The bittersweet moment when Mad Men fans must say goodbye to the memorable characters of Sterling Cooper, their paramours and adversaries has finally arrived.
A fan since day one, I will miss the series, but take comfort in the fact that, today, nothing is ever completely over – when we’re nostalgic for the “good ole days” of cocktails and Cadillacs, red-boothed steakhouses, tippling in the workplace, true midcentury modern design, or the dark pathos of Don Draper, we’ve got streaming. And AMC’s Mad Men is ripe for binge watching!
Not everyone is a fan, but for me Denise Neil summarized the show perfectly in her article: “The AMC series had so many attributes that spoke to me: Its painstaking re-creation of the fashions, decor, dimly lit steakhouses and fully stocked office bars of the 1960s. Its complicated characters. Its strong female leads, who from episode one weren’t satisfied with their secretarial/housewife roles. And most important, its drop-dead gorgeous, testosterone-riddled, tall, dark, handsome, mysterious and complicated main character, Don Draper, played so expertly by Jon Hamm that you loved him even though he was a total slime ball.”
Many of us will bid Mad Men goodbye with one last hurrah which, obviously, must start with a cocktail – no series, for as far back as I can remember, has glamorized imbibing and smoking as prominently as Mad Men, and not without criticism – which may be why the show’s creator Matthew Weiner chose to wrap up Betty’s character in the way they did in last week’s episode…
For your Mad Men party and you can drink what you like, but if you desire to recreate the era – that cocktail should be a martini, a whiskey on the rocks, or Don Draper’s drink of choice – the Old Fashioned (with Canadian Club if you want to be totally authentic to the show).
Or give this Whiskey Buck, which I created for the series premiere of the 2011 season, a try – the citrus and ginger add a little sparkle to an otherwise very stiff drink.
The fact that a morsel of food has never passed the lips of Don Draper (or Roger Sterling, for that matter), doesn’t mean that you should let your guests go hungry – requests for Uber may be necessitated, if that were the case. I can offer two popular appetizers from the UnOfficial Mad Men Cookbook that are true to the era. Both are elegant and surprisingly easy to make. Caviar & Blini comes together in a snap and caviar is the ultimate sophisticated topping – add a dollop of sour cream and wow your guests.
Finally, from the most recent Mad Men virtual party, hosted by the author’s of the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, is the famous Waldorf Salad. For our virtual party, I made the classic Waldorf Salad, first prepared in the 1890’s at The Waldorf Hotel, the predecessor to the Waldorf-Astoria, in NYC where “Connie” (Conrad) Hilton offered to have the famous salad sent up to the Presidential Suite where he and Don were discussing business in Season 3, Episode 6 – “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency“.
For more ideas and history on authentic ’60s cuisine from the glamorous Mad Men era – not the TV dinners we were having at our houses, check out the list of what the other bloggers brought to the virtual party. Cheers!