Mad Men Premiere Recipe: Dipping into Season 6 with Classic Cheese Fondue

 Mad Men Premiere Recipe: Dipping into Season 6 with Classic Cheese Fondue

Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe (image and recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970)

We’ve been expecting to see some fondue on Mad Men —  it is the late1960’s after all — and are happy to know that we’ll be doing some dunking to kick off the season.

Meghan Calvet Draper takes on fondue in tonight’s Season 7 premiere. Her recipe secret: rubbing the pot with a clove of garlic and doubling the amount of Kirschwasser.

“Out of a fervent desire to utilize hardened cheese, the Swiss concocted a mouth-watering cheese-wine mixture,” wrote the editors of Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970). Dunking small pieces of bread, vegetables and meat into hot cheese wine sauce quickly became one of the hottest food fads of the late 1960s

“Now is the time of the fondue,” wrote Jean Hewitt her 1969 New York Times article, “For Dips or Dinners, Fondue Is Popular.”

“Supper or dinner may well turn out to be a communal dunking-pot affair,” added Hewitt. “These days, brides-to-be are counting up the number of duplicate fondue pots and forks they receive as they used to tick off silver compotes.”

Enthusiasm for fondue cooking generated a slew of cookbooks, including The Gold Medal Fondue Cookbook, also published in 1970. According to author Marie Roberson Hamm, fondue in the “Age of Aquarius” was “a culinary game for young partiers, one that can level all company to a state of euphoria. Who can resist the fun of dunking their merry way through a fondue meal? It pleases men as much if not perhaps little bit more than women.”

Will it please both the men and women of Mad Men tonight?

For our recipe, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970), we heeded Meghan’s suggestion of rubbing the pot with garlic.  If you’d like to use Kirschwasser, a cherry brandy commonly used in Swiss fondue recipes, substitute 1 tablespoon of sauterne with  tablespoon with Kirschwasser.

(For a  premiere cocktail recipe, see our Blue Hawaii).

We look forward to sharing  food and drink highlights of the new season of Mad Men along with culinary history and recipes!

Classic Cheese Fondue

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings (as appetizer)

 Mad Men Premiere Recipe: Dipping into Season 6 with Classic Cheese Fondue

Classic Cheese Fondue recipe, as seen on Mad Men Season 6 premiere, dapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (Meredith, 1970),


  • 12 ounces natural Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 cup white wine, such as sauterne (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • Dippers: French or Italian bread, hard rolls, boiled potatoes, cooked chicken shrimp or ham, cherry tomatoes, cooked artichokes, carrot slices, cooked mushroom, celery or green pepper pieces. (see note)


  1. Combine cheese with cornstarch in a bowl. Rub inside of heated saucepan with garlic and discard garlic. Pour in sauterne and lemon juice. Warm till air bubbles rise and cover surface. Do not cover or allow to boil. Stir vigorously and constantly from now on.
  2. Add half of the cheese, keeping heat to medium, but not boiling the mixture. When melted add the remaining half of the cheese. After cheese is blended and bubbling, add nutmeg and pepper, stirring continuously.
  3. Quickly transfer to fondue pot; keep warm over fondue burner. If fondue becomes too thick, add a little warmed sauterne. Spear bread cube with fondue fork piercing crust last. Dip bread into fondue and swirl to coat. It’s important to swirl keep fondue in motion. Also keep the cheese bubbly over the fondue burner. It shouldn’t be too hot or it will become stringy, nor should it be too cool or it will become tough.


Sauterne is a dry to semi-sweet white wine. If you’d like to use Kirschwasser, a cherry brandy commonly used in Swiss fondue recipes, substitute 1 tablespoon of sauterne with 1 tablespoon with Kirschwasser.

All dippers should be bite-sized and each bread cube should have a crust. To estimate how many dippers are needed, consider appetites and accompanying dishes. Generally 1 large loaf of bread serves 6-8. Any cooked meats and vegetables dippers are served warm.

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It’s National Irish Coffee Day: Warm Up with The Pierre Hotel’s Irish Coffee

It’s chilly here in Northeast, and throughout much of the country, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate National Irish Coffee Day.

 Its National Irish Coffee Day: Warm Up with The Pierre Hotels Irish Coffee

The Pierre Hotel’s Irish Coffee (photo by Nina Gallant for THE UNOFFICIAL MAD MEN COOKBOOK)

Our favorite version of this mid-century creation is from the Pierre Hotel, and we’re happy to share it.

From The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (SmartPop, 2011)

Pierre Hotel’s Irish Coffee
Season 1, Episode 6, “Babylon”

It doesn’t take long for Don Draper and Rachel Menken, the daughter and heir apparent of a Jewish department store owner, to become romantically involved. But the romance ends abruptly when Don asks her to run away with him and she refuses. Eager to see her again, Don calls asking to meet, saying it’s strictly business and that he wouldn’t have called unless it was urgent. Rachel reluctantly agrees to meet Don for “just lunch” and tells him to meet her the next day at the Tea Room in the Pierre Hotel.

