Mad Men Entertaining Tips

Kick off the two-hour, Jon Hamm-directed season premiere of the Emmy-award winning drama on March 25, 2012 with these party tips and recipes that pay homage to the 60s.


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Mail your invites. Send out your invitations the old-fashioned way—with a stamp. If you can’t find vintage cards, finestationary.com offers a selection of retro-inspired cocktail invites that are perfect for a 60s-style soirée. Be sure to call out the dress code in the card: Brylcreem-gelled hair and grey flannel for the fellows, wasp-waisted dresses for the dames.

Set the mood. While guests are arriving, play the Mad Men soundtrack. Volumes 1 and 2 are available on amazon.com and iTunes.

Play up the favors. Leave out brandy snifters filled with World Confections Inc.’s bubble gum cigarettes—the penny candy with a cloud of candy “smoke” or colorful Nat Sherman Fantasias cigarettes, which are reminiscent of Roger and Jane’s Derby Day party from season three.

Put out finger foods. “It’s a chip and dip! You have friends over. You put chips on the sides and dip in the middle,” said Pete Campbell in season one. Even he knows that get-togethers begin with bowls of chips and spinach dip. With that, you can offer shrimp cocktail and bowls of cheese straws, olives and Marcona almonds. For a period-appropriate centerpiece, try Betty Crocker’s Liverwurst Pâté, straight out of Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook (McGraw-Hill, 1961) (recipe below).

Beertend. For your beer-drinking guests, evoke Betty’s “around the world dinner” from season two by offering bottles of Pilsner from Holland and perhaps another international beer. Fill a vintage galvanized pail full of ice cubes and Heineken.

Mix classic cocktails. Cocktails have evolved since the days of absinthe substitutes and maraschino cherries. For authenticity’s sake, resist recipes from modern mixology and instead consult Old Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide (Mr. Boston Distiller Inc., 1966) to whip up some old-fashioned libations (recipes below).

Stock the bar. Don’t forget to leave your bar cart stocked with gin, vodka and vermouth, plus olives, lemon twists and cocktail onions for guests who want to mix their own Gibsons and martinis.

Liverwurst Pâté

Adapted from Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook (McGraw-Hill, 1961)

Cream cheese topping (see recipe below)
1 pound liverwurst, mashed with a fork
1 clove garlic, pressed
½ teaspoon dried sweet basil
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 can (1½ ounces) black caviar
Minced parsley, for garnish

For cream cheese topping:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 garlic clove, pressed
Dash Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon mayonnaise

To make the cream cheese topping: Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly. Set aside.

To make the pâté: Combine the liverwurst, garlic, basil and onion and mix thoroughly. Mold the mixture into an igloo shape on a serving plate. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Once chilled, spread the cream cheese topping over the liverwurst. Add and spread the caviar. Garnish with minced parsley. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers.

The Tom Collins

Courtesy Old Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide (Mr. Boston Distiller Inc., 1966)

Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
2 ounces dry gin
Carbonated water, to top
Lemon slice, for garnish
Orange slice, for garnish
Cherry, for garnish

Combine the lemon juice, powered sugar and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a 12-ounce Tom Collins glass. Add several cubes of ice, top with the carbonated water and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon, orange and a cherry. Serve with a straw.

Peggy Cocktail

Courtesy Old Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide (Mr. Boston Distiller Inc., 1966)

¾ ounce dry vermouth
1½ ounces dry gin
¼ teaspoon absinthe or absinthe substitute
¼ teaspoon Dubonnet

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass.

Between The Sheets Cocktail

Courtesy Old Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide (Mr. Boston Distiller Inc., 1966)

Juice of ¼ lemon
½ ounce brandy
½ ounce triple sec
½ ounce light rum

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass.

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