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Sep 06

Mad Men Monday: Happy Birthday Peggy!

Poor Peggy. Yes, last night’s episode cemented Don and Peggy’s friendship, but the poor girl. On her 26th birthday, she’s stuck taking care of both Duck and Don, two drunk, lost, middle-aged men. I do like that she asked Don, “How long are you going to go on like this?” At least someone is honest with him.

I’ve always liked their friendship and always imagined that Don sees himself in Peggy. They’ve always turned to each other for help out of predicaments, whether its getting Don out of jail or visiting Peggy in the hospital.

Peggy didn’t have much of a birthday celebration, but at least Don took her out for a drink. I’m pretty sure she had a Manhattan. Considering that the guys on this show have pretty much devolved into drinking  bourbon/whiskey/vodka on the rocks, no mixing, I saw her Manhattan as a ray of light.

Birthday Drinks

So happy birthday Peggy! Here’s the recipe for a Manhattan from a cocktail class I took from Josh Durr (although I suspect Peggy’s Manhattan was made with Canadian Club):

To get a little more detailed, I refer you to my original post on the Manhattan, as made by Josh Durr. Because of that class, I’m now very specific with my Manhattan order: “Four Roses or Woodford Manhattan, up, and stirred please.”

  • 1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • Dashes of Angostura bitters (or home made)

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sounds easy, right? Josh commented that you should always use high-quality bourbon, vermouth, and bitters. He goes so far as to make his own tinctures, including bitters, but we aren’t all so dedicated. An interesting tip is that you can replace the vermouth with Elderflower liqueur for a twist on the classic Manhattan.

When you stir the Manhattan, consistently and quietly stir to chill down the drink. Josh recommended making the drink in a pint glass and pouring it out through a double-strainer.

What did you think of last night’s character study of Peggy and Don?

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 1:26 pm in Cocktails, Mad Men Monday | Permalink | Comments ()
Aug 16

Mad Men Monday: Cocktail Culture iPhone App

The folks at Mad Men are making it hard for me to write this weekly column. I blame the marketing folks who have turned Don from a bourbon and rye drinker into a Canadian Club drinker this season. It does seem to be the drink of choice in his office.

I do realize that Pete ordered a Dewar’s on the rocks, but do you really want me to struggle through scotch again? Instead, I noticed an ad go by for the Mad Men Cocktail Couture iPhone app. Well, I don’t have an iPhone, but I have an iPad, so I downloaded it and started to play.

The app is restricted by age, so keep that in mind. Can’t have the kiddies downloading the cocktail guide, you know. It is a cocktail guide, but it’s also a game.

You get one “drink” for free – Betty’s vodka gimlet.  The point of the game is to mix the drinks, including shaking your iDevice and pouring, using the correct amount of each ingredients. The novice level pretty much tells you what goes into the drink and then you just need to remember. The expert level expects you to know. (So, Molly and Josh, you guys better rock at Expert level of this game.)

I like that the game tells you where or who to associate the drink with in the show. For instance, Betty has had a vodka gimlet when out with Don and when she went to pick up a guy in a bar.

In order to score points you have to use the accelerometer in the phone to pour the exact amount of vodka, which is fun. If a shaker is required, you have to shake the phone, and so on.

At the end of it all, assuming you have made a successful cocktail, you can tip your iDevice and “drink” your creation.

The game really is fun and it does include recipes, which could be useful on the spot, but off the top you can only access the vodka gimlet. To view and play the 20 other cocktails (including a Manhattan, Tom Collins, and Old Fashioned), you need to pay $1.99. I have mixed emotions about this. In essence, you’re paying AMC and iTunes $1.99 to be marketed to. On the other hand, if Don Draper were working for Ogilvie or BBDO in 2010, he’d probably think that was a great idea. It does sort of work with the show.

As far as the show last night, I’m rooting for Peggy. I rather like that she’s stumbling into 60s era “fun” New York and is seeing a little more of what’s out there beyond a husband, kids, and house in the suburbs. Allison? Well, she should have known better than to even assume there was a chance with Don. Let’s just cross our fingers that she isn’t pregnant. Why can’t all of the office girls be as in control of themselves as Joan? Finally, I sort of miss Betty. There’s a certain brand of evil that she has mastered and I miss seeing it. Based on next week’s show, she may be back in the picture a bit. What did you think of last night’s episode?

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 11:53 am in Cocktails, Entertainment, Games, Mad Men Monday, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (13)
Jul 26

Mad Men Mondays: On the Rocks

Appointment television began again for me last night with the return of Mad Men, and of course, Mad Men Mondays! If you’re new to the blog, I try to fill you in a little bit on whatever our favorite ad men had to drink on the most recent episode. Sometimes they disappoint me, and I never catch a name or a label. Sometimes, it’s an amazing selection of potential bottles and cocktails.