The famed Pierre on East 61st Street, now part of the Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, is the setting for several memorable scenes in Mad Men. It’s where Peggy and Duck Phillips have a tryst (Season 3, Episode 7, “Seven Twenty-Three”), and when the principals of Sterling Cooper maneuver to start their new agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, they temporarily set up shop in Room 435 of the Pierre (Season 3, Episode 13, “Shut the Door, Have a Seat”).

Don tries to charm Rachel when they meet in the Tea Room, but she reminds him sternly that he said he had urgent business to discuss. To underscore her determination to keep the meeting strictly business, she orders only coffee. “Irish coffee?” asks Don, hoping to take the chill out of their encounter. “Coffee,” she replies.

That the Tea Room at the Pierre served Irish coffee may have been one of the fruits of an advertising push that started in 1956 to market Irish whiskey in the United States. As the New York Times reported on October 2, 1956, a reception at the Irish Products Center on East 50th Street featured representatives from five of Ireland’s biggest distillers and an Irish singer and television personality, Carmel Quinn, who “explained that Irish coffee consists of hot coffee, with sugar and Irish whiskey, topped by whipped cream.”

Simple to describe; not as easy to make. According to Andrew Smith, editor of The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (Oxford University Press, 2007), Irish coffee was purportedly invented in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, the chef at the airport in Limerick, Ireland, to soothe exhausted New York–bound passengers whose flight had to return to Limerick because of bad weather. A passenger on the flight brought the recipe back to San Francisco, where he and Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel, tried to re-create it. At first, the whipped cream kept sinking to the bottom, but then Koeppler eventually met Sheridan and learned the secret: “The coffee must be lightly sweetened, the cream must be both fresh and softly whipped, and the cream must be poured into the hot coffee over the back of a spoon.”

The Pierre of the early 1960s, as you would expect, looked quite different than the Pierre of today, especially since undergoing a $100 million renovation in 2009. The Tea Room is gone, but the hotel’s elegant Two E Bar/Lounge still serves what it calls a “Classic Irish Coffee,” and graciously shared the recipe with us. If Rachel and Don were to meet at the Pierre today, we’d definitely recommend she indulge in the Irish coffee. You don’t need to be Irish to love Irish coffee!

Pierre Hotel’s Irish Coffee

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

 Its National Irish Coffee Day: Warm Up with The Pierre Hotels Irish Coffee

Delicious Irish Coffee from THE UNOFFICIAL MAD MEN COOKBOOK by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin courtesy of The Pierre Hotel, New York, New York, as referenced in Season 1 of Mad Men, when Don Draper and Rachel Menken meet at the Pierre Hotel.


  • 2 ounces Irish Whiskey (see note)
  • 3 ½ teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 4 ounces hot coffee
  • Whipped cream, for topping


  1. Stir whiskey, brown sugar and coffee together in a mug. Add whipped cream on top.


Note: The Pierre Hotel uses Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey, but says the drink also works well with John Jameson Irish Whiskey. Any variety of whiskey made in Ireland would suffice, hence the name “Irish Coffee.”

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Ratner’s Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

ratners Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveawayIn late November we were contacted by a reader, Michael Eisenberg, who was particularly interested in our May 21 blog post about Ratner’s, a Jewish kosher dairy restaurant featured in Season 5 of Mad Men (“Christmas Waltz,” Episode 4). Eisenberg’s wife Melanie is the great-granddaughter of Jacob Harmatz who opened Ratner’s with partner Alex Ratner in 1905. (A coin flip determined the restaurant’s name.) With Eisenberg’s help we interviewed Melanie and her father, Robert, Jacob Harmatz’s grandson and the third generation owner of Ratner’s, about the iconic New York eatery on the Lower East Side. Among other things we were surprised to learn that the Harmatz family had no idea Ratner’s had a cameo in Mad Men until they read our blog.

We’re happy to share our interview, with images of Ratner’s courtesy of the Harmatz family, and Ratner’s signature Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy recipe. We’re also giving away two copies of The World Famous Ratner’s Meatless Cookbook courtesy of Ratner’s.

Menu Inside 300x200 Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

A Ratner’s menu from the Mad Men era.

Can you tell us a little bit of the history of Ratner’s? 

Ratner’s started in 1905 on Pitt Street in the Lower East Side and later moved to 138 Delancey Street in 1918, where it remained until closing in 2002.  Until the 1970s, blue laws prohibited stores from opening on Sundays. However, certain streets on the Lower East Side were exempt from the law so that the Jewish Community, which observed the Sabbath on Saturdays, could shop on the weekend.  As a result, the Lower East Side became the place for Sunday bargain shopping followed by a meal at Ratner’s. It was a tradition. Lines stretched down the block on Delancey Street and on a typical Sunday we would serve up to 1,200 people.

How did Ratner’s become a Vegetarian Kosher Dairy restaurant? Were there others in the area in the 1960s?
Obeying Jewish Kosher laws, meat and dairy cannot be served together. In the early 1900s, Ratner’s was strictly dairy and became the restaurant for kosher patrons looking for a dairy meal. There were many strictly dairy restaurants at the time, but by the 1960s tastes began to change and Ratner’s began serving fish as well.

