An Old Fashioned Kind of Guy: Mad Men Season 5 Finale

Mad Men Season 5 ended, as Season 1 began, with Don Draper ordering an Old g bites don draper old fashioned kq 120323.photoblog500 300x225 An Old Fashioned Kind of Guy: Mad Men Season 5 FinaleFashioned. The season finale (“The Phantom”) featured only this one cocktail, but it’s Don’s signature drink. We surmise this signals a return to the Don we came to know and, well, love, in a way. It was a different Don this season, happily married, or so it seemed, faithful, except in his dreams, and somehow lighter and brighter than the heavily burdened Don of seasons past. But Don is seeming a bit more old fashioned himself as the series moves into 1967; the world is changing around him, but Don? He’s going backwards.

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The Lipp Sisters with Rich Sommer at Smithfields

One of us (Peter) was in Manhattan last night, and attended the viewing party at Smithfield’s on West 28th Street hosted by Mad Men bloggers extraordinaire (Basket of Kisses), the Lipp Sisters. The special guest was the very genuine and gracious Rich Sommer, known to Mad Men fans as Harry Crane. He stayed to watch the finale which, we suspect, he was watching for the first time along with the rest of us.

Our Season 5 culinary recap (below) includes many highlights —  from orange sherbet at Howard Johnson’s to Megan’s Beef Bourguignon and visits to restaurants, some now gone, some still going, such as Ratner’s Deli, Danny’s Hideaway, Trader Vic’s and The Minetta Tavern.

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Peter and Rich Sommer at the Season 5 Finale Party in New York (photo: Therese Bohn)

It already seems like a long wait for Season 6, so we recommend getting your fix by mixing cocktails and making recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, as well as few from this season. Start with Don’s Old Fashioned and, as always, be sure to muddle the cherry.

We’ll be posting occasionally between now and Season 6, but our regular every Monday

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Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy (photo: Nina Gallant)

schedule will resume when Mad Men returns in 2013. Also check our Facebook page and Twitter for news!






Culinary Highlights from Season 5

Where did Don, Roger and the rest of the Sterling Cooper crew dine out or order in from? Season 5 featured Trader Vic’s, Howard Johnson’s, The Hemisphere Club, the Minetta Tavern, Ratner’s, a kosher dairy deli, La Caravelle, The Palm and Danny’s Hideaway among others. Meanwhile, Betty was at Weight Watchers and polishing off Sally’s ice cream sundaes.

And there were a few great parties too: Megan’s 40th birthday bash for Don, Trudy and Pete’s Cos Cob dinner party (the one Don tries to duck without success, but shows up with his memorable drink order “big and brown”) and a traditional Thanksgiving at the Francis manse. A number of recognizable food products from 1966-67 had cameo roles in Season 5, including Cool Whip, Heinz Baked Beans, Bugles, Sno-Balls and White Castle Hamburgers.

An * indicates the recipe is in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook


Gin Fizz
Shirley Temple
*Old Fashioned

Appetizers, Sandwiches and Side Dishes

Crab Rangoon
Brussel Sprouts
Tuna Fish Sandwich
Heinz Baked Beans
*Deviled Eggs
Bugles Corn Chips
Cheese Cubes

Main Dishes

Boeuf Bourguignon
Dover Sole Meuniere
Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets with Gravy
Baked Ham
*Beef Wellington
Baked Chicken
White Castle Hamburgers
Howard Johnson’s Fried Clams

Marshmallow Fudge ice cream sundae topping
Minetta Tavern’s Zabaglione
Baked Alaska
Hemisphere Club Mile High Cakes
William Greenberg Brownies
Orange Sherbet
Cool Whip Dessert
Choward’s Violets

Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione

It was a whale of a tale on last night’s Mad Men episode (“At the Cod Fish Ball”). It began with Megan’s Dover Sole and ended with poor Sally facing two very unpleasant

 Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione

Shirley Temple with a Shirley Temple

sights, one of which was a whole cooked fish and the other…well, let’s just say Roger is up to his old tricks. “At the Cod Fish Ball” was a song made famous by Shirley Temple, so we weren’t surprised to see Sally served a cocktail by that name with her dinner.

