By Catharine L. Kaufman
Had your fill of veganism, smoke-free clubs and carbon footprint consciousness?
Transport your dinner guests to the heady, high stakes world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, the ad agency portrayed in AMC’s hit series, Mad Men. While awaiting the next installment of the series, aspiring “Mad Men” (and women) can re-create the era’s elegant and dissonant cocktail culture in the comfort their own homes.
Setting the scene
Planning to broach that promotion with your boss? Dress that dining table with a damask cloth, tapered candlesticks, fine china, sterling service and cut-crystal wine goblets. Fixing a spread for the local bridge biddies or the hubby’s poker club? Go the casual route with a ’60s-style buffet or TV dinners.
The Mad Menu
Utz chips and Appe-“teasers” Kick off your get-together with ad rep Pete Campbell’s appetizer of sour cream onion dip served in a kitschy ceramic chip-and-dip bowl like the one he and petulant partner Trudy received as a wedding gift. Utz Potato Chips, one of Sterling Cooper’s clients, pair nicely with the dip. First produced in 1921, the classic chips can still be purchased at utzsnacks.com.
Other era-appropriate hors d’oeuvres include pigs in a blanket, devilled ham canopies, sweet and sour meatballs, cocktail shrimp and Japanese rumaki, which chainsmoking homemaker Betty Draper served as part of her international “trip around the world” dinner menu.
Salmonella, cirrhosis and other modern myths In one episode, the agency bosses and their wives share a Caesar salad prepared tableside by their waiter. The classic Caesar recipe calls for a coddled egg (boiled in the shell, gently for a minute—de rigueur in the ’60s). To avoid foodborne illness and messy litigation, substitute a couple tablespoons of fancy mayonnaise.
Joan Holloway’s wild mushroom puff pastry Whip up these savory tarts with Joan, the full-figured, saucy queen of stenographers, in mind. A recipe can be found at allrecipes.com or epicurious.com. Frozen puff pastry dough can be purchased in the freezer section of finer supermarkets. Serve them solo or alongside a well-done hunk of beef.
Madison Avenue meat eaters
In honor of beefcake boss Don Draper and the clogged arteries of partner Roger Sterling, serve carnivorous dishes of the ’50s and ’60s such as flaming steak Diane, beef stroganoff, Swiss steak, Beef Wellington or stuffed pork chops.
Paying tribute to Pete Campbell’s meltdown, in which he chucked Trudy’s roast chicken out the balcony window, serve chicken Florentine, chicken Divan, coq au vin or Long I sland duck in Port wine.
Mad Men adulteress, Bobbie Barrett, and a slew of nubile ingénues thoroughly enjoyed Don’s philandering sweet treats. A s such, New York cherry cheesecake, cream puffs, lady fingers and other sexist-sounding confections should round off your Mad Menu.
Pick your poison
Wash it all down with Betty’s dinner party duo of French Burgundy wine and “a frosty glass of beer from Holland” (aka Heineken—another Sterling Cooper client). Or stir things up with these cocktail faves from the late ’50s and ’60s: Manhattan: Symbolically garnished with a mischievous maraschino Greyhound: Tangy, morphed screwdriver using grapefruit instead of orange juice
Old F ashioned: Still in style, blending citrus, bitters and rye whiskey
Martini: The quintessential cocktail of the era, equally enjoyed by guys and gals; the Dirty Martini is made with an extra dose of olive juice, while the Gibson Martini replaces olives with pearl onions
Gin Gimlet: Tangy with a splash of lime, Betty Draper’s cocktail of choice
“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”
“Up to the lips, over the gums, look out stomach, here she comes.”
“To my wife and the woman I love. May the two never meet.”
Sugar and spice, and plenty of vice
For extra authenticity, serve ’60s candy such as Mallow Cups, Jujubes or Boston Baked Beans. Engage your guests with offline board games such as Risk, The Game of Life, Parcheesi, Canasta, Yahtzee or Cribbage. Prefer a drinking game? Try to keep up with the cast as they booze their way through the workday, taking sips or chugs at every inappropriate sexual advance, off-color comment or instance of an ad man cheating on his Smoke gets in your eyes Though viewers were shocked to see Betty Draper puffing away in her third trimester, smoking was once a socially acceptable and omnipresent pastime. S mokes of choice included Lucky S trike, (a S terling Cooper client up until last season), Player’s, Pall Mall, Camel, Old Gold, Black Cat and Chesterfield’s. Cigar aficionados enjoyed sexy stogies such as Tiparillos, White Owl, Muriel and Cubans, until they were deemed illegal under the Kennedy administration’s trade embargo of 1962.
For more explicit party details, Maddicts also will want to check out the book, MAD MEN: The Illustrated World, by Dyna Moe.
‘Mad Men’ Party at The Pearl
A special “Mad Men”-themed viewing party will be held March 12, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Dress to impress in suits, skinny ties, party dresses and hats. Mad Men will be shown on the big screen by the pool, accompanied by a roster of rockin’ hits from the late ’50s and early ’60s. Enjoy retro foodstuffs and “refreshments” such as “Don Draper’s Scotch on the Rocks” and “Peggy’s Brandy Alexander.”
The Pearl Hotel, 1410 Rosecrans Street, Point Loma 619.226.6100, thepearlsd.com