Can you describe the atmosphere at Ratner’s in the 1960s? Who worked there?

In the 1960s, many of the customers had moved to the suburbs and would come back to their roots on Sundays to shop on the Lower East Side and eat at Ratner’s. The waiters and cooks were mostly Jewish immigrants of Eastern European descent and had worked there full time for many years. Many were holocaust survivors. They had a sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude. They acted like they were the boss and their shtick became a well-known part of the experience. One particular waiter kept boxes of shoes in his basement locker and would try to sell them to the customers while waiting the tables.

What were some of the best-selling menu items of the era? What were some of your favorite dishes?

The best selling and popular dishes at the time were the potato soup, vegetarian chop liver, vegetarian cutlet, blintzes, perogen, cheese cakes and danishes. Also, customers enjoyed the free onion rolls waiting for them at the table.

Did recipes change over the years, or did the restaurant always use the original recipes?

Most of the recipes were the original recipes. They stood the test of time and it was this nostalgia that kept many of the customers coming back.

Who were some of the famous clientele at Ratner’s in the Mad Men era?

Governor Nelson Rockefeller 300x271 Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, center, and Senator Jacob Javits, third from right at Ratner’s in the 1960s.

In the 1920s, Ratner’s was known as being the hang out for some of the old gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. By the 1960s, it was a place to be recognized in the community. The Sunday before every election the politicians would stop by for a good luck blintz and a way to reach the Jewish vote. Many of the customers in the 1960s included politicians such as Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Senator Jacob Javits, Senator Kenneth Keating, and Senator Robert Kennedy. Governor Rockefeller thought the blintzes were good luck and would serve them at his election-eve dinners. Stars would stop in as well.  Jackie Mason’s brother, who kept kosher, was a regular customer and would bring Jackie. Other stars included Groucho Marx, Phil Silvers, Elia Kazan, and Walter Matthau.  Ratner’s was used in several movies including a scene in The French Connection.

We’ve included the Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy Recipe seen in this blog post because the Mad Men scene in a re-created Ratner’s shows a sign on the wall promoting them. What can you tell us about this recipe?

The Veggie Cutlet was an old time favorite. When eating a strictly dairy meal, it was the best substitute for eating a meat dish.

Harold Harmatz and Mayor John Lindsay 200x300 Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

Ratner’s owner Harold Harmatz with New York Mayor John Lindsay.

Do you still produce foods for sale?

The frozen food business, including the blintzes, soups, and potato cakes, started in 1978.  Initially, the products were sold to a couple of small stores in the suburbs. Eventually, the business grew more popular. A custom blintz making machine was purchased from California to handle the volume and Ratner’s frozen foods began being sold in supermarkets. When the restaurant closed in 2002, the rights were sold to King Kold who may have sold them to someone else. You can still find Ratner’s frozen foods in supermarkets.

Why did the restaurant close?

Ratner’s closed in 2002. Food tastes changed and especially the Lower East Side changed. The original Eastern European Jews have all moved out of the Lower East Side.  The neighborhood is a younger trendy crowd who don’t have the same taste for veggie cutlets.

Were you surprised to hear that Ratner’s was featured in Mad Men?

We found out that Ratner’s was featured in a scene in Mad Men from your blog. We are big fans of the show but didn’t catch the cameo while watching the episode the first time.  It was very exciting to see the show pay tribute to the restaurant. Mad Men does a wonderful job in keeping the authenticity and capturing the period. We would love to know how the idea to include Ratner’s evolved and how they came up with the set.

Ratner’s is legendary. What do you miss about the restaurant?

Looking back, the best part and what will be missed the most, was the people. The memories of the different colorful characters and the personalities of both the staff and customers is what can be enjoyed now.  During the 1960s, the restaurant felt like a big part of New York culture.

RatnersCookbook 150x150 Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveawayThe Harmatz family has contributed two copies of the original The World-Famous Ratner’s Meatless Cookbook by Judith Gethers and Elizabeth Lefft (Bantam Books, 1991) to give away to our readers! Enter to win!


Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets With Gravy

Harry Crane and the erstwhile Paul Kinsey, now a Hare Krishna, meet for two meals at

KinseyCrane Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

Paul Kinsey and Harry Crane have a vegetarian meal at Ratner’s in Mad Men’s Season 5

Ratner’s on the Lower East Side, in Mad Men‘s Season 5, Episode 10 (“Christmas Waltz”). It’s a logical choice for the now-vegetarian Paul because Ratner’s specialized in kosher dairy: there wasn’t a wasn’t a corned beef, brisket or pastrami sandwich to be had. One of Ratner’s specialties was its kosher baked vegetable cutlet with mushroom gravy and we see two signs on the walls suggesting it to customers.

Ratner’s recipe for baked vegetable cutlets comes from The World Famous Ratner’s Meatless Cookbook by Judith Gethers, the owner’s daughter, and her niece, Elizabeth Lefft (Bantam Books, 1975). The baked vegetable cutlet was a patty made of potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, green beans and peas combined with matzo meal and egg and topped with vegetarian mushroom gravy sauce. The cutlets called for canned vegetables, although we prefer them with fresh.

Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy

Yield: 6 servings (cutlets); 4 cups (gravy)

Ratners Vegetable Cutlets 1024x702 Ratners Kosher Restaurant: The Harmatz Family Shares Memories of the Mad Men era, a recipe and giveaway

The recipe for Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy from Ratner's Deli as seen on Season 5 of Mad Men (Christmas Waltz). Recipe adapted from The World-Famous Ratner’s Meatless Cookbook by Judith Gethers and Elizabeth Lefft (Bantam Books, 1975)


  • For the Cutlets
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2/3 pound)
  • 6 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced carrots, drained (see note)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cut green beans, drained
 (see note)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can of peas, drained
 (see note)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups matzoh meal (approximately)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable Cutlet Gravy (see recipe)
  • For the Gravy
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (1-pound) can of tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups Mushroom Water (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom powder
 (You can grind dried mushrooms ,such as Porcini, for the mushroom powder)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  • For the Mushroom Water
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 quart water


  1. To make cutlets: Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender. Mash.
  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat butter and sauté onions and mushrooms until tender.
  4. Pour mushroom mixture into a bowl with mashed potatoes. Stir in carrots, green beans, peas and 2 eggs. Blend thoroughly. Add enough matzoh meal so that mixture can be shaped into large patties. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Shape into 12 patties. Beat the remaining eggs well. Brush patties on both sides, coating thoroughly. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly golden browned. Serve hot.
  7. To make the gravy: In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onion, carrot, celery, green pepper and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes, mushroom water and mushroom powder. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons butter and flour and enough water to make a paste. Stir into saucepan and cook until sauce bubbles and thickens. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Serve hot spooned over Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets.
  10. To make the Mushroom Water: In a large saucepan, combine mushrooms and water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.
  11. Strain broth and chill until ready to use. (Remaining chopped mushrooms may be chilled until ready to use in any dish).


The original recipe calls for 16-ounce cans each of diced carrots, cut green beans and peas, but we prefer substituting an equal quantity of fresh vegetables, lightly steamed.

The authors suggest serving vegetable cutlets with noodles and butter and a sliced orange salad.

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Martinez Recipe: A Vintage Cocktail for the Holidays

We’re happy to share a recipe for the Martinez  —  a predecessor of the Martini —  that we mentioned in our blog post about the cocktails that spirits writer Kara Newman recently mixed at Mohonk Mountain House. If your guests prefer a sweeter drink than a Martini, try this version of the classic cocktail Kara mixed to brighten your holidays.

Martinez (circa 1884)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Martinez1 Martinez Recipe: A Vintage Cocktail for the Holidays

A recipe for a classic Martinez (circa 1884) -- a predecessor of the Martini -- makes a perfect cocktail for holiday gatherings.


  • 1 ½ ounces Old Tom gin
  • 1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Orange peel twist, for garnish


  1. Stir together all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.
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Mad Men Holiday Cocktail: Jade

Jade e1355339196243 224x300 Mad Men Holiday Cocktail: Jade

The Jade Cocktail

The vibrant, green and minty “Jade ” is a perfect vintage Christmas cocktail. Our recipe, from Playboy’s Host & Bar Book by Thomas Mario (1971) is paired with the famous election night scene from the first season of Mad Men, when the Sterling Cooper water cooler is emptied and filled with crème de menthe.

Here is the recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, along with our introduction. Happy Holidays!

Season 1, Episode 12 ( “Nixon vs. Kennedy”)

After the last of the partners has left the office on election eve in 1960, the staff of Sterling Cooper breaks out the booze as they watch the returns of the presidential race on television. It’s a pro-Nixon crowd, and the mood is celebratory.

NBC’s computer projections show the odds of a Kennedy victory at twenty two
to one. Liquor appears from all corners of the office—vodka, whiskey, red
wine—but the supply quickly dwindles so Ken Cosgrove, Harry Crane, and the
others must try to figure out where to get more with the liquor stores closed.

“I have a bottle of absinthe in my office,” says Paul Kinsey, referring to
the high-proof spirit that some believe, mistakenly, has dangerous psychoactive

Joan Holloway offers to open the supply closet, but warns it’s not going to
be “the sack of Rome.”

“What do we have too much of?” asks Cosgrove.

“Rum, crème de menthe, and dog biscuits,” replies Joan.

Soon the water cooler is filled with the deep green crème de menthe, a
sweet, mint-flavored alcoholic beverage. We wanted to offer a crème de menthe cocktail that would make the staff of Sterling Cooper swoon. The Jadetdelivered on its promise of a cocktail that was minty “but not overpowering.”

We’re not sure what else, if anything, the Sterling Cooper staff put in that
water cooler, but the sweet concoction surely went a long way toward taking the
bitterness out of Nixon’s defeat.