Megan didn’t scrimp on dinner for her visiting parents and Don. Dover Sole, imported from Europe, “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.”

Given Megan’s French heritage and Julia Child’s overwhelming popularity in the mid-1960s, Sole meunière would have been a natural choice. To make this French classic the sole, whole or fillet, is dredged in flour, pan fried in butter and served with the resulting

juliachild Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione

Julia and a friend

brown butter. Simple and elegant it was one of Julia’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.”

 Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione

The Hemisphere Club by day; The Tower Suite by night.

Two New York restaurants got shout-outs last night, too. When Don and Megan save the Heinz account, they’re at the Tower Suite, the evening incarnation of the Hemisphere Club, a private luncheon dining room for Time/Life executives on the 48th Floor of the Time and Life Building on Sixth Avenue. “Although New York viewed from a great height is one of the visually exciting places on earth, there are astonishingly few restaurants that take advantage of the fact,” wrote New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne shortly after the Tower Suite opened in late 1960. The Hemisphere Club was one of a series of private clubs for businessmen that opened in New York City in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Pinnacle Club and The Harbor View Club were two others. “One thing all of these clubs have in common, of course” said The New York Times on August 25, 1960, “is their altitude, a factor that seems to fulfill some inner need of the executive ego.”

The sky-high cakes (one appeared to be German Chocolate) we see on the table were part of the Tower Suite’s six-course meals served over two to three hours. The club was a creation of Restaurant Associates, the outfit behind the over-the-top Forum of the Twelve Caesars featured in Mad Men Season 4, Episode 7 (“The Suitcase”).

Further south, the cozy Minetta Tavern where Peggy expects a marriage proposal from4801251 Minetta Tavern Greenwich Village New York City Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione Abe but gets only a consolation prize – an invitation to “live in sin,” as her mother puts it – is still going strong on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. (It was bought and revamped in 2009 by Keith McNally.) “A neat and frequently crowded restaurant…[i]t has a loyal, genteel clientele and the quality of the food, which is Italian, ranges from the ordinary to the excellent,” said The New York Times on March 20, 1964. The steak, which Abe says is supposed to be excellent, cost $4.25 back then; it’s $26.00 today with Pommes Frites.

Baked Alaska, that classic dessert that enjoyed immense popularity in the 1960s finally makes an appearance in Mad Men at the smoke-filled fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Baked Alaska is a dessert made by placing ice cream in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding and topped with meringue and placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue. The meringue insulates the ice cream during the short cooking time. The name ‘Baked Alaska,’ also known as a Norwegian omelette, dates to 1876 when Delmonico’s Restaurant named it such to honor the new American territory of Alaska. It didn’t look like Sally was enjoying that either but maybe Roger ruined her appetite.

Minetta Tavern Cold Zabaglione (Foamy Wine Custard)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Zabaglione Fish Story and Minetta Tavern Zabaglione

This recipe for Minetta Tavern Zabaglione comes from the Greenwich Village Cookbook (Fairchild, 1969) In Mad Men, Season 5, Episode 7 (“At the Cod Fish Ball”), when Peggy and her beau, Abe, have a date at the cozy Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village, Peggy expects a marriage proposal, but gets only a consolation prize – an invitation to “live in sin,” as her mother, Katherine, puts it. Minetta Tavern is still going strong on MacDougal Street: it was bought and revamped in 2009 by Keith McNally.

Back in 1966 when Peggy and Abe ate there, Minetta Tavern was an Italian restaurant and The perfect dessert for the couple would have been the house specialty, Zabaglione, a custard made with wine that can be served warm or cold.


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup sweet or almond cream Marsala wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Maraschino cherries


  1. Beat egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar gradually, beating continually Continue to beat egg-yolk sugar mixture while adding wine. Put the mixture in the top of a double boiler, and cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Do not allow custard to boil or it will curdle. Cool completely.
  2. Whip heavy cream until stuff and fold into cool custard. Spoon into sherbet glasses and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve chilled and decorate with maraschino cherries.
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