We’re back! After more than 500 Mad Men-free days, Season 5 returned last night with a two-hour episode.
There’s so much I could talk about in our 1966 episode: Joan’s baby, Don’s marriage, the missing Betty and Henry, the fact that the wardrobe people didn’t give Peggy a new dress … But I’m here to write about the alcohol our overindulgent friends imbibe.
It’s going to be another frustrating season for me from the alcohol standpoint, unless the writers start adding in more cocktails to the mix. It looks like Mad Men retained the sponsorship of certain companies, therefore on every bar you will see any combination of Wild Turkey (Don and Peggy), Macallan (Pete) and Stoli (Roger), amongst others.
What I really want to talk about … and what completely captured me in this episode, is Megan’s surprise party for Don. The artistic direction behind the entire party sequence just blew me away – from the cocktails and the clothing to the music and then entire set and blocking. You see, one of my all-time favorite artists is Shag. All I could think of when I watched the party scene was that it was a Shag painting brought to life.
Don’s loft alone was simply stunning. Pure 1960s Manhattan goodness … the perfect lifestyle for the 40-year old ad executive/part-time dad and his 26-yr-old secretary turned wife.
Megan, at 26, wants to party. She simply cannot comprehend how Don, at 40, has no interest. She also doesn’t seem to get that her little rendition of Zou Bisou Bisou was just slightly inappropriate, enticing every man (except Don) in the room and slightly horrifying the women. (As an aside, I truly loved her dress.)
Per usual in this show, we can’t see what type of wine our girls (in this case, Jane) might be drinking. We know it’s red. I was happy to see it’s in a decanter though (see the above “bar” photo). I want to believe that Don has a nice cellar somewhere in that Shagadelic loft and that perhaps it’s an older bottle that Megan pulled and appropriately decanted to open up the vintage.
The cocktails at the party were endless. I saw a Manhattan (Trudy), Roger’s vodka martini, a sidecar, and of course, a lot of bourbon on the rocks. I also glimpsed some red wine and beer, although I couldn’t read the label.
What I found fascinating is that while there was a live band, there wasn’t a bartender. Yet everyone there was adept at making cocktails. Pete easily tossed together a Manhattan and someone made Ken’s wife a sidecar without a problem. Today we have amazing people who are “mixologists,” making us cocktails. But with the exception of when I get to hang out at Julie’s place, I know of very few people who can actually toss together a sidecar, a manhattan, or even a simple martini without grabbing a recipe. The everyday art of making and consuming cocktails has been lost in exchange for two-ingredient mixers.
Next week we should get to see more of Betty, and perhaps further along a little bit of Peggy’s story. I’m holding out hope for the return of Faye, the brilliant analyst from last season who was so cruelly dumped by Don. We’ve got Roger’s baby to content with and Lane’s weird new obsession with a woman he’s never met. As far as this blog goes, I’ve already started researching the history of the martini. Season 5 is shaping up to be quite interesting!
Welcome to Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide. Every year I poll a large group of wine bloggers and find out if there are any outstanding tips, which I add to my own. This year, I’ve added new tips based on my experience pouring wines for the last two years. I’m sad to say that I’m missing the Wine Festival for the first time in years. It makes me sad, but it snuck up on me and I’m currently in San Francisco. I’m leaving Festival reporting to the capable hands of Kevin, Cresta, and Angela.
Please realize that these tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered. If insanely drunk is your goal, well … get a cab and/or a hotel.
So in no particular order, here are my tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
If you haven’t purchased your wine festival tickets yet, head on over to Winefestival.com. The Cincinnati Wine Festival is one of the best in the nation and draws high-end distributors and winemakers. You shouldn’t miss it.
Additionally, the Wine Festival organizers have put the wine tasting floor plan online for you to download. It’s a bit hard to find on their site, but you can download it through this link.
Dilly Cafe is having its own series of events starting this Saturday, where you can meet 3 winemakers in 9 days. For more information, visit their web site or call 513.561.5233.