Mad Men Holiday Cocktail: Jade

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Jade e1355339196243 Mad Men Holiday Cocktail: Jade

The Jade, a green, minty cocktail from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, is perfect for the Christmas season


  • 1 3/4 ounces golden rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon green crème de menthe
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange curaçao
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 slice lime


  1. Add rum, crème de menthe, Curaçao, lime juice, and sugar with ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake well.
  2. Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass. Place ice in glass, pourcocktail over ice, and add lime slice.
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Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style: Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Mohonk 300x224 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York

To visit Mohonk Mountain House is to step back in time. This breathtaking hotel, opened in 1869, is set on the rocky ledges surrounding Lake Mohonk; it’s a two-mile drive through spectacular grounds from the main entrance to the lodge itself.

 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Judy at Mohonk.

We can easily imagine Mad Men characters at the New Paltz, New York resort, or the giants of the Gilded Age such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie. The Mohonk Mountain House is one of America’s grand old hotels, where the fireplace, not a television, is standard in every guest room, visitors read by the fire, ice skate, enjoy live music in the evening and generally find time to socialize and relax in ways that now seem old-fashioned. (Having said that, there is wireless Internet access, but we suggest using it as little as possible.) This is a place to indulge yourself in many ways, including the exceptional dining room.

What better setting for “How to Holidays,” Mohonk’s weekend of activities designed to help guests celebrate the holidays in mid-century Mad Men style?

Following our morning presentation of The Unofficial Mad Cookbook, Head Chef Jim Palmeri amplified our discussion about the influence of Julia Child and Graham Kerr, chefs he watched on TV as child, on mid-century culinary trends in America. Chef Jim also

20120318 197784 hearts of palm salad 300x225 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Sardi’s Hearts of Palm Salad is a festive holiday dish

demonstrated holiday appetizers from our book including Sardi’s Hearts of Palm Salad and several canapés. Both are quick and simple holiday recipes – and Sardi’s Hearts of Palm salad has festive red and green colors making it especially suitable for the season. Palmeri noted the contrast in textures between the pimiento and the hearts of palm as adding zest to the salad. We’re interested in trying fresh hearts of palm, as he suggested, instead of the canned variety typically found in grocery stores, which can be ordered online.

ChefJimwithus e1355150588831 224x300 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

The authors, Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, with Mohonk Executive Chef Jim Palmeri.

In the afternoon, pastry chef Sara Parker demonstrated two vintage holiday desserts from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Popcorn Balls (see recipe below). Our Pineapple Upside Down Cake can be made in a skillet, and as Parker told the audience, the cake is foolproof and delicious. The guests seemed to agree.  We’ve never seen four cakes disappear so quickly! Sara also made our Popcorn Balls, quick and perfect for a fun cooking project with kids during the holidays. Our recipe, made with marshmallows tastes like Rice Krispie Treats, but with popcorn. (See our Popcorn Ball recipe below.)

Wine Enthusiast Spirits Editor and author Kara Newman kicked off cocktail hour with a mini Mad Men cocktail primer featuring three classic Mad Men drinks, all beginning with “M”: the Martinez, the Manhattan and the Mai Tai –- all ideal holiday concoctions. We were won over by the Martinez, circa 1884, a forerunner of the Martini made with sweet vermouth, sweet gin, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. It’s rich amber color is easy on the eyes and it goes down smoothly! The Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s original, (also a recipe in our book) was the best we’ve tasted,

kara.teaching1 300x224 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Kara Newman mixes three classic mid-century holiday cocktails

expertly mixed by Mohonk’s staff! Many guests asked if these cocktails could be created in large batches. As it happens, Kara’s new book Cocktails for a Crowd:  Punches, Pitchers and More, being released by Chronicle Books this spring, answers that question. At the end of Kara’s presentation, we raised a glass to the recent anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition (December 5) and to the holidays!

JudyKara. e1355153179559 300x224 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Judy and Kara Newman toast the holidays with a Martinez and a Mai Tai

We’re happy to share a holiday recipe for Popcorn Balls from our book, as seen in Season 4, Episode 2, (“Christmas Comes But Once a Year”).

During the festivities at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Christmas party in 1964 a conga line forms and snakes through the office, past tables laden with holiday treats. We spotted a classic next to the candy canes: a bowl of red and white popcorn balls.

PopcornBalls 150x150 Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)There are accounts, perhaps apocryphal, that Native Americans gave English settlers in Massachusetts popcorn balls made with maple syrup at the first Thanksgiving. It is at least fair to say that popcorn balls bound with syrup or molasses have been around for well over a century, according to Andrew F. Smith, author of Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America (Smithsonian, 2001). Popcorn’s various forms, including popcorn threaded onto lengths of string, have been a part of festive decorations for Christmas and other holidays at least since the late nineteenth century. In the 1960s, popcorn balls were popular Halloween treats and sold at country fairs, ball games, and the circus.

Popcorn ball recipes proliferated in the United States after the Civil War. The techniques and ingredients varied, but the basic concept was the same: use a heated adhering agent—syrup, sugar, or molasses—then add salt and butter and use the agent to shape the popcorn into a sphere. Flavorings such as chocolate, peppermint and vanilla were eventually added, as were foods like strawberries, nuts, and marshmallows to embellish the original. Additives such as food coloring could turn a normally white popcorn ball into an edible Christmas decoration, like the red and white popcorn balls on display at the Sterling Cooper Christmas party.

