There wasn’t much happening drink-wise in Episode 5. That was fine. There was a lot of heavy history happening in that episode – I’ll forgive them a lack of cocktails. That brings us to episode 6, where Roger starts picking up clients in airport lounges.
The orders start with Roger drinking (ewww) water with an onion and ordering a Jim Beam, double, for his friend. I was all set to tell you all about the history of Jim Beam, but then something interesting happened. Bert ordered a spirits of elderflower. Let’s talk about that.
Elderflower liqueur is one of my favorites. I love to ask a craft bartender to create a drink for me – whatever they want – using elderflower. I’ve also used it in sugar cookies and it’s quite tasty. The brand you’ll see on the shelf most often these days is St-Germain. If you’re familiar with Paris, you’re probably already recognizing the name of the famous street, St Germain, where Hemingway wrote and Picasso painted. The St-Germain web site describes its signature liqueur as follows:
“It has been said that Paris is a mélange curieux, a curious mixture of flavors, styles and influences. So it is with St-Germain.”
Technically, the liqueur is made from elderberries, but you’ll taste everything from flowers to peaches to grapefruits in the liqueur. Honestly, I enjoy drinking it on its own. It’s also quite wonderful mixed with champagne or sparkling wine. Here’s the classic St Germain cocktail, straight from their web site.
I was so tickled by their “variation” that I grabbed the thing as an image instead of retyping. Have a laugh … and have a cocktail.
Oh yes. This week Ted (Peggy’s boss) ordered a non-existent cocktail.
Yep – non-existent. In fact, this cocktail was invented on 30 Rock and sounds, well, awful. Technically, it’s a mix of red wine, tonic water, and olives. Ewww. That said, I still went looking to see what was out there of if anyone had tried it. Happily, I discovered that Kindred Cocktails has actually tried to make this drinkable:
In the last season of 30 Rock, Cooter Burger introduces Jack Donaghy to the Old Spanish, a cocktail of his own invention composed of red wine, tonic water, and olives. Later, Mad Men paid tribute by having unctuous ad man Ted Chaough order an Old Spanish and receive a drink matching that description. We’ve decided to imagine what that drink might have looked like if it were a true old style Spanish aperitivo rather than a clumsy disaster; a craft Old Spanish, if you like. Thus: sherry for wine and brine, Cynar for bitter, Cava for bubbles, cassis to round it all off.
The Old Spanish as reimagined by Kindred Cocktail:
1 1/2 oz Sherry
3/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Cassis
1 splash Cava (sparkling Spanish wine)
2 olives used on the rim, as garnish
1 twist lemon peel, expressed and discarded
Stir with ice, strain, coupe.
Splash Cava. Twist, and garnish with olives on the rim.
Up the sherry to 2oz for a less bitter cocktail. For a stiffer drink, add .5 oz Spanish brandy.
It’s not the first time over the last 6 seasons that Don has ordered an Old Fashioned. I am happy, however, that he still does. For a while there, the show was overrun with Seagram’s alcohol and Johnnie Walker. It just got hard to write about things. However, this was just a nice, simple Old Fashioned.
In 1935, my grandpa was a bartender. I currently have a couple of his bartending books, published in the 20s and 30s. I know Old Fashioneds have changed a bit since cocktails have become such an art, but I still like to page through the old books. This recipe (use the bourbon of your choice) really gets to the simplicity of the cocktail.
From “Old Mr. Boston DeLuxe Official Bartenders Guide,” 1935:
1/2 lump of sugar
2 dashes bitters
1 jigger water
Muddle well, then add a jigger of Old Mr. Boston Rye or Bourbon Whiskey and a large cube of ice.
Stir very well and decorate with a slice of Orange, a twist of Lemon Peel, and a cherry.
Serve in an Old Fashioned Cocktail glass.
Since the site has been down, I’ve fallen behind on Mad Men. But I do have a few cocktail notes for the current season!
In the first and second episodes (the 2 hour season premiere), the doorman has gifted Don and Megan with a bottle of Galliano, which they open on New Year’s Eve, 1967.
