A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

21 Classic Mint Julep 1024x682 A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

’21’ Classic Mint Julep

F. Scott Fitzgerald helped to popularize the Mint Juelp  – a bourbon and mint cocktail –  in The Great Gatsby. Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan cool off with a Mint Julep at New York’s Plaza Hotel on a hot day.

In the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, we included the recipe for Jane Sterling’s Mint Julep (season 3, episode 3 “My Old Kentucky Home”). As we wrote:

“Roger Sterling’s hedonism and lack of self-awareness are in full flower at the Kentucky Derby–themed garden party he and his new young wife Jane throw at an elegant Long Island country club. Guests mingle under the party tent and sip mint juleps in silver cups, Southern-style. Made up in blackface, and backed by a jazz band clad in straw boaters and Roaring Twenties–style red-and-white striped jackets, he sings ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ to Jane, the overt racism clearly lost on him and over Jane’s head. Later, Don and Betty Draper have to help Jane to her seat; she’s clearly had a few too many mint juleps.

“This classic Southern cocktail evokes the gentility of the South and hot, humid summer days passed on the porch of an elegant plantation-style home. For Betty, mint juleps were also the perfect refreshment to serve to the adults who accompany their children to Sally’s sixth birthday party (season 1, episode 3; “Marriage of Figaro”).

“The origins of the mint julep aren’t known, though legend has it that a Kentuckian boating on the Mississippi River stopped along the banks one day to pick fresh mint, which he then added to his bourbon and water mixture. An integral part of Kentucky culture, the mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

“This contemporary julep courtesy of the ‘21’ Club in Manhattan that features a delicious mint-infused simple syrup.”

21’ Club Mint Julep

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

21 Classic Mint Julep A Mad Men Cocktail for The Great Gatsby Premiere

This refreshing, classic Mint Julep recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is courtesy of The ‘21’ Club in New York, New York and perfect for Gatsby gatherings.


  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Mint Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • *Mint Simple Syrup *
  • Bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • About 2 cups sugar
  • Boiling water


  1. To make the drink: In a Collins glass, muddle mint leaves in fresh lemon juice and Mint Simple Syrup.
  2. Fill glass with crushed ice and add bourbon. Stir. Garnish with a bruised mint leaf.
  3. To make the Mint Simple Syrup:Crush a goodly bunch of mint leaves in a quart container. Fill to halfway mark with sugar, then fill with boiling water. Stir well to dissolve sugar.
  4. Let mint steep while syrup cools. Strain. Let the syrup cool to room temperature and spoon it into a jar. Seal tight and store in refrigerator for up to three weeks.
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Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak Diavolo

Today, we’re recapping a few of the culinary highlights of recent episodes of Mad Men; there’s been a lot to chew on.

Dinner 300x225 Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak DiavoloIn Episode 3, “The Collaborators,” neighbors Arnold and Sylvia Rosen join Don (Meghan is sick) for dinner at a fictional upscale Italian restaurant, Endino’s, and order eggplant rollatini (breaded eggplant rolled with cheeses and baked), steak diavolo (“brother devil”) with a peppery tomato sauce, and branzino, a prized European sea bass.

heinz nfl 1967 225x300 Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak Diavolo
Later in Episode 3, Heinz’s Tim Jablonski comes calling at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, in search of an advertising boost for ketchup. Introduced in 1876, Heinz Ketchup is the nation’s best seller. Although Heinz started by making horseradish, and later pickles and vinegar, ketchup is the company’s best selling condiment. By 1968, sales of ketchup had picked up due to aggressive advertising, and that was the year Heinz introduced the first individual foil ketchup packets.   See Ad Age’s excellent backgrounder on Heinz ketchup advertising in the 1960s.

In Episode 4, “To Have and to Hold,” JoanLancers1 Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak Diavolo’s mom, Gail, has been working on a pork roast for dinner for Joan and her old friend Kate, and serves it up with Lancers Rosé, a sweet Portuguese wine that became a fad when rosé wines hit the United States in the 60s. Our friends at Grapefriend, who follow wine appearances in Mad Men, tell us Lancers was the only rosé option aside from Mateus in the 60s. In the same episode, Joan tells her sister and mother she’s made reservations at Le Cirque the famous Manhattan restaurant, but Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has admitted this was a mistake: this season is set in 1968, but Le Cirque didn’t open until 1974.

Mabells23 Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak DiavoloTwo iconic establishments, Ma Bells and Electric Circus, did exist in 1968 and also make appearances in “To Have and to Hold.” Joan and Kate head to Ma Bells, a concept restaurant whose name plays on the nickname of The Bell Telephone Company, commonly referred to in the 20th century as “Ma Bell.” Ma Bells was the creation of Restaurant Associates, which was also behind Forum of the Twelve Caesars featured in season 4, episode 7 (“The Suitcase”). Located on Shubert Alley between, between 44th and 45th Streets, there was a telephone on every table for table to table phone calls. According to Ma Bells ads from the period, the restaurant was the most “harmonious, telephoniest spot in town,” offering “food, phones, and a long distance bar.” Kate ordered their “Caruso sized hamburger” while Joan seemed to need a drink from the 80 foot bar.

After eating at Ma Bells, Joan and Kate visit Electric Circus on St. Mark’s Place (see St. Mark’s  Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak DiavoloPlace in Episode 1 ) between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, a psychedelic disco that had just opened in 1967. According to The New York Times, Electric Circus, “turned on its patrons with high decibel music and flashing lights.” It wasn’t long-lived: it closed in 1971. The Bowery Boys, who excel at providing historical context for each Mad Men episode, offer a history of the club.

Also in episode 4, Meghan greets Don by promising to stuff him with coq au vin, the classic French dish of braised chicken in red wine, just before breaking the news about her upcoming romantic soap opera scene. Meghan is comfortable with French cuisine  (last season she whipped up Boeuf Bourguignon and Dover Sole and this season, fondue). Julia Child popularized coq au vin in the United States in the 1960s; it was one of her signature dishes, which she prepared on her television show, “The French Chef,” in 1967.

In Episode 5, “The Flood,” Don, Meghan and the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, along with Peggy and her colleagues at Cutler, Gleason and Chaough, attend The Ad Club of New York’s 4th Annual Andy Awards, held at the midtown New York Hilton on Avenue of the Americas (it’s still there). The event was held on April 5, 1968, the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Paul Newman was the guest that night, as depicted in Mad Men.

Milkduds Mad Men Recap: The Coca Cola of Condiments, the Telephoniest Spot in Town and Steak DiavoloAnd, last but not least, episode 5 finds Don and Bobby sharing Milk Duds, the chocolate wrapped caramel candies, while watching Planet of the Apes. Although the Beatrice Company purchased Milk Duds from Holloway in 1960, the packaging still contained the name Holloway until the 1970s.