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

Mad Men Meets Manitoga

Given the distressing events of last night’s Mad Men (“Commissions and Fees”), we kind of lost our appetite.

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Giving a tour of ten Mad Men cocktails at Manitoga.

So, as we await the season finale, let’s take a short detour to Garrison, New York, an hour up the Hudson from mid-town Manhattan. Yesterday, we gave a historic tour of ten cocktails featured in Mad Men and The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook to a delightful group of people assembled at Manitoga, the historic home and studio of the mid-century industrial designer Russel Wright. Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center is devoted to preserving the

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Russel Wright's home at Manitoga overlooking a quarry is nestled on a wooded hillside.

legacy of the one of the most influential 20th century designers, and words can hardly describe this oasis of serenity and natural beauty nestled on a hillside across the Hudson from West Point. Wright’s home is a modernist wonder that is at one with the surrounding natural environment.

“For more than 40 years beginning in the 1920’s, the industrial designer Russel Wright was to Macy’s and other New York stores what Michael Graves is today to Target and Martha Stewart is to Kmart,” said The New York Times in 2006. “His philosophy — good design is for everyone — spawned a lifestyle movement. Everything manufactured in his name, including dinnerware, furniture and household items, was sophisticated, and all of it was cheap. With a genial smile and marketing genius, he ushered modernism out of the museum and into middle-class suburbia.”

 Mad Men Meets Manitoga

Russel Wright's iconic dishware celebrated simplicity of form and functionality.

Those familiar with Wright’s iconic designs will see evidence of his influence on the sets of Mad Men, including Don and Megan’s Park Avenue apartment.

“Nowhere are the principles that guided Wright’s designs more apparent than in the property in Garrison, N.Y.,” said the Times, “that he made his woodland retreat and christened Manitoga, an Algonquin word translated as Place of the Great Spirit.”

It was a treat for us to visit Manitoga, experience the beauty

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Manitoga's bartender in residence, Russel Wright's grandson, Max.

of the home and surroundings, and even enjoy drinks and lunch, all served on Russel Wright’s glass and ceramic ware.  A special shout-out and thanks to Max, Russel Wright’s grandson, who expertly mixed the Bloody Mary, the Old Fashioned and, appropriately enough, the Algonquin cocktail for guests! Please see our Facebook album for photos of Manitoga and the event.

How to Make a Killing (and Tuna Fish Sandwich)

Last night’s episode of Mad Men, “Mystery Date,” was almost an appetite killer given its exploration of men behaving badly. Very badly. The 1966 murder of eight Chicago nurses by Richard Speck was the historical backdrop for an episode in which Greg Miller, the most unlikable TV doctor since forever, returns home briefly to Joan and his infant son only to trot back to Viet Nam where he’s really needed. And Don, in a feverish delirium, dreams of knocking off an old paramour. So, let’s have a drink. Or three.

 How to Make a Killing (and Tuna Fish Sandwich)

Gin Fizz

Mad Men has been filled with Old Fashioneds, Martinis and Manhattans over the first four seasons, so it was refreshing to hear Joan order a gin fizz at the Italian restaurant where she and Greg and their parents retire to celebrate his homecoming, a dinner ruined by Greg’s ham-sized ego and Joan’s discovery that his return to Viet Nam is voluntary.

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, of course, 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 prune variant).

By the way, when we were her age we would have agreed with Sally’s complaint about the tuna sandwich (see recipe) Henry’s warm and cuddly mother, Pauline Francis, makes for her: “it has relish.”  But, according to the authors of Clean Plates: Cooking for Young Children (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964), “with sandwiches, it is pleasant to serve some special condiment such as watermelon pickles, sweet pickles or spiced crabapples. If a child is tired, such an inducement will often start him eating and, once having begun, he will finish the meal with relish.” Oh, really?

Of course today we think relish makes the tuna fish sandwich shine. Tastes change as we mature. Just ask Peggy, flush with Jameson’s Irish Whiskey as she shakes down Roger over the Mohawk Airlines ad campaign.

