Has there been a show within recent memory that has stirred up as much critical acclaim and criticism at the same time as Mad Men has?
With the arrival of season five on March 25, Mad Men’s success, backlash and influence is bound to continue. But why?
Sexism, racism, smoking and alcoholism, are all themes that are prominent on the series, but they can also be found on a number of television shows in some form. However, we’re going to focus on the drinking that our favorite employees at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partake in, since excessive alcohol use was often glorified during the 1960s.
The show’s focus on drinking has been heavily explored and attacked, it even spawned an interesting 2010 ABC News article, which stated that series creator Matthew Weiner “didn’t hold back in depicting a world of liquor-stocked offices, boozy lunches and alcohol-soaked dinners,” which we’ve seen since the first episode. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the characters drink themselves silly during both good times and bad times, and even when they were sealing a business deal. Even the show’s network, AMC, has a cocktail guide for Mad Men.
Out of all of the show’s nostalgia, the drinking has us most intrigued. During the 1960s “bad behavior resulting from heavy drinking could be considered ‘macho’ and even romantic, rather than as a compulsive use of alcohol despite adverse consequences,” however in the 21st Century workplace, “there would be very little tolerance for this – less tolerance than ever before.”
While we’re not advocating the excessive drinking of previous generations, Mad Men has made us realize that there was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to enjoy alcohol in all aspects of life. Instead of being frowned upon, having a drink to close a business deal or unwinding after a long day at the office, was just a way of life.
Today we realize that alcoholism is a disease, but is having it in moderation such a bad thing? Sure. We need to be responsible and make sure that people are safe at work, and also in the outside world, would it really be disastrous to openly embrace a drink when the time is right? Instead of being too PC and worrisome, maybe we could go back to a time when vices weren’t hidden behind closed doors. Combining that freedom with the knowledge that we currently possess, could make for a more relaxed, enjoyable and responsible way of life.
With that in mind, fix yourself one of the drinks below and watch Mad Men every Sunday night at 9:00 PM on AMC. AMOG recommends having at least 2 of each.
LEt’s start things out with some bourbon.
Ever seen a man make an Old Fashioned with the same intensity as when Don poured one up for Conrad Hilton? Release your inner Don Draper (remember, it’s Canadian Club in the office, and Old Fashioneds on the weekend) and sip on the timeless Old Fashioned.
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 tablespoon club soda
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 thin strip of lemon peel
In a rocks glass, combine the sugar cube, bitters and club soda (preferably sprayed from a stainless steel soda canister). Muddle to a paste. Stir in the bourbon. Add ice and garnish with a two-inch strip of lemon peel. Of course, there are numerous variations of the Old Fashioned that have orange slices, lemon slices, cherries, pineapples and other fruit muddled at the bottom
In honor of Betty Draper, here’s a variation of a Tom Collins from Sullivan’s Steakhouse
- 2 ounces Hendricks Gin
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 4 thin cucumber slices muddled
- 1 ounce club soda
In mixing glass, muddle cucumber with simple syrup. Add gin and juice then fill glass with ice and shake in shaker tin. Strain and pour over ice into glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice. Serve in a tall glass.
Americans have been enjoying Martinis since the 60s…the 1860s that is.
- 2 ½ ounces gin
- ½ ounce dry vermouth
- 2 green olives
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin and vermouth. Shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the olives.
Or, you can try Roger’s Martini of choice The Belvedere Vodka Gibson.
Heiress Rachel Menken enjoyed a Mai Tai when she dined with Don at the El Morocco on 54th Street during the first season.
- 1 lime
- 1 ounce Jamaican rum
- 1 ounce Martinique rum
- 2 ounces orange juice (optional)
- ½ ounce orange curaçao
- ¼ ounce orgeat syrup
- ¼ ounce rock candy syrup (simple syrup)
- Sprig of mint, for garnish
- Fruit stick, for garnish (pineapple, mango, grapes, apple, etc.)
Squeeze lime over shaved ice in a cocktail shaker. Save ½ of the lime shell for garnish. Add all liquids and hand-shake. Pour over shaved ice and decorate with mint, fruit stick, and lime peel.
Finally, you can act sophisticated like Peggy with a Brandy Alexander.
- 1 1/2 oz brandy
- 1 oz dark creme de cacao
- 1 oz half-and-half
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the brandy, creme de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the nutmeg.
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