Drink Like It’s 1966: ‘Mad Men’-Inspired Cocktails

It has seemed like an eternity since we last saw Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger and the gang on AMC. This Sunday night is the highly anticipated Mad Men Season 5 premier. So how are you planning to watch? Are you hosting a viewing party? Or are you curling up on your couch with your favorite cocktail?

Not since Sex and the City has a show affected cocktail culture like Mad Men. But, when the SOTC cosmopolitan was first popular in the late 90’s, a lot of bartenders, here in New York, didn’t know how to make it.  I still remember sidling up to the bar and ordering a cosmo, thinking I was hot stuff. The bartenders would give me a blank look and I’d end up getting a drink that looked (and tasted) more like jet-fuel than the fruity, yummy goodness it was supposed to taste like. But by 2000, there were cosmopolitan happy-hour specials at nearly every bar in Manhattan. Cosmos were EVERYWHERE!

But that was just one drink. On Mad Men, the characters are so liquor-soaked that there are a multitude of cocktails from which to choose.

And even better, they are classic drinks that almost any bartender (and you) can mix. Below are some cocktail ideas inspired by Mad Men characters.

Old Fashioned (Don)

from Drinkmixer.com

  • 2 oz blended whiskey
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 cherry
  • 1 slice orange

Combine the sugar cube, bitters, and 1 tsp. water in an old-fashioned glass. Muddle well, add blended whiskey, and stir. Add a twist of lemon peel and ice cubes. Add slices of orange and lemon and top with the cherry. Serve with a swizzle stick.

Manhattan (Peggy)

from About.com Cocktails

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry

Gibson Martini (Roger)

from DrinkMixer.com

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz vermouth
  • 2 cocktail onions

Stir gin and vermouth over ice cubes in a mixing glass. Strain into a cocktail glass. Add the cocktail onions and serve.

Whiskey Sour (Lane)

from Epicurious

  • 2 or 3 ounces whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 or 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes
  • 1 orange or lemon slice or peel
  • Maraschino cherry

Combine all ingredients except the fruit slice or peel and cherry in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a sour or Delmonico glass and garnish with the fruit and cherry.

Bloody Mary (Joan)

from Esquire

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 to 4 dashes Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish

Squeeze the liquid out of the horseradish, then shake ingredients well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a Collins glass with 2 or 3 ice cubes in it; add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper, to taste. Garnish, if necessary, with a stalk of celery.


For more cocktail ideas, go to the AMC website —  there’s an area devoted to cocktails seen on the show. There are also some other fun goodies, like Mad Men Yourself.

That’s me!

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5 Responses to Drink Like It’s 1966: ‘Mad Men’-Inspired Cocktails

  1. Amy says:

    I love that one of the recipes has 1 sugar cube. I totally forgot that they even existed.

  2. I love this! Thanks.

  3. Sarah says:

    Love all these recipes, thanks for writing them out! By the way, as a follower of my blog, I’d like to invite you to my first-ever linky party on Wednesday 11th April at 4pm. The theme is High Tea and I’d love to see any posts you have that fit in with this idea. It could be cupcakes you’ve made, your favourite teacups, paintings, what you’d wear to a tea party, a tea-party tutorial, recipes, photographs – anything goes, as long as it’s on a teatime foodie theme!

    The party’s on until Friday 13th at 4pm, so you have plenty of time to find your favourite posts. The linky party will be a bi-weekly affair so hopefully I’ll see you at one or two of them. Have a great day!

    – Sarah :)

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