Tuna Fish Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

 How to Make a Killing (and Tuna Fish Sandwich)

Relish makes this tuna fish salad recipe from the Mad Men era shine. Adapted from Clean Plates: Cooking for Young Children, Charles Scribners Sons, 1964)


  • 1 7 ounce can tuna fish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Chopped sweet pickles or relish, to taste
  • Bread slices, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, flake tuna fish. Add mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  2. Mix in chopped sweet pickles or relish to taste and serve on slices of bread.
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Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party!

Last night, more than twenty food bloggers from across the United States and Canada joined us for the first-ever Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! Each blogger made at least oneUMMC VirtualDinnerPartyGraphic Sidebar 002 Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party! dish or drink from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, blogged about it and posted their comments and photos on our Facebook page in the hours leading up the party. Then, at the appointed hour the guests arrived, cocktails were served and the Twitter party chatter was off and running.

Theresa of the Food Hunters Guide blog (Arizona) brought a few cocktails – the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan and the Rusty Nail. Kara at Tipple Sheet (New York) went with a classic martini. Victoria of Mission Food (New York) made both Bloody Mary recipes from the book (from the legendary ‘21’ Club) and added a twist of her own: “I decided to rim the glasses with celery salt…The celery salt will stick and you’ll not only have a more exciting presentation, but you’ll also get a fun salty kick with every sip.” Great idea!

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Bloody Mary’s by Mission Food for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

Donna of the Cookistry blog (Colorado) brought Sardi’s Steak Tartar and noted that her butcher thought it was odd that she was buying a tiny beef filet (3 oz.) and a small piece of sirloin (8 oz.). Donna decided to whip up Peggy’s Brandy Alexander moments before the party began. And Priscilla of She’s Cookin’ (California) brought blini and caviar which she declared was “excellent” with a money-saving tip to boot: use salmon caviar in lieu of sturgeon caviar!

Stef from We Heart This (California), who loves “anything retro” went with “the fabulously retro Rumaki.” Girlichef Heather (Indiana) brought Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes explaining that

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Crabmeat Mimosa prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by Five Star Foodie

the dish came from a favorite Mad Men scene: “A Rockefeller fundraiser was held in the home of Betty and Don and depicted as a typical 1960’s-style cocktail party. Cocktails were sipped. Finger foods were passed. I could close my eyes and imagine myself a fly on the wall.”

Jen from Juanita’s Cocina (Texas) brought the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, a real 60s classic and a favorite of ours. Jen found it “fascinating that the recipes and cookbooks of the time touted products [aluminum foil in this case] as new and revolutionary that we take as commonplace nowadays.” Jen chose this dish because she “adored Sal and still miss him,” referring to Mad Man Sal Romano from Seasons 1-3. Kitty serves Pineapple Upside Down Cake to hubby Sal while watching Jackie Kennedy’s televised White House Tour on Valentine’s Day 1962.

Speaking of Sal, Susan of 30A Eats (Florida) knew actor Bryan Batt who played Sal,

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Trudy’s Roast Chicken prepared for the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party by the Hyphenated Chef

during her high school days in New Orleans. Susan brought Martinis, Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Celery and Deviled Eggs to the party. As the party got rolling, Susan chimed in, “wish this wasn’t a virtual party!” as she broke open a bottle of Veuve to celebrate.

Merlene from Madtini (Ontario, Canada) chose drinks and connected them to some of her favorite Mad Men scenes, including Season 3, episode 3, ‘My Old Kentucky Home in which, “Don Draper makes an Old Fashioned (using rye) for himself and ‘Connie’ (Conrad Hilton) as the two exchange small talk about growing up poor.” Merlene also made the Irish Coffee from a memorable scene between Don Draper and Rachel Menken (Season 1, episode 6, “Babylon”) at the Tea Room of the Pierre Hotel: “Don attempts to charm Rachel who reminds him that they are meeting strictly for business and she only orders coffee. ‘Irish Coffee?’ suggests Don in his typical roguish fashion. ‘Coffee,’ Rachel replies firmly. (I think Don might need an Irish Coffee – there’s a definite chill in the air!),” said Merlene.