Last night fell somewhere in the middle. Everyone was drinking something on the rocks, but it was primarily Don. In the past, he’s definitely been a bourbon and whiskey guy. Last night, they very purposely let us see the bottle of Canadian Club. (Think, for a moment, how liquor brands must be lining up to get their label on this show …)

Don Draper and Canadian ClubWhen I think of Canadian Club, I think of my Grandma. She always had some sitting around (although she was more of a bourbon girl – I take after Grandma). But Canadian Club has been around forever. It was originally created in 1858 in Detroit by distiller Hiram Walker. But even in the 1850s, the winds of Prohibition were beginning to blow. Hiram moved his distillery across the border to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Walker aged his whiskey in oak barrels for a minimum of five years, which was revolutionary at the time. By doing this, he was able to pitch his whiskey as a premium drink. It became quite the rage in Gentlemen’s Clubs across the US and Canada, thus becoming Club whiskey. American distillers insisted that the word “Canadian” be included on the label, in hopes to deter people (buy American!). It didn’t work out quite as planned, however, and Canadian Club became an exclusive and sought after beverage. During Prohibition, one of Walker’s biggest clients was Al Capone, who made a fortune smuggling Canadian Club into Chicago from Windsor.

I suppose it’s only appropriate that Don has a bottle of Canadian Club on his office bar.

Roger, on the other hand, is a vodka drinker. Last season he was pretty excited over a bottle of Stoli vodka, another bit of alcohol that’s been around a while. There is, of course, some Stoli on Don’s office bar, apparently just for Roger.

Stoli (or rather, Stolichnaya) was introduced to the world sometime in the mid-1940s, although the actual date is under debate. Produced in Russia, it is fermented with wheat and rye grains, as well as artesian water from the Kaliningrad area. Once fermentation is complete, the spirit is distilled four times before being diluted with more fancy water.

Stoli was pretty hard to get in the 1960s, so when Roger scored his bottle or so last season, it was quite a coup. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Pepsi struck a bargain with the Russian government to export Stoli to the west on a regular basis.

On a final note about the show, am I the only one really creeped out by little Sally?

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Cocktails, Entertainment, Mad Men Monday, Television | Permalink | Comments (5)
Jun 03

Sipping Summer Cocktails

Once again I’ve been deluged with press releases. This time, however, the makers of 1800 Tequila and Three Olives vodka sent me some recipes worth sharing. These cocktails, all of which can be made in bulk for your summer bbq, are the perfect antidote to a hot day.

If this Sangria doesn’t do it for you, I have recipes for Blush, Red, and White Sangria that I’ve made for years and that I swear by.

1800 Sunrise Sangria
1 orange
1 lime
1 750ml bottle pink Prosecco (or cava, or other sparkling wine)
1 cup 1800 Tequila
2 cups lemon lime soda (or ginger ale)
1 Bosc pear, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pint raspberries

Slice half the orange into circles then slice in half to form half moons.  Squeeze the second half into a large pitcher filled with ice.  Do the same with the lime. Add the Prosecco, soda, and the 1800 to the pitcher and gently combine. Add fruit and serve.

1800 Sunrise Sangria

1800 Sunrise Sangria

Mango Sweet Tea
2 ounces Three Olives Mango, chilled
6 ounces Sweet Tea, chilled

Add the Three-O Mango and tea to a tall glass filled with ice; stir well. Garnish, if desired, with a slice of mango.

Mango Sweet Tea

Minted Pomegranate Lemonade
1 cup (packed) mint leaves, chopped
⅔ cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon slices
1 ½ cups Three Olives Pomegranate

Combine chopped mint and sugar in large bowl. Stir in lemon slices and Three-O Pomegranate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Strain mixture into pitcher. Fill six 6- to 8-ounce glasses with crushed ice. Pour mixture over. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Minted Lemonade

Minted Pomegranate Lemonade

Tropical Tequila Punch
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup 1800 Tequila
1 ½ tablespoons thawed frozen passion fruit juice concentrate
½ teaspoon fresh lime juice

In a highball glass, mix all ingredients. Fill the glass with ice cubes; stir to blend. Garnish with a fresh pineapple spear.

Tropical Tequila Punch

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 11:40 am in Cocktails | Permalink | Comments ()
May 27

SATC2 Cocktails!

I admit that I enjoyed the Sex & the City tv series. In fact, it was the SATC girls who introduced me to what may be my favorite cocktail of all time: the Bellini.

The SATC movie (the first one) didn’t appeal to me. I was watching it while luckily flying first class to San Francisco and despite the free flowing wine and halfway decent food you get in first class, I still lost about 2 hours of my life to that movie. That said, the trailers alone for SATC2 look better than any of the first movie. My fingers are crossed.

Anyway, I sort of owe those lovely ladies for introducing me to the Bellini. I was inundated with press releases this week about the second movie release. Two of those press releases included some decent cocktail recipes, which I’ll share.

(Oh, and before you ladies ask – I’m a “Charlotte.” I love her clothes and her attitude.)

The first is a cocktail created by the mixologists at The London NYC – The Sexy London.

The Sexy London

2 oz. Green Cardamom Infused Vodka
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Rose Syrup
1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz. Lime Juice
1 pinch of mint

Shake and strain into martini glass!

Next, of course, variations on the Cosmopolitan – often a favorite of the SATC girls.

The Cosmopolitan Dreams (created by Dale DeGroff)

3/4 ounce Citrus Vodka
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Cranberry juice
1/4 ounce Fresh lime juice
2 1/2 ounces Piper Heidsieck Champagne

Assemble the vodka, Cointreau, and juices in a boston shaker with ice and shake well to chill.

Strain into a champagne glass and fill with champagne.  Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

The Original Cosmopolitan (created by Dale DeGroff)

1 1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz cranberry juice
3/4 oz lime juice

Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with a twist of orange

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Posted by Michelle at 9:33 am in Cocktails, Entertainment, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (1)

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