Caroline Bingley is a girl with a bad press. Rude, narcissistic, envious, superior; there isn’t a lot to love. She supplements her pantomime villainess credentials even further by playing bad cop to everyone’s favourite literary heroine, Lizzy Bennet. But just as every hard edge has a curve beneath, there must be more to her than snide remarks about people’s teeth and sharp tongued schadenfreude.
I imagine her in her chambers at Netherfield, sitting in front of her vanity considering the ball ahead and smarting. She is after all a Regency city girl, a cosmopolitan seeker after diverting company, a titan among accomplished ladies. She lacks neither funds nor abilities. The very worst fate for her is to be buried alive, hours from town, in the wilds of Hertfordshire, playing hostess to an array of country bores.
The only – and really the only light on the horizon is the continuing presence of Mr Darcy but he has seemed increasingly distracted of late and conceited though Caroline is, she is not blind. She has observed the sideways glances to that ghastly Bennet girl and she is far from pleased.
What a discerning woman at a time like this needs is a snifter. A sharp sour thrill to the throat to ease her descent down the grand staircase at Netherfield and into the dreadful throng that awaits. For that reason, the classic gimlet has Miss Bingley’s name on it.
Now for the preparation (which she would, of course,have taken no part in):
Directions: Crush ice. Roll limes, cut and juice them. Use at least 2 limes per person. Place crushed ice in shaker, pour over lime juice and add 1-1 gin to taste. Add bruised mint leaves. Fuddle slightly. Shake. Pour. Prepare for the ball.