It was a great party; we even played virtual Twister (we think Foodhunters Guide might still be playing!) Thanks to everyone who partied like a Mad Man last night and for the dishes they brought!

30A Eats

5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures


Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine


This Girl Walks into a Bar

The Hyphenated Chef

The Groovy Foody

Juanita’s Cocina

•  Madtini

The Mid-Century Menu

Mission Food

The Primlani Kitchen

Tipple Sheet

Thursday Night Dinner

We Heart This

She’s Cookin’

• Culinary Cellar

Sarcastic Cooking

* * *

We’ll be watching and Tweeting during the new season of Mad Men looking for every food and drink related reference, discerning what the characters are ordering, cooking, and eating, and where they’re dining and drinking. We’re sure there will be more food and drink to talk about next Monday, but for now, buckle your seat belts: Season 5 is just days away!

In the meantime, on Tuesday evening we’ll be at The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans to attend their big Mad Men party. We’re looking forward to meeting Bryan Batt (“Sal Romano”) who’s scheduled to be there! So, look for a special edition of our blog on Wednesday!

Make That a Double

Maybe it was just coincidence, but on Christmas Day, The New York Times business section had a front page, top-of-the-fold feature about the boom in bourbon sales (“Bourbon’s All-American Roar”) while the travel section had a full page feature declaring that “rye is back” (“Rye is Back, With Flavors of Americana”). As we point out in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, bourbon and rye are both whiskeys. Bourbon is a corn-based spirit distilled to no more than Make That a Double 160 proof, while rye is a purely rye-based whiskey, though the term is also used to describe a blended whiskey made from corn, rye, rye malt and barley distillates. Bourbon and rye are the foundation of several cocktails featured in Mad Men including the Old Fashioned, which can be made with either, though Don Draper prefers his with rye, the Mint Julep and, of course, the Manhattan.

We don’t know if Mad Men has anything to do with this resurgence of bourbon and rye, but an ad man like Don would probably agree with the Times’s Mickey Meece that, “today’s bourbon boom represents a triumph of salesmanship.” Even in this tough economy, bourbon distillers are thriving, “cashing in on an American renaissance in whiskey-based cocktails, as well as a growing thirst for bourbon around the world.” Bourbon even has the imprimatur of the United States Congress which decreed in 1964 (the middle of the Mad Men era) that “bourbon whiskey is a distinctive product of the United States.” In a move that might make a purist cringe, distillers are even creating flavored bourbons infused with cherry, honey and spice.

images3 166x300 Make That a DoubleRye, a mid-19th century staple, largely fell out of favor by the mid-20th century, yielding to bourbon. But, as Ronnie Tsui writes in the Times, “rye has emerged as the go-to craft spirit of the moment.”

Though it still lives in the shadow of bourbon, rye afficionados claim it is livelier and drier than bourbon, writes Tsui, noting that three of the most classic whiskey cocktails – the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Sazerac (named for the New Orleans bar where the cocktail was invented) – were all initially made with rye. Rye, too, has quite an American heritage: the nation’s largest producer in 1799 was none other than former President George Washington who died that year; he made 11,000 gallons of the stuff annually.

