, Scones & Gin Cocktails … Not Necessarily in that Order + More … It’s Weekend Meanderings

Today on Weekend Meanderings its a very royal roundup. Tea, scones, and gin cocktails … not necessarily in that order + more. Join me.

Happy weekend, friends!

It’s Saturday and I’m joining Elizabeth and Kim for Weekend Meanderings.

The temps cooled off considerably here in Northern California.

It’s starting to feel a bit like fall.

And possibly safe to replant my window boxes and porch pots.

I hope to get to the nursery this weekend.

Driveway bench decorated for fall

Last year’s fall decor / Monica Vargas Photography

We’re going to the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival today.

It continues on Sunday too.

Last week I shared my thoughts on Queen Elizabeth II.

As her funeral approaches, she’s still on my mind.

And on that note, let’s get to it.



The Queen was known to enjoy a gin cocktail … on the regular. So last night, cocktail night, in honor of the Queen, I decided to give it a try.

Debonnet Cocktails on tray in garden.

The Queen’s Dubonnet Cocktail

I read that the Queen favors Gordon’s Gin, but I used what we had on hand.

Of course I made a dreaded Reel and you can see it here.

Debbonet Cocktails.

You can find the recipe here.




Monday morning I’ll be getting up at o’dark thirty to watch the Queen’s funeral. I think it begins at 3am PT. A little early for cocktails, even under these extenuating circumstances. But it’s never too early for a good cuppa. According to former royal chef, Darren McGrady, the Queen enjoyed afternoon tea with a steaming cup of Twinings Earl Gray, a dash of milk, no sugar. And a slice of cake.

The article says that Twining’s received a Royal Warrant for tea in 1901 and has provided tea to the Royal Family since then. Although Twining’s website says that Queen Victoria granted their Royal Warrant in 1837 and they’ve had ‘the honor of supplying every British Monarch to date.’

Queen taking tea.

Getty Images

“According to Grant Harold, the Queen’s former butler, the milk was absolutely 

not poured into the teacup first. All the royals poured the tea before the milk.”


This caught my eye because a couple of weeks ago Jim informed me – totally out of the blue – that adding milk before or after the tea, is determined by the quality of the china its being served in. Read more about that here.

I love a good tea party and shared my Valentine’s Day tea a couple years ago. And I enjoy going out for tea. My most memorable tea experiences were at the Garden Court in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, the Empress Hotel in Victoria B.C., and the Lanesborough in London. Last year my sister and I enjoyed a Christmas tea at the Fairmont San Francisco and a couple of weeks later I went with other family members to the Victorian Christmas tea at the Hotel del Coronado. We have a wonderful little tea shop in Noe Valley called Lovejoy’s. I’m meeting a friend there in a couple of weeks. See … I love tea!

I have several books on the tradition of tea including this one from Britain’s National Trust. Yesterday I tore the house apart looking for my favorite book on tea and couldn’t find it. I can picture the cover, and even the tassel bookmark inside … but I CAN’T FIND THE BOOK! Argh. Tea with Jane Austen is another good one. Anything Jane, right? Fortnum & Mason’s Time for Tea is on its way to me. As is Royal Teas: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace. (Do you think I’ve gone overboard?) But Tea at the Palace may be my new favorite.

Stack of royal books in front of fireplace with tea cup on top.

Last year my sister gave me a Brown Betty teapot and she was appalled I didn’t know what it was. The one she gave me is from Adderley Ceramics, made in England. They call it the Cobalt Betty and I adore it. If, like me, you are clueless about the Brown Betty teapot, you can learn more about it here. Oh my gosh, while I was searching for Betty, I found this cute tea cozy. Do I need it?!


These are my three teapots.


Chef Darren’s 2017 book, Eating Royally, seems to be out-of-stock, but I was able to purchase it through one of the resale options.



What’s a good cup of tea without a scone? Or two. Or three. I. Love. Scones. Currant scones are a favorite and I’ve been making these Sunrise Scones since the recipe was published in Ladies Home Journal back in 1995. They’re more biscuit-like in consistency and that’s the way I like them. I also like to cut them with a round, scalloped biscuit cutter. But you can skip the biscuit cutter and make them in a triangle shape too.

I’m not one to turn my nose up at a scone mix and William Sonoma has good, reliable mixes. If you prefer a triangle shaped scone, they have both large and mini scone pans to make life easier.