Galliano is an herbal liqueur from Italy. It’s known for it’s bright yellow hue and distinct tall bottle. According to Wikipedia, the color symbolizes the Gold Rush of the 1890s. The exact recipe for original Galliano is considered a “closely guarded secret,” but the flavors include vanilla, star anise, ginger, citrus, juniper and lavender. All of these natural ingredients are infused into neutral alcohol, with the exception of the vanilla. The vanilla comes later, when the alcohol is distilled and then infused with vanilla. I haven’t yet had Galliano, but now I’d like to try a sip. There are cocktails made with the drink, although in the photo above, Megan is serving it straight in simple aperitif glasses.
From the Galliano site (because it’s hot here and this looks amazingly cool and refreshing):
1.5 tbsp Galliano Vanilla
1 tbsp Limoncello
Top off with Prosecco
Build the ingredients in an ice-filled glass and garnish with orange or lime wheels.
That’s right. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen last evening’s episode.
Before I get into the cocktails, was anyone else shocked when Don took a temporary turn for the dark side last night? I hadn’t expected him to sleep with Andrea, let alone strangle her. I was, of course, relieved to discover it was a fever-induced delusion. But perhaps we did take a turn for the darker side of things last night. Don has discovered that it is probably within him to kill someone who might destroy his happiness. Sally has been exposed to the “real world,” with the brutal murder of 8 nursing school students in Chicago. To combat this? Grandma just splits a sleeping pill with her. So yeah, maybe we are walking a bit on the dark side this season. I said to someone this morning that I find the 60s to be one of the most confusing times. Civil rights, the beginnings of the women’s movement, the shadows of different wars hanging over the country like a spectre, whether it’s Viet Nam or WWII. I can’t imagine growing up in the middle of all that, and I wonder how it will affect Sally.
Then there is Joan. She has her own darkness with which to contend. In case we’d forgotten what an ass her husband is, the writers brought him back for an episode. I admit, I’d been waiting to find out he’d been killed in action. I’d forgotten that he has very low self-esteem, that he failed at landing the job of his dreams, and that he made up for the lack of faith in himself by raping his now-wife. Joan hadn’t forgotten. “You were never a good man.” Go Joanie! I was rooting for her! I get that he re-upped because the military is the first place he’s felt useful and knowledgeable. That counts for a lot. But Joan is right; that’s just not a decision you make without consulting your wife. I wonder if now that she’s kicked him out if they’ll get a divorce or if the writers will kill him off. Either way, Joan is effectively a single mom now , and lest we forget, that’s really Roger’s baby.
When Joan first found out about the re-upping, they were in a restaurant with her in-laws. Everyone else ordered wine. “That one,” he said, pointing at the menu. We never did find out what wine “that one” might be. Joan, however, bucked the wine trend and ordered a gin fizz, so that’s what we’ll talk about today.
Sloe Gin Fizz (from Cocktail Times)
Sloe Gin is a red gin-based liqueur infused with sloe berries. It is usually bottled at between 15 to 30 percent alcohol by volume. Some sloe gins are made with neutral spirit flavored with sloe berries.
Garnish: orange slice and maraschino cherry
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange slice and cherry.
Ramos Gin Fizz (from Gumbopages.com)
Years ago, Kevin and I spent New Year’s Eve at the cocktail lounge in Arnaud’s in New Orleans. I drank a variety of champagne cocktails, but the bartender took Kevin on his own personal tour of New Orleans cocktails. The one that sticks with me is the Ramos Gin Fizz because it was the first drink I’d seen ever made with an egg white. The drink was invented in the 1880s by Henry Ramos at New Orleans’ Meyer’s Restaurant. It later became the signature drink of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans and New York, thanks to Governor Huey Long, who happened to be a fan. This recipe calls for shaking at least one minute. I’ve read that you can shake up to 10 minutes and because of that, it often takes a bartending team to make a large number of Ramos Gin Fizzes.
According to Gumbopages.com, you need to be very careful when adding orange flower water to the drink because it can easily overwhelm the cocktail.
Shake all ingredients except the soda water WITHOUT ICE very vigorously for at least one minute, preferably longer — the longer the better. Then add ice and shake for 1-2 minutes, as long as you can manage, until extremely cold and frothy. Strain into a tall thin glass, or a very large old fashioned glass, and top with soda water. Stir gently.
My thanks also to GumboPages, who pointed me towards this great video on making a Ramos Gin Fizz:
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