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Friday, April 5, 2013

Classic cocktails for your final Mad Men premiere party

An Old Fashioned

As Mad Men fans plan their cocktail menus for their Sunday evening Mad Men premiere parties, they are probably experiencing a sense of nostalgia… as the final season of AMC’s hit series begins, the end is coming into view.  Cocktailians will have to find another excuse to enjoy classic cocktails from the sixties.  Fortunately, excuses to have cocktails are never difficult to find, and you can enjoy some cocktails weekly with Don and Roger during the coming season and then later on DVD.

The good news is that you don’t have to feverishly search the internet for authentic cocktail recipes from the sixties.  Most of the cocktails being consumed on Mad Men did not originate in the sixties; they were well-known classics even then and have been around a lot longer than 50 years.  The recipes for a half dozen Mad Men favorites may be found on this blog, so no searching is required.  Once you have found some cocktails you like, you should have no trouble finding ingredients at your local liquor store or grocery.  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 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.  One of my favorite scenes is when Don makes a Rye Old Fashioned for Conrad Hilton.  The good news for you is that you can make an Old Fashioned with just about whatever your favorite liquor is.  The Old Fashioned just needs liquor, bitters, sweet (usually sugar), and ice, and (although Don would never use anything but Rye) the liquor can also be Bourbon, Brandy, or even Rum. 

The Mad Men are known for the classic sixties “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 partial to Plymouth Martinis, although Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire both make great ones.  On the other hand, Mad Man and Vodka lover Roger Sterling enjoys Gibsons.  To make a Gibson, make a classic Martini, skip the olives, and garnish your Martini with four or five cocktail onions.

Joan Holloway, not as big of a drinker as some of the other Mad Men imbibers, has been seen sipping many a Tom Collins.  This ever-popular cocktail is easy to make and is also a great summer cooler.  My variation is blue, and may have been uncommon in the sixties, but it still tastes great.
Peggy Olson is younger than most of the Mad Men, so you should expect her to have a trendier cocktail.  When having a few with the boys, she has been seen with the ever popular, Rum and Coke.  This was the entry cocktail for many of us back in the sixties, a long-time favorite that is simplicity itself, but don’t forget the lime.

Gimlets are a very simple drink: Gin + sweetened lime juice = Gimlet.  The original Gimlet was made with Gin.  In the twenties, this was probably bathtub gin due to the cocktail’s birth during Prohibition.  In the sixties, a modern woman like Betty Draper Francis favors the Vodka Gimlets, so take your pick. 

The Manhattan is a true American original, and may be mixed with either Bourbon or Rye.  There are most likely several being served in any Mad Man bar scene.  Lately, my favorite Manhattan is made with Bulleit® Rye and Cocchi Apertivo Americano®, the closest thing to Kina Lillet that is currently available.  Be careful though, these are so good they can be addicting.  These beauties are best when served with a custom cocktail cherry rather than a neon red one from the grocery store.

Finally, for the Mad Women who aren’t into the stronger drinks, there are White Russians and Brandy Alexanders. These seem to be more popular with the Mad Women, but they are pretty good cocktails when you’re looking for something sweeter.

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