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Friday, March 23, 2012

Classic cocktails for your Mad Men premiere party

As Salt Lake City Mad Men fans plan the cocktail menus for their Sunday evening Mad Men premiere parties, they are probably feverishly searching the internet for authentic cocktail recipes from the sixties.  The first item of good news for these prospective viewers is that most of the cocktails being consumed on Mad Men did not originate in the sixties, they are well-known classics that have been around a lot longer than 50 years. 

Once you have the names of these cocktails, you should have no trouble finding recipes on the web or ingredients in your local Utah State Liquor Store and grocery.  Better yet, the recipes for a half dozen Mad Men favorites may be found on this blog, so no searching is required.  First, though, a word of advice: the quantity of alcohol consumed in a typical Mad Men drinking session is far more than what is required to get you legally (and even physically) intoxicated.  Enjoy a cocktail or two, but don’t try to emulate the Mad Men.  Always drink responsibly…

The Old Fashioned is Don Draper’s favorite, especially as made by his daughter Sally.  Don likes dark liquors, and prefers his Old Fashioneds made with Rye.  The good news for you is that you can make an Old Fashioned with just about any good liquor you have.    The Old Fashioned just needs liquor, bitters, sweet (usually sugar), and ice, and the liquor can be Rye, Bourbon, Brandy, or even Rum. 

The Manhattan is a true American original, and may be mixed with either Bourbon or Rye.  Lately, my favorite Manhattan is made with Bulleit® Rye and Cocchi Apertivo Americano®, the closest thing to Kina Lillet that is currently available (try it in a Vesper Martini).  Be careful though, these are so good they can be addicting.  Best when served with a custom cocktail cherry rather than a neon red one from the grocery store.

Speaking of Martinis, the Mad Men are known for the sixties classic “three Martini lunch,” and for that you need Martinis.  The Classic Martini must be made with Gin (not even Vodka drinkers will dispute that).  Ever since Dale DeGrof used Plymouth® Gin to make me a Martini at Portland Cocktail Week, I’ve been growing partial to that Plymouth Martinis, although Hendrick’s® and Bombay Sapphire® both make great Martinis.  On the other hand, Mad Man and Vodka lover Roger Sterling enjoys Gibsons.  To make a Gibson, garnish your Martini with four or five cocktail onions.

The Gimlet is a very simple drink: Gin + sweetened lime juice = Gimlet.  A Gimlet familiaris is made with Gin, originally this was probably bathtub gin due to the cocktail’s birth during the roaring twenties.  Vodka Gimlets are also a popular cocktail, so take your pick.  Finally, there’s something about the White Russian that just sounds cold; it reminds people of those snowy winter scenes in Doctor Zhivago.  White Russians seem to be more popular with the Mad Women, but they are a pretty good cocktail when you’re looking for something sweeter.

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