Author: Michael Darling
These days, classic cocktails don’t make many appearances in pop culture. For a while it seemed like the best we could find were Snoop Dog sippin’ on Gin ‘n’ Juice and the “Sex in the City” girls practically bathing in Cosmopolitans. So naturally, when I started watching the popular television show “Mad Men”, I was pleasantly surprised to see that though the characters drink a lot, they drink well. The staff of the Sterling-Cooper ad agency drinks a wide range of historically accurate drinks on the show, all of them well-made. So, let’s party like it’s the Kennedy administration and make some “Mad Men” cocktails.
Our first drink is the favorite of the show’s lead Don Draper: the Old Fashioned. The drink’s name is a call back to the early roots of the cocktail. In the olden days, a “cock tail,” as it was called then, was a morning drink and typically involved mixing some water with sugar, and then adding a lot of liquor and a few splashes of bitters. The Old Fashioned follows the old style, but freezes the water into ice and uses whiskey as its base spirit. Since Prohibition, it has become common to include a few muddled fruits in the mixture. Adding fruit to the drink makes it gradually sweeter. Additionally, if you want to make this drink as the true Don Draper would, I suggest using Canadian Club whiskey.
The Old Fashioned
1 Cherry (Optional)1 Orange Slice (Optional)1 Lemon Twist (Optional)1 Sugar Cube OR 1/2 Tsp Sugar3 dashes Angostura Bitters1 splash of Club Soda2 Oz. Whiskey
Place the sugar in the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Then add a few dashes of bitters and a short splash of soda water to dissolve the sugar. If you wish, add a maraschino cherry. Crush the sugar, water and optional cherry with a wood muddler, metal spoon or whatever else works. Then add one or two ice cubes and pour the whiskey and stir. Garnish with the orange slice and lemon twist.
Our next drink is much simpler and is preferred by Don’s wife Betty. The Gimlet, quite popular in the ’50s and ’60s, is one of several drinks whose recipe underwent changes during this time period. The 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book” and the 1953 mystery novel “The Long Goodbye” both make reference to a Gimlet that was equal parts (about 1-1/2 ounce each) gin and Rose’s Lime Juice. Mrs. Draper enjoys her Gimlets with vodka, so it is possible that by 1962 the following modern recipe was commonly accepted. Fresh lime juice is usually preferred for cocktails, but in this particular case the slightly syrupy Rose’s lime juice is recommended.
2 Oz. Gin (or Vodka)2-3 Oz. Rose’s Lime Juice.
Shake the ingredients well in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, then strain into a chilled Martini glass.Our final drink has not actually appeared on “Mad Men,” but the location it takes its name from has served as a setting for a pivotal moment in Don and Betty’s relationship.
In the episode “The Golden Violin,” the couple attends a party for comedian Jimmy Barrett at New York’s famous Stork Club on 53rd street. It makes sense for Jimmy to celebrate there, seeing as the club was known for its celebrity patrons. Notables there included Ernest Hemingway and John Kennedy when he was romancing Jackie Bouvier. Allegedly, one night at the club, Hemingway beat up the warden of Sing Sing Prison. This citrusy drink was the club’s house cocktail and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimmy had drank a few that night at his party.
The Stork Club
1 1/2 Oz. Gin1/2 Triple Sec or Cointreau1/4 Oz. Lime Juice1 Oz. Orange Juice1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake the ingredients well in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, then strain into a chilled Martini glass.
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