For baking I love these 1/4 sheet pans … they’re great for brownies, but more on that another day. I also appreciate pre-cut parchment sheets … and it’s easy to cut them in half to fit 1/4 sheet pans. I burned a lot of cookies and scones before discovering parchment.

I used a heart shaped cutter for Valentine’s Day.

Place Setting for Valentine Tea

Monica Vargas Photography

In preparation for Monday, I bought jars of clotted cream and lemon curd. If you’re local, Diablo Foods had a nice selection.

One of the things I’ve noticed about tea in the states is that the scones are small and scarce. I’m always asking for more scones, please. I did not experience this stingy doling out of scones in Canada or London. And on Monday morning, while watching the Queen’s funeral, the scones will be generously sized and plentiful.

Here’s my favorite scone recipe …

Sunrise (Currant) Scones

Currant Scones
5 from 2 votes
Servings 12 Scones


  • 3/4 cup Half-and-Half Cream
  • 1/3 cup Currants
  • 1 Large egg, beaten
  • 2 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter, cold & cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp Half-and-Half Cream


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine 3/4 cup cream, currants and egg in a small bowl.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
  • Using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  • Stir in current mixture with a fork.
  • On a floured surface, knead dough lightly (4-5 turns) and form into smooth ball.
  • Pat dough to 3/4" thickness.
  • Using biscuit cutter, cut scones and place onto parchment lined baking sheet. (Or cut scones in any shape you like.)
  • Brush tops of scones with 1 tbsp cream.
  • Bake 18 minutes, until tops of scones are golden brown.


Reading endlessly about the Queen’s passing, I came across this republished article in Country Life magazine (originally published in 2013) on the gardens of Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate. Balmoral is, of course, the Queen’s Scottish estate where she spent her summers, part of July, August and September, with her family members joining her for periods of time during her stay. And where she received the former and new Prime Ministers just two days before her death.

Queen Greeting Prime Minister.

Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Birkhall is a home on the estate enjoyed by the Queen Mother during her lifetime and passed to Prince King Charles following her death. It will be interesting to see if he keeps up his mother’s annual summer stay in Balmoral and if he moves into the main castle and passes Birkhall onto the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince and Princess of Wales or another member of the family.

Have you been to Scotland? I haven’t, but it’s on my bucket list.  We’re talking about a trip next summer … Scotland, Ireland and a return to England. London is my favorite city in the world.

Birkhall Gardens.

Images via: Clive Nichols/Country Life Picture Library

Prince King Charles is a passionate gardener and has published several books on the gardens at Highgrove. I have two that I treasure and keep easily accessible in the great room. Our favorite Contessa toured the Highgrove gardens and has a little souvenir she wrote about here.



Prince King Charles has a new book coming, Royal Gardens at Highgrove, available for pre-order to arrive October 4th.



Ok, if anyone doesn’t know … I’m a major Rolling Stones fan. How can you not be? I’ve seen the Stones live too many times to count. And, Jim thinks too many times entirely. Yet when they announced their just completed European tour, he asked if we should go. Hard to believe I was the voice of reason and said no. I kind of regret it, but I’m  holding out hope they’ll make a final visit to the U.S. next year. Of course, I could be wrong now that Charlie Watts has died. His friend and long time Stones associate, Steve Jordan, has been admirably filling in.

The Rolling Stones have been a band for 60 years. Nearly as long as the Queen has been the Queen. If you’ve never seen them live, I hope you have the chance. The ultimate live music experience in my humble and non-biased opinion.

Rolling Stones Instagram Post on the passing of the Queen.

A recent 4-episode documentary, My Life as a Rolling Stone, is just out on Epix and it’s so good (I have no idea what Epix is, but found it easily on our Comcast set up). With one episode devoted to each band member you get to hear their unique perspectives about their 60 year journey as The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band. I kind of feel about the Stones the way I do about the Queen. They’ve always been there and I can’t imagine life without them. Anyway, the series is very well done and I think you’ll enjoy it, even if you’re not a fanatic like me.

The most interesting episode, in my view, is on Charlie Watts. A shy, elegant and dapper man, and reluctant rock star, Charlie is a unique and fascinating character. One of the more fun things we learn about him is he had tea set that went along with him on the road, labeled Charlie’s Traveling Tea Set. I can’t find a picture of it, but if you watch the series I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

The Rolling Stones taking tea in 1964.

The Rolling Stones Taking Tea 1964

Mick Jagger, Sir Mick, was knighted back in 2003, much to Keith Richards dismay. I understand the Queen was conveniently away and left Prince King Charles to do the honors. Back in the day Princess Margaret partied with the Stones and their entourage and it’s said the Queen frowned upon it.