At the insistence of Lee Garner, Jr., the firm’s most important client, Roger Sterling dons a Santa suit at the holiday party. He looks pretty forlorn wearing it, but maybe a popcorn ball will restore his Christmas cheer. That and a few martinis.

Popcorn Ball Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


PopcornBalls Mohonk Holidays Mad Men Style:  Canapes, Cocktails (and our Popcorn Ball recipe!)

Adapted from BETTY CROCKER’S NEW BOYS AND GIRLS COOKBOOK (Golden Press-Western, 1965), this recipe calls for marshmallow to make festive popcorn balls for the holidays -- with a taste reminiscent of Rice Krispie Treats.


  • 7 cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¹⁄₄ teaspoon salt


  1. Place popcorn in large buttered bowl. Heat marshmallows, butter, and salt in the top of a double boiler, or in the microwave, until melted.
  2. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and stir gently to coat. Grease hands with butter and quickly shape popcorn into 2-inch balls. Wrap in wax paper.
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A Holiday Punch Recipe for Mad Men: Canadian Clubhouse Punch

 A Holiday Punch Recipe for Mad Men: Canadian Clubhouse Punch

Canadian Clubhouse Punch from THE UNOFFICIAL MADMEN COOKBOOK, circa 1961 (SmartPop, 2011).

If you’re looking for the perfect punch to serve at your holiday parties, try this  favorite recipe, circa 1961 from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Canadian Clubhouse Punch. Serious Eats said of the recipe;
“While Canadian whisky doesn’t get much love from the serious cocktail crowd, in this retro punch, it’s pretty perfect. The whisky is set off with plenty of citrus and a touch of blackberry brandy. The punch is festive and sippable in a way that goes down a bit too easily.”



SEASON 4, EPISODE 2 “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”

The 1964 Christmas Party at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is supposed to be a low-key affair; the firm is struggling and an extravagant celebration is neither in the cards nor the budget. But when Roger Sterling learns that Lee Garner, Jr., the arrogant, party-boy son of Lucky Strike owner Lee Garner, Sr., is going to be in town, they have to pull out all the stops and put on a show. Lucky Strike is the firm’s biggest account, Lee loves Christmas, and Roger will do whatever it takes to keep his most important happy.

Nothing says “party” like a festive punch, and if you’re throwing one of your own this is the punch to serve, especially if Lee Garner, Jr., is coming. Self-serve punch was a popular feature of parties of all kinds in the 1960s, and since guests often had no idea what was in it, or in what quantities, it sometimes left more than a few of them reeling.
This fruity holiday recipe for Canadian Clubhouse Punch from a 1961 advertisement is sure to get your holiday party or special occasion off on the right foot and keep your guests, or important clients, happy.

“Punch” is generally thought to be a shortened version of puncheon, a cask used to transport rum. Regardless, the alcohol in punch can be brandy, rum, gin, sherry, or whiskey. If you’re striving for authenticity, note that Canadian Club didn’t produce a whiskey aged twelve years in Don Draper’s time, though they do today; the six-year premium whiskey would have been the one on Don’s credenza, and in his punch.

Mad Men Style Holiday Punch: Canadian Clubhouse Punch

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

About 2 quarts (approximately 12 servings)

 A Holiday Punch Recipe for Mad Men: Canadian Clubhouse Punch

A recipe for a festive holiday punch from a 1961 Canadian Club holiday advertisement is perfect for holiday parties, Mad Men style, or not! Recipe from THE UNOFFICIAL MAD MEN COOKBOOK by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smartpop, 2011).


  • Thin peel of 2 oranges
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups orange juice
  • 6 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 4 ounces blackberry liqueur or brandy
  • 1 750 milliliter bottle Canadian Club Whisky
  • Block of ice, for punch bowl
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced in half moons


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash orange peel and sugar. Add orange juice and lemon juice and stir until sugar dissolves. Add orange extract, liqueur or brandy, and whisky and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  2. Take punch out of refrigerator and remove orange peel with a slotted spoon. Place block of ice in a punch bowl and pour punch into bowl. Float orange slices in bowl, or garnish each punch cup with a slice.


Freeze a block of ice in advance for the punch bowl.

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Mad Men Thanksgiving Recipe: Barbetta’s Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

This week, The Village Voice’s“Fork in the Road” blog chose a dessert recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook for its perfect Vegan Thankgiving menu. Here’s the recipe courtesy of Barbetta, the oldest Italian restaurant in New York and the oldest New York restaurant still owned by its founding family, and a few words about its connection to Mad Men. Happy Thanksgiving!

Season 4, Episode 8
“The Summer Man”
After Bethany van Nuys, one of Don Draper’s post-separation dates, complains that the Benihana Steak House isn’t very intimate, their next evening out is at Barbetta, an elegant Piemontese restaurant on West 46th Street. We see Don and Bethany looking over the menu but we never hear them order or see their food. We asked Laura Maioglio, Barbetta’s current owner and the daughter of the restaurant’s founder Sebastiano, what she would have recommended for a romantic dinner for two in 1962.

