Mad Men-Inspired Hosting Tips

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Hard to accept, but AMC's blockbuster hit series and Emmy award-winning show Mad Men will premiere its final season this Sunday, April 5. In honor of our favorite ad agency stars closing out the 1960s with their patented brand of drama and cocktail swilling, here's our guide—featuring tips, cocktails and recipes—to throwing a perfectly sophisticated cocktail party that would make Betty Draper proud.


Hosting Basics

Set the mood. While guests are arriving, play both volumes of the Mad Men soundtrack, featuring the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Bobby Vinton and Peter, Paul and Mary, among others. 

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. In addition, 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).

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. 

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.


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Mad Men-Inspired Hosting Tips

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