 Make That a DoubleWe have recipes for the Old Fashioned and Manhattan in The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, but not the Sazerac, so we’ll include one here, but understand that there are probably as many versions of the Sazerac as there are bartenders in New Orleans! This rendition is adapted from Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts (Grosset & Dunlap, 1949).



a few drops of Absinthe or Pernod

ice cubes

3 dashes Peychaud bitters

2 ounces rye whiskey

1 lemon twist, for garnish


1. Store an Old Fashioned glass in the freezer until thoroughly chilled.

2. Put the Absinthe or Pernod into chilled glass, then tilt and roll the glass until the inside is thoroughly coated.

3. Place ice cubes in a tall mixing glass and add rye and Peychaud bitters. Stir until well-chilled.

4. Pour, without the ice, into chilled glass. Add lemon twist.

Yield: 1 drink

A Mad Men Holiday Cocktail Party

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For your holiday party with a Mad Men-twist this year we’ve compiled a can’t-miss cocktail menu with several of our favorite Mad Men libations. You can find the recipes in our new book, The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, along with tips for throwing a successful Mad Men–style cocktail party.

In almost any episode of Mad Men you’ll see enough alcohol to sink a ship, not to mention a struggling mid-size Madison Avenue advertising firm. So, let’s travel back to the early 1960s when Elvis was King, John F. Kennedy was President and Don Draper was Mayor of Madison Avenue.

Unless you want to spend the evening bartending, we advise you to select just a few types of cocktail. Pick and choose from the selections below based on your guests’ cocktail preferences.

Old Fashioned. It’s the very first food or drink seen in Mad Men, at the opening of the first episode. Don Draper and an Old Fashioned go together like pastrami and rye. Bourbon or rye (the liquid kind) is the central ingredient in this classic and to make it Don’s way you’ll have to muddle the cherry.

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Old Fashioned

Martini. For every Old Fashioned Don drinks, Roger Sterling has at least one Martini, maybe more. It’s hard to imagine a simpler cocktail, vermouth and gin are the only ingredients in a classic martini unless you count the olive or cocktail onion, but proportion and quality ingredients are key. This iconic cocktail of the Mad Men era is sure to be a hit.

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Mai Tai. This fruity concoction is lavishly decorated with slices of fruit, miniature paper umbrella and swizzle sticks of vaguely Polynesian appearance. “That’s quite a drink,” says Don when department store Rachel Menken orders one at El Morocco. Since this is a season when decorations are everywhere, why not in your drink?

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Mai Tai

Brandy Alexander. Another drink ”for the ladies,” as Roger might refer to it, the BrandyAlexander is practically a confection made with crème de cacao, brandy and cream. Peggy Olson likes hers very sweet: to each, her own.

 A Mad Men Holiday Cocktail Party

Brandy Alexander

Jade. Christmas conjures images of red and green so the Jade, which derives its color from green Crème de Menthe, is a perfect complement to your holiday gathering (or when your drowning your sorrows after Nixon’s loss to Kennedy in the 1960 election and there’s only Crème de Menthe left in the Sterling Cooper liquor closet).

 A Mad Men Holiday Cocktail Party


Canadian Clubhouse Punch. For the host or hostess who would rather join in the fun than serve drinks all night this popular punch featured in Canadian Club’s 1961 holiday advertising is the perfect choice for December festivities. Made with Don Draper’s preferred brand, your guests can serve themselves. But since punch should be pre-mixed, your guests won’t know what in it or in what quantities so be careful: punch can really pack a punch.

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Canadian Clubhouse Punch

Stork Club Cocktail Punch. Another cocktail that can be simplified by serving it in a punch bowl is the Stork Club Cocktail, a creation of the gone but not forgotten hub of New York café society for four decades. The Stork Club was, according to famed gossip columnist Walter Winchell, “New York’s New Yorkiest place,” frequented by the likes of Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and, of course, the glamorous Don and Betty Draper. Triple Sec, gin and Angostura bitters are the foundation of what one might call New York’s New Yorkiest cocktail.

 A Mad Men Holiday Cocktail Party

Stork Club Cocktail

Eggnog. Finally, what holiday party would be complete without this classic of the season. You can use cognac, brandy or rum as your base ingredient. The other ingredients read like a list of items for a fabulous dessert. It’s a hit at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Christmas Party in 1964, and is certain to add cheer to your holiday celebration this year.

 A Mad Men Holiday Cocktail Party