For dessert she recommended pears baked in red wine alla Piemontese which also first appeared on Barbetta’s menu in 1962, and would have been the perfect way for Don and Bethany to keep the warmth of the evening going. Once you try Barbetta’s Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese you may agree that no pear has ever given its life for a better cause.

Barbetta's Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time:

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

pears Mad Men Thanksgiving Recipe: Barbettas Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese

A classic Piemontese dessert recipe for pears baked in red wine sauce from New York's oldest family Italian restaurant, Barbetta.


  • 6 ripe Bosc pears
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Wash and dry pears.
  2. Place pears in a baking pan that accommodates 6 pears (lay them flat).
  3. In a small bowl, pour the red wine and add sugar, cloves, cinna­mon stick, and lemon juice. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into the baking pan and place in oven.
  4. Turn pears after 5 minutes and brush with liquid in pan.
  5. Bake for approximately 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on size and ripeness of pears), continuing to brush the pears every 10 minutes. Pears should be slightly crinkly.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with extra red wine sauce.
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A Cocktail to Toast Mad Men’s 17 Emmy Nominations

21 Club Gin Fizz 1024x682 A Cocktail to Toast Mad Mens 17 Emmy Nominations
The ’21’ Club’s Gin Fizz

How should you toast the 17 nominations for Mad Men during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards? We suggest Joan’s Gin Fizz – one of the few cocktails mentioned in Season 5 of Mad Men (Episode 4, “Mystery Date”). Our recipe is courtesy of New York’s ‘21′ Club.

To celebrate the homecoming from Vietnam of Joan’s husband, Dr. Greg Miller, the extended family gathers for dinner at an unidentified Italian restaurant, but it’s an awkward and uncomfortable gathering. Joan orders a gin fizz, the Mad Men debut for this famous cocktail and a refreshing change from the Old Fashioneds, Martinis and Manhattans seen frequently over the first four seasons. But a bad evening gets worse when Greg, always a self-centered, insecure cad, announces that his imminent return to Viet Nam isn’t involuntary, as he’d led Joan, a new mother, to believe.

The family of drinks known as “fizz” was a creation of New Orleans in the late 19th century and was especially popular in the first half of the 20th century. There are many variations: the basic gin fizz is made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water (hence the fizz) over rocks. Fizz variations include the use of lime juice, simple syrup, cream, eggs (either the whole egg, just the yolk or just the white), and even crème de menthe. A Sloe Gin Fizz is made with a blackthorn-based spirit  (a blackthorn is a fruit in the same family as plums and cherries).

Sorry the evening and your cocktail were ruined by your selfish, soon-to-be ex-husband, Joan, but you’re well rid of him!


Joan's Gin Fizz Recipe, courtesy of Manhattan's '21' Club


Prep Time: 4 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

21 Club Gin Fizz A Cocktail to Toast Mad Mens 17 Emmy Nominations

A refreshing, classic Gin Fizz recipe from the '21' Club to toast Mad Men's Emmy nominations. Joan Harris orders a Gin Fizz in Season 5, Episode 4 ("Mystery Date").


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 4 rounded teaspoonfuls sugar
  • Club soda


  1. Add ice, gin, lime juice and sugar to a shaker. Shake vigorously.
  2. Pour into a Collins glass and fill with club soda.


You can add a splash of orange juice to soften the cocktail.

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Cooking for Julia: Megan’s Sole Meunière

120 JULI BADGING Cooking for Julia: Megans Sole MeunièreWe are happy to join PBS in celebrating Julia Child’s 100th birthday this August by preparing a Julia Child recipe in her honor, and posting a tribute to Julia.  For #CookforJulia, we’re pleased to share a Sole Meunière recipe and an excerpt from our book, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men.

The beginning of Julia’s real-life career in books and television coincided with the early years in which Mad Men is set, and one sees her influence on American culinary tastes of that era reflected in many ways on Mad Men. One of our favorite Mad Men Julia recipes,  after Boeuf Bourguignon (Season 5, Episode 8, “Lady Lazarus”) is Megan’s Sole Meunière (Season 5, Episode 7, “At the Cod Fish Ball”).

When Megan Draper’s parents, the Calvets, visit from Quebec she doesn’t scrimp on dinner: she prepares Dover sole. Given her French–Canadian heritage and comfort level in the kitchen, a classic Sole Meunière would have been a natural choice. Dover Sole Meunière was a classic French dish served at many of Manhattan’s fine French restaurants in the 1960s, including La Caravelle mentioned in Season 5, Episode 11 (“The Other Woman”) when Peggy, looking for a new job, meets with Don’s nemesis, Ted Chaough, of rival agency Cutler, Gleason and Chaough.

Imported from Europe, Dover sole is “considered by many food lovers to be the best-tasting fish in the world,” according to an article in the November 1964 issue of Life magazine. “If you by chance have a fish market elegant enough to carry it, filets may cost $3 or $4 a pound.” Julia Child called Dover sole “a dream fish” with a “texture firm enough to hold yet delicate to the tooth.” She later wrote that she “often wished they were farming Dover sole, as they do salmon and other popular fish.”