Saturday, March 3, Free tasting with McNab Ridge Winery and Owner/Winemaker Rich Parducci
1:00 to 4:00 pm, $10 per person
No reservation needed
Thursday, March 8, 6:30 pm
Winery dinner with Austria’s Höpler Winery and Owner/Winemaker Christof Höpler
$40 per person, all inclusive
Sunday, March 11, 11 am
Winemaker’s Brunch with Graziano Family of Wines and Owner/Winemaker Gregory Graziano$50 per person, all inclusive
Not all of the Wine Festival sponsored winery dinners are sold out just yet, and this year five of the dinners are featuring Vintner Select, which is a local and excellent wine distributor. In attendance at each of the dinners to talk about the highlighted wines will be a special guest from the winery or specific wine portfolio (Spain or Italy), as well as a Vintner Select representative. All of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at different restaurants around the city. Ticket prices range from $125 to $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations for each dinner are required. For more information on the menus and to make reservations, click here.
March 8 Winery Dinners and corresponding wine speakers include:
With all the holiday parties and excessive drinking to make it easier to hang out with relatives, I just wanted to post a reminder to stay safe.
I’m currently in San Francisco, where it’s fairly easy to find public transportation or catch a cab (or an Uber car). But there are cabs in Cincinnati too.
If you’ve got a smartphone, be it an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone (or anything else), there is most likely a taxi app for your phone. No kidding. Go to the iTunes store and search for “taxi.” It’s ridiculous the number of apps that are available. I prefer to use Taxi Magic out here in San Francisco, and in Cincinnati, I always preferred Cab4Me.
The various taxi apps use your GPS or cell signal to figure out where you are, and then shows you a list of local cab companies. If you’re traveling, this is a godsend. After all, you might find yourself standing on a street corner in a strange city, wondering where in the world all the cabs have gone. If that happens, it’s handy to have an app that will tell you not only what the nearest cab companies are, but where the nearest taxi stand is located.
According to the Cab4Me web site:
If a cab company is found in our database, you can get additional information like available car types or payment methods. If we do not have a cab company for your area, a local web search is performed. You will always get a result. In the Favorites tab you can quickly access your favorite companies and the recent tab shows companies you recently called.
Isn’t that great? You’ll even be able to request a minivan so that you and all of your slightly tipsy friends can pile into the same cab.
On New Year’s Eve, you can also generally call Care Cab, a joint venture between AAA and MADD.
Regardless of how you find a cab, just make sure you find one. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, and enjoy yourself a lot – just be safe about it.
After the jump, you’ll find a list of some cab companies in Cincinnati, in case you want to add some to your Contacts. Read the rest of this entry »
Ages ago, when it was still insanely warm outside, someone from Morton’s excitedly contacted me, wanting me to write about their seasonal cocktail. And no matter how yummy that cocktail sounded, I stuck to my guns. Just like my beloved Nordstrom’s, Wine-Girl celebrates one holiday at a time.
But … it’s almost Thanksgiving week and, as relatives descend upon you, you just might be craving something to get you into the holiday spirit (goodness, I need the help!). Morton’s does have the perfect cocktail right now.
The signature cocktail, called a Sparkling Cinnamon Apple, features Lunetta Prosecco, Lindeman’s Pomme (Green Apple) Lambic, Monin Honey Syrup and homemade, hand shaken whipped cream. (We’ve got the recipe below!)
The Sparkling Cinnamon Apple cocktail is $14 and is available through Dec 31 at the Morton’s The Steakhouse downtown location in Carew Tower, overlooking Fountain Square and I assume at most Morton’s locations the nation over.
4 ounces Lunetta Prosecco
2 ounces Lindemans Pomme (Green Apple) Lambic
½ ounce Monin Honey Syrup
2 ounces hand shaken whipped cream
Dip rim of champagne flute into honey syrup and then into cinnamon sugar to rim the glass. Pour honey syrup, Prosecco and lambic into a shaker over ice. Stir with spoon 10 times. Strain into champagne flute. Top with 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon sugar.
Homemade Whipped Cream
Makes six toppings
4 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 dash vanilla
Pour all ingredients into shaker. Shake vigorously 25 times. Spoon 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream on top of cocktail. Refrigerate and reshake as needed.
Cocktail created by Morton’s Vice President Wine & Spirits, Tylor Field and Mixologist and Certified Sommelier, Sara Fasolino.
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