“What’ll It Be, Daddy?”: Serious Cocktails for a Serious Show


Mad Men is not only about the greatest advertising man in history, but its third season premiere has clearly been managed by the second-greatest ad man in history. If you haven’t created an avatar or personally met series-star Jon Hamm by now, then you have at least read a few stories about the only show that promotes serious drinking — other than True Blood .

If you’re wondering why so there are so many articles about cocktails and Mad Men, let me explain this phenomenon in a Venn diagram for you:

As you can see by the above illustration, 100 percent of the people who enjoy Mad Men also enjoy drinking. So if you plan to host a premiere-viewing party in your home, be sure to not burn the roast and to stock your liquor cabinet. AMC has made a number of very good suggestions including Don Draper’s favorite, the Old Fashioned:

To make: 2 dashes aromatic bitters; ½ tsp sugar dissolved with water and bitters; 1½ oz of bourbon; 1 cherry; 1 orange slice; 1 lemon wedge. Muddle orange and cherry with simple syrup. Fill rocks glass with ice. Pour in bourbon. Add cherry, orange slice and lemon wedge. Ruminate on your shadowy past.

Alternatively, for a sobering-but-strong cocktail I highly recommend the Moscow Mule:

To make: 1¼ oz vodka; 3 oz ginger beer; 1 tsp sugar syrup; ¼ oz lime juice; 1 sprig mint; 1 slice lime. In a copper mug or a glass, pour vodka over ice. Add sugar syrup and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.

(The above pictures come from Brooklyn’s Sidecar where they stock the inestimably good (and surprisingly cheap) Tito’s Vodka. They may not have made vodka in Texas during Draper’s lifetime, but the prices are at least somewhat closer to what he was paying.)

[Editor’s note: Who needs these recipes when you’ve got Sally Draper around to make you a Tom Collins?]

Of course, for all Mad Men’s felicity to the time period, the AMC recipe guide misses one excellent element of the era: the pitcher of cocktails. They’re a great way to serve hard liquor to a large number of guests, and much higher quality than those bug-juice punches you remember from college. If you’re wondering what to offer for your premiere party, I strongly recommend the Yankee Punch from 1948’s Fine Art of Mixing Drinks : 2 quarts of rye whiskey; 1 pint New England rum; 6 lemons, sliced; 1 pineapple, sliced; 4 quarts of water; sugar to taste; and ice. New England rum is as nonexistent these days as Texan vodka was back then, so substitute with Lamb’s Navy Rum or just a Jamaican dark rum.

The Yankee Punch is an ideal drink for watching TV: make one big bowl so you don’t have to rush for the shaker during commercial breaks. But if you do choose to drink by the pitcher then make sure to DVR that premiere: you might just not remember it the next morning.