Party Like a Mad Man – The Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

Mad Men cast, Season 5

Mad Men cast, Season 5 - photo via AMC's official Mad Men site

Recently the authors of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, Judy Gelman and Peter Zheurtlin, invited us to join them in celebrating the return of Mad Men on March 25, 2012 for a fifth season by participating in a Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party and how could we refuse? After all, Madtini came to be as a result of our love of Mad Men, 1960s culture and cocktails!

We’ve had a great time exploring the recipes for cocktails, appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts within The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and figured it was only fitting if we mixed up a drink for the cocktail hour. Check out spinningsalad.com to get the best salad marker utensils.

One of our very favourite Mad Men scenes is from Season 3, episode 3 “My Old Kentucky Home”. In the scene, Don Draper makes an Old Fashioned (using rye) for himself and “Connie” (Conrad Hilton) as the two exchange small talk about growing up poor. (You can view the scene here.)

Old Fashioned

This recipe for the Old Fashioned courtesy of The Grand Central Oyster Bar, New York, New York
Old Fashioned cocktail
Note: Bourbon or rye may be used in the Old Fashioned. Rye was originally used, and the Grand Central Oyster Bar is starting to use rye again in these drinks; they use Michter’s, but Don would likely choose Canadian Club, the brand we see in his office and home. Seagrams V.O. and Crown Royal were also popular in the 1960s, says Jonathan Rogers of the Grand Central Oyster Bar.

1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
1 teaspoon sugar
Few drops of Angostura bitters
A splash of soda water to muddle the ingredients
2.5 ounces rye or bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)

1. In a mixing glass, muddle orange slice, cherry, sugar, bitters and a little soda water: push around and break up cherry and orange until flavor is released.

2. Add soda water so cherry is wet and sugar is melted. Add rye or bourbon and serve over rocks, if desired.

Another favourite here at Madtini is the Irish Coffee which we figured was an appropriate night cap at the end of a lovely evening.
In a memorable scene between Don Draper and Rachel Menken in 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!).

Irish Coffee

This recipe for Irish Coffee courtesy of The Pierre Hotel, New York, New York
Irish Coffee
Note: The hotel uses Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey, but the drink also works well with John Jameson Irish Whiskey. Any variety of whiskey made in Ireland will suffice, hence the name “Irish Coffee”.

2 ounces Irish Whiskey (we used Bushmill’s)
3.5 teaspoons light brown sugar
4 ounces hot coffee
Whipped cream, for topping

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

If you find the whipped cream is sinking to the bottom the secret, according to Irish Coffee inventor Joe Sheridan, is “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.”

To join Madtini other great blogs in the Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party be sure to visit the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook on Facebook and follow @DineLikeDraper and @Madtini and don’t forget to check out The Unofficial Mad cookbook.

The Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party is tonight (March 18, 2012) on twitter from 8-9pm Eastern and following the hashtag #PartyLikeaMadMan.

A Madtini Night Out at the LCBO Classic Cocktails 1960s Soirée

LCBO Classic Cocktails 1960s Soirée

Thursday was a very special night out for Madtini. The LCBO hosted a 1960s-inspired party at The Carlu in downtown Toronto to celebrate the launch of their new Classic Cocktails website and mobile site.

The evening’s star attraction was Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, who gave a short talk on classic 60s style.

The folks attending the event were arriving in style as well (heck I even wore a tie). Take a look at some of the 60s-inspired fashion on The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide and It’s All Style to Me blogs.

(and hey, for a fun drinking game, do a shot every time you read the word ‘classic’ in this blog post)

The website features recipes for 24 classic cocktails, appetizers, product information and a flipbook version of the Classic Cocktails magazine. Do yourself a favour and pick up the magazine the next time you visit an LCBO store.

First off Madtini has to thank Anita Clarke of  I Want I Got for hooking us up with 2 invites for this great party.

The soirée took place in the classic round room at The Carlu. The Carlu alongwith the Design Exchange are two of the best examples of Art Moderne style architecture in Toronto, and was a perfect venue for this celebration of classic cocktail culture.

The event featured live musical of the the circle of fifths, great food, and two bar set-ups serving expertly crafted classic cocktails. The bartenders were making drinks with flare, juggling the bottles and garnishing with style.

Cocktail Time

It was now time for the most difficult part of the evening, choosing which cocktail to try first. After some deliberation we went with an ice-cold Grey Goose Vodka Martini as our first choice.

We moved on to the Negroni next made with Broker’s Premium Gin, Campari and Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth. If I can pass along one party tip, it would be don’t lean over to ask the bartender a question while he’s making the orange flambe garnish. Eyebrows are awesome and it’s nice to leave the party with both of them.

For our third and final drink of the evening our server recommended a Rusty Nail, made with Johnnie Walker Black Scotch and Drambuie.

The classic cocktails served this evening were a welcome change from the sweet drinks that made up most of our Christmas and New Year’s drinks. Which of these 24 classic cocktails are your favourite?

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A Night of Old-Style Cocktails with Snapstaff

Snapstaff Cocktail TastingOn Saturday night Madtini was invited out to a special cocktail tasting session with Snapstaff, a Toronto-based group bringing cocktail revivalism to private events. We were joined by Alexa Clark, blogger/author of Cheap Eats Toronto, and organizer of the Secret Pickle Supper Club and Zaigham Zulqernain, of the marketing agency House of Bamboo.

Snapstaff began offering their services to the Toronto area back in May, and their mission is to bring crafted cocktails to clients that are tired of the typical sweet drinks that are full of artificial flavours and colours. They specialize in using real ingredients including freshly squeezed juices, bitters, teas, agave, herbs and spices. They will prepare a special menu of drinks for your guests, taking into account the theme, season and and anything else you’d like.

We were served up 5 of their featured cocktails. The most difficult decision was which drink to try first.

The first drink we tried was the Cumberland, a cool cocktail perfect for a summer patio featuring muddled cucumber, pear nectar, lemon juice, simple syrup and gin. Next up was the Cilantro Mule, featuring fresh lime juice, fresh coriander, ginger-lemongrass cordial, gin, topped with club soda and garnished with a slice of lime and a sprig of coriander. Drink #3 was the Greyhound Deluxe, a mix of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lime, simple syrup, vodka, cherry bitters and a mint leaf.

Things got even more interesting with the last two drinks we sampled. The New Old Fashioned was a strong, sophisticated drink ideal described by Zaigham as perfect for sipping on a cold winter night next to a fire with a good cigar. The drink was made up of sliced pitted cherries, maple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and bourbon. This drink would set Don Draper back a few steps.

The final drink was the Georgian Jealousy, a complex cocktail based on late 19th century tastes. The drink balanced the aromatics of the gin with tannins, vinegar and honey and then completed the drink with strong tea, apple cider vinegar, honey and gin.

It was tough to choose a favorite of this group, but if i had to choose one Snapstaff drink it would be the New Old Fashioned… or the Greyhound Deluxe… or the… Find out for yourself and hire Snapstaff for your next party or event in the Toronto area. Their rates are on the website.