?Olympics? No way. WorldPride? Psshaa. The gayest weekend in London this summer is nigh, as the town turns out it for the Queen?s Diamond Jubilee, a celebration of her majesty's sixty years on the throne?a feat replicated only by Queen Victoria in 1897. All over the UK during the four-day "Central Weekend" celebration (June 2-June 5), there are parties and Brit pride, with concerts, festivals, and even a regal flotilla sailing down the Thames (VisitLondon.com has all the deets). If you can?t make it across the pond to enjoy the many many festivities, you can still enjoy the celebrations stateside. Here's how.
Tune In, Turn On, Rock Out
Some of the biggest names in the music will serenade the Queen at a concert held outside Buckingham Palace on June 4, including Elton John, Grace Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Kylie Minogue. ABC will broadcast "Concert for The Queen: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration" as a special edition of 20/20 on June 5 at 9pm, but if you want to make your own dance party, download these jams:
Kylie Minogue ? The Best of Kylie
Cook up some Coronation ChickenTry your hand at Coronation Chicken, the dish created for Elizabeth?s coronation lunch in 1953. A toothsome rendition of curry chicken salad with apricot and mango chutney, it?s been a tea sandwich staple in Britain ever since. The good people at NYC's Anglophile hub, Tea & Sympathy have provided the recipe, so enjoy.
Mix up a Cherries Jubilee and Pimm's RoyalRaise a glass and toast Her Majesty (or just get toasted, Brit-style) with a specialty cocktail courtesy of Ben Heir of New York's ACME. Based on Cherries Jubilee, the dessert crafted specially for Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee, the Cherries Jubilee Cocktail features Bombay Sapphire, natch, infused with cherries and assorted deliciousness. The cocktail will only be on the menu for the month of June, so if you can't make it to NYC, test your inner mixologist might at home.
>ACME Cherries Jubilee
2oz Bombay Sapphire infused with Cherries and Tahitian Vanilla
1oz Lime Juice
1/4 simple syrup
Dash Creme de Peche
Dash Grapefruit Bitters
Shaken and served in an Absinthe rinsed Coupe Glass garnished with a Grapefruit Twist
And for good measure, shake up a Pimm?s Royal as well, which uses the gin-based Pimm?s No. 1, an English and garden party staple for nearly two centuries.
(Serve in champagne flute)
25ml of PIMM'S No 1
Top up glass with Cava or Champagne
Add a strawberry
Marvel during a Mirren Movie Night
Elizabeth II has reined over some of the most momentous and tragic events of the 20th century and all the while kept an air of poise and dignity. Perhaps one of the most tragic events in recent memory was the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Helen Mirren takes on the titular role of Elizabeth II in The Queen, the 2006 film about the death of Princess Diana, a performance so brill she earned a Best Actress Oscar for it.
Have High TeaThere?s nothing more quintessentially British than afternoon tea, so celebrate Her Majesty?s 60 years on the throne with a nice cuppa.
>NYC ? Lady Mendl?s Tea Salon at The Inn at Irving Place encapsulates the elegance of Buckingham Palace with Victorian furnishings, an extensive catalogue of fine teas, and a luxurious five courses complete with splendid cakes, sandwiches, and pastries.
>Boston ? L'Espalier playfully gives the classic afternoon Tea a twist by incorporating exotic ingredients like Matcha and moro oranges into the standard sandwich and pastry fare.
>Philadelphia ? For a true-to-tradition tea experience, scones and all look no further than The Swann Lounge at Philly's posh and proper Four Seasons.
>Chicago ? The Tea Lobby at The Drake hotel?s Palm Court, which once hosted the Queen herself back in 1958, offers the royal treatment with sumptuous pastries, live harpist performances, and indulgent Tea-Tinis.
>Los Angeles ? The Living Room at The Peninsula Beverly Hills offers cuppas accompanied by a classical harpist and, from Tuesday through Saturday, the hotel?s resident pianist.
>Miami ? The Villa by Barton G. (a.k.a. the former Versace Mansion) offers the only proper tea on South Beach with "Not so Simple Sandwiches" and other tea-time staples on exclusive Rosenthal Les Reves Byzantins china.
Eat some British Grub at a PubFrom flakey battered cod and hearty savory sandwiches, pub grub is a satisfying way to experience Britain from afar. Enjoy your warm lamb and rosemary meat pie or tasty Sunday Roast with pint of ale and celebrate the Diamond Jubilee taste buds first at these more-authentic-than-not English-style stateside pubs.
>Los Angeles: Waterloo and City
Win a Trip to London with Virgin AtlanticThe British are coming and they?ve taken over NYC's Union Square. In honor of the Diamond Jubilee, Branson and the Virgin Atlantic
crew have brought with them some comforts of home, including a Foot-Guard, like the ones out side the Queen?s pad. Visit Union "Jack" Square Saturday, June 2 between 11 and 4 and if you can make the stoic man in the beaver hat laugh out loud you could win a pair of 20 round trip flights from New York to London. (Hint: so, there's this sailor, a hooker, and rabbi....)
See Some Drag The Diamond Jubilee has C-A-M-P written all over it. And if the number of Royal Wedding-themed shows we saw last April were any indication, ol' Elizabeth is going get her due. Head to some of our favorite local drag haunts and toast our own version of royalty. Or if you're a homebody, just cue up a marathon of Drag Race on Netflix.
>New York City ? Almost nightly, queens hold court at Therapy in Hell's Kitchen and Barracuda in Chelsea, so bow down, boys.
>Boston ? Jostle with the bachelorettes during Jacque's Cabaret classic all "girl" review.
>Los Angeles ? Just because Will married Kate doesn?t mean you?ve missed your shot at becoming royalty. Mondays at Micky's is Showgirls Amateur Night, your own chance to be Queen.
>Chicago ? Enter Roscoe?s amateur drag competition Tuesday nights for the Windy City crown.
Have a StaycationOn Monday and Tuesday, June 4 and 5, the UK is having two Bank Holidays. And so should you. Claim British ancestry, forge a note from David Cameron, and go out and day drink some Pimm's in proper respect. The Queen wouldn't have it any other way.
Take a Vacation! Feeling impulsive? Air miles burning a hole in your pocket? Scads of London hotels still have Jubilee packages available this weekend. Visit London has all the details, and then some, plus info on the hundreds of activities blanketing the land. But even if you don't make it this weekend, it's an incredible city to visit any time of the year, from Biking in East London to shopping and supping in Seven Dials. We'd like to think of the Diamond Jubilee like a wedding: you've got a year to pay your respects.