To make this famous dish the sole, whole or fillet, is dredged in flour, pan-fried in butter and served with the resulting brown butter. Simple and elegant, it was one of Child’s personal favorites. As she wrote in her memoir, My Life in France, her first meal in Rouen was Sole Meunière: it was “perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley… I closed my eyes and inhaled the rising perfume. Then I lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth… The flesh of the sole was delicate, with a light but distinct taste of the ocean that blended marvelously with the browned butter… It was a morsel of perfection… It was the most exciting meal of my life.”

For our tribute to Julia we’ve adapted, ever-so-slightly, Julia Child and Jacque Pepin’s recipe for Dover Sole Meunière from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (Knopf, 1999). While they call for preparing the dish with whole Dover Sole, they offer suggestions for preparing Sole Meunière with sole filets, which are more widely available and more moderately priced.

Megan’s Sole Meunière Season 5, Episode 7 (“At the Cod Fish Ball”)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Sole Meuniere Cooking for Julia: Megans Sole Meunière

Megan’s Sole Meunière Season 5, Episode 7 (“At the Cod Fish Ball”)


  • For the fish
  • 1– 1 1/2 pounds filet of sole (cut in 4 – 6 ounce portions) (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For the beurre noisette
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. To make fish: Set frying pan(s) over medium high heat. Season both sides of the fish filets with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in the flour. Press lightly to coat, and then shake off the excess. Swirl oil and 2 tablespoons butter in the pan and when foam subsides, lay as many floured fish filets as will fit in pan.
  2. Sauté for a minute or two on each side, until skin is crisped and the flesh is just springy rather than squashy. Turn the fish over carefully with spatula as it can break apart easily. As soon as the fish are done, remove to a warm platter.
  3. To make the beurre noisette: Sprinkle chopped parsley on each fish filet. Place clean medium pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, bubbles and begins to brown, remove pan from heat and as butter darkens to hazelnut color, toss in the capers and lemon juice and swirl together. Pour sizzling butter over fish, crisping the parsley, and serve immediately.


Note: Julia Child’s recipe calls for a whole Dover sole, which can be hard to find and expensive. We’ve adapted the recipe for sole filets. Child suggests substituting gray sole, lemon sole, winter flounder and yellow tail flounder, petrale sole, rex sole or rock sole for Dover sole.

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We’ll close with an excerpt from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook titled, “America’s French Chef.”

It’s no surprise we see Mad Men characters frequenting French restaurants such as Lutèce and La Grenouille and eating French foods such as vichyssoise and coquilles. It was during this same period that Julia Child was, to borrow a phrase from the ’60s, turning America on to French cuisine, starting in 1961 with publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Alfred A. Knopf).

Public interest in French food was fueled in part by the Kennedys’ passion for all things French. Distinguished French chef René Verdon was hired to be the White House chef, and Mrs. Kennedy spoke French fluently. But it was Julia Child, America’s first true celebrity chef, who introduced Americans to French cooking, and there’s never been another quite like her. The gangly, irrepressible cookbook author and TV personality
became an American icon beloved for her wit, her authenticity, and, of course, her passion for French cooking.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking wasn’t the first French cookbook to appear in American bookstores in the postwar years by any means; there were many. Written by French chefs and professional food writers, the recipes were inaccessible to the average American cook because they assumed a certain amount of knowledge of French cooking. But Child learned her craft from scratch while living in Paris with her diplomat husband. Mastering the Art of French Cooking conveyed her love of the cuisine and the joy of learning from the beginning. It was a cookbook for the complete novice that broke French cooking down step by step.

Alfred Knopf, Child’s publisher, had doubts about the commercial viability of the book from the beginning, and published it only after much in-house debate. Its authors were unknown and Knopf had just published a volume by Joseph Donon, a renowned French chef. Few resources were allocated for promotion. But when New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne gave the book a glowing review, the stage was set for Child to take the country by storm. She was invited to do a cooking demonstration on NBC’s Today Show  in front of four million viewers (she cooked an omelet on a hot plate). More favorable book reviews followed, including an endorsement from James Beard, perhaps America’s most famous chef at the time.

“This is a book,” wrote Child and her co-authors, “for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets,waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat.” It wasn’t just the destination that was to be enjoyed, but the journey. She was converting cooks into gourmands, walking her readers through the making of boeuf bourguignon and tarte tatin, and teaching that technique was every bit as important as quality ingredients.

Child took to the airwaves in 1962 on a program called The French Chef, produced at WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting station. The French Chef soon had a national following. With infectious joie de vivre, the imposing 6’2” Child wielded her kitchen knife with an equally sharp wit. On television, Child proved to be an outstanding teacher that viewers connected with. She wasn’t particularly telegenic or polished, and her voice was given to warbles and sudden changes in register. But her movements were both flamboyant and buoyant, and she handled miscues,both in her presentation and her cooking, with humor and aplomb. In short, she was as irrepressible as she was irresistible. She was so comfortable in her own skin that she made others comfortable trying to
do what she had done: master the art of French cooking.