Mick Jagger and family after being knighted.

Mick with his father & two eldest daughters after receiving his knighthood

And, finally, two books I picked up this week at our new Walnut Creek Barnes & Noble.

Elizabeth II: Queen for Our Time / The Queen: A Life in Pictures

I’m curious, will you be getting up to watch the Queen’s funeral on Monday?


And there you have it, my very royal roundup.

Let’s head over to see what Elizabeth and Kim are sharing.



In other news ~

If you missed last weekend’s meanderings, you can catch up here.

As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

Woman in garden holding Dubonnet Cocktail.

Cheers from Snowberry!


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  • I haven’t done one of those early risings for a British Royal event since Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981! I remember how much I admired and emulated her style back then. We were the same age and I was also newly married. Of course I got her haircut and wore all the preppy sweaters with a ruffled collar. I’m sorry her marriage wasn’t the fairytale we all thought it was in the beginning. (Thankfully, our marriage is still going strong!) I think I may rewatch The Queen movie this weekend about how the royals handled Princess Diana’s death. Definitely with a cup of tea. Enjoy your tea and scones on your early Monday.

    • Kelly … congrats on your long and happy marriage! Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday we were getting up for Charles and Diana’s wedding … and now their son’s are 40+. I loved those ruffled collars too … and her clothes in the early days. And of course I loved how her style evolved. Hope you have an amazing weekend! xo

  • 5 stars
    Juliet, it is a shame that we do not live closer, we could eat scones, drink tea and have a sleep over to watch the Queens’ funeral. I have been reading and watching things about her all week. I have always been a fan and now have a new stack of books, articles and Youtube videos to watch and read.
    I have been to Scotland several times and I LOVE it, it is my favorite place in the world. You will love it when you go. Definitely check out the Boarders, the Highlands, Edinburgh, etc. And ask Di from Yonks(blog and Instagram) for a few recommendations she knows so many great places.
    I want to go to the Isle of Skye next.
    I am making scones this morning! Love them with or without tea.
    That is an interesting fact about the Stones, a band for 60 years! Holy cow and still going strong.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet, off to check out your other links.
    xo Elizabeth

    • Elizabeth … we’ll be together in spirit on Monday morning. Thanks for the great tips on travels … I’m so excited to start planning. It’s never too soon, right?! xo

  • I am with Elizabeth, too bad we couldn’t all watch together. I’ve been glued to SkyTV live on YouTube and it’s fantastic, just like being there 24/7. Can’t recommend it enough for royal fans. What a good post. I have to get some dubonnet and try the drink of choice. You are a scone fan too? I had no idea., I have many books with scone recipes, and used to make them all the time. Max threatened to get my car license to say Sconehome.. My very favorite recipe comes from an older cookbook, The Rose Bakery in London. That recipe cannot be beat. I’m in favor if the triangles as I’m lazy.. I will try your recipe!
    I love your teapot collection too.
    When we were last in London we had tea and scones at a historic place by Kew that some sweet people in line for the gardens told me about. It’s called Maids of Honor who have been making scones since 1830 and supposedly Henry the VIII liked their recipe the best. I don’t know if it was walking Kew gardens all day, but they were the best we ever had. I also love Fortnum and last time we also went Max took me to the Sketch tea room, so fun. I love Lovejoy’s and the Palace in SF. We should meet up there.
    I have never seen the Stones. Hope they come here! Thank you for mentioning the closet cleanup. xoxo
    Have a fun weekend!

    • Oh my gosh, Kim … Sconehome! I love Max’ sense of humor. Yes, we should meet up for tea … and scones. Lots of them. I’m to look for that book right now. And I’m making note of these places in London. I may have to follow up with you. Maybe my tour of England will be all scones all the time. Heavenly. Also, I appreciate the SkyTV live recommendation … I’ll look for it now. Hope you have the best weekend! xo

  • Hi Juliet,
    I was just about to finish my note to you on your beautiful post and I had acknowledged so many things that you shared. My finger must have touched a key and I lost the entire message. Oh shucks!
    Sending you a lovely weekend.

    • Katherine … that happens to me so frequently … so frustrating. But I’m glad I’m not alone. Thanks so much for taking the time to write a note and I hope you have an amazing weekend! xo

  • Delightful post, Juliet. I come from a long line of tea drinkers. Hot or iced, every day, for as long as I can remember.

    And for the record, the milk (in my case half and half) goes in after the tea. I have a Brown Betty tea pot… in brown.

    Scones… your blog recipe certainly looks tasty. I admit I’m not a huge fan as most seem dry to me and lacking in flavor. Perhaps I need to travel to London for some better choices!

    • Karen, I totally agree. So many scones available in coffee shops, etc. are hard and dry. I like a softer, more biscuit-like scone. Even better warm out of the oven. I drink tea every day too … usually ice tea. But occasionally hot tea and always for royal occasions. Of course, you know what a Brown Betty is … and it sounds like yours gets a lot of use. Hope you’re weekend’s off to a grand start. xo

  • I have never made a scone as I found them too hard not to my liking. And now of course I haven’t been able to eat them for the last 20 years as I am gluten intolerant! I do love a good cuppa with a dash of milk. I have never had the clotted cream that too never appealed to me! I guess I’m missing out big time!
    So the old Barnes and nobles is back in Walnut Creek I think you did tell me that was coming how exciting I have that queen book I think Sandra gave that to me ! along with the platinum jubilee cookbook which I could share as I really don’t bake anymore and I can’t eat anything that’s baked bottom line. but that doesn’t stop me from eating!!
    As far as waking up at 3 AM unless I get up to go P and can’t get back to sleep no I’m gonna save it for later in the day! as I have a doctors appointment at 11 AM that cannot be missed.
    I took your words to heart and I watched the entire first segment of White Lotus!!
    Jennifer Coolidge and I shares few of the same kimonos! I think I mentioned my Jennafer Grace outfitted her in the kimono department and in the second series my Contessa Caftan is in a ballroom scene on a dear dear friend so I had to catch up! so happy you nudged me I enjoyed it there were a few scenes I could’ve done without but overall he captured America as it is now

    • Contessa! So glad you watched the White Lotus … it certainly has its moments when you’d prefer to look away. But over all, entertaining and Jennifer is a standout. And she’s wearing Jennifer Grace kimonos?! What?! Well, of course, it makes perfect sense. They’re fabulous. Second season coming soon. So many have comments on scones being hard and dry. They should never be that … the Starbucks of the world have ruined them for everyone. I like mine with a soft biscuit-like consistency. But still … the gluten. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far and enjoying this lovely warm, fall-ish day. Rain tomorrow?! xo

  • I watch from afar all your baking! I used to love baking too – much better than cooking. But that was when I could eat anything I wanted. Now with no one to bake for anymore and now that I’m avoiding gluten, no more baking for me!
    I have never been a Stones person – I’m a Beatles person. Not that you can’t be both…
    I am a tea person too – ICED TEA! Growing up in the South, we drink it like water…
    Have fun watching all the queen coverage. God Bless The Queen. What an example – let’s see how her son does…

    • Ha ha … Gray … I should stop baking altogether because I end up eating way too much. But it was the Queen so scones seem a requirement! I love the Beatles too … just not fanatical about them. We’ve been to see Paul McCartney a couple of times recently. So good. And I love the documentary Get Back. Yes, iced tea … and plenty of it. But I’ll be as a Southerner you drink sweet tea. Like my mom did. I, quel horreur, drink it unsweetened. I’m a little tired from being up all night with the Queen coverage. Beautifully done. I think Charles will do fine. If the media lets him. He’s been doing amazing charity work for decades and has been and was an early adopter of environmental concerns. When he was laughed at relentlessly for it. Who’s laughing now. The media wants to stir up so much trouble … making one person good and one person bad when then’s so much more nuance to the stories that plague him. Oh well, it will be what it will be but I do hope the best for him. xo

  • 5 stars
    Juliet, a Brown Betty Teapot? I have never heard of it either? I knew you loved hot chocolate, but I did not know that you also loved tea. Interesting fact about when the milk is added based on the china. Who knew? I mean besides Jim! haha
    I do love scones! I have been making them all summer when my kids come home. The perfect thing to have waiting in the kitchen when everyone wakes up. I love that scones can be prepped ahead!
    I always love your drink reels btw!

    • Annie … I can’t tell you how delighted I am to know the Brown Betty is new to you too. I thought I was the only one. Enjoying all the stories from your travels … so envious! xo

  • Hot chocolate, tea and scones. And that’s why we’re friends!!!! I have no clue what a “Brown Betty” teapot is, but I’m off to look it up!!! Have a blessed day!!!

    • Hi Robbin … so glad I’m not the only one clueless about the Brown Betty! Ha! Cheers to hot chocolate and scones!!! xo

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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