I had trouble coming up with a theme for this particular Mad Men Monday. Sure, there was a bar or two filled with alcohol and Roger had Smirnoff on his. (Did you catch the Smirnoff ad?) I even debated on offering up a recipe for eggnog, but I can’t really get into the holiday spirit just yet.
Really, what I saw going on in this episode was a series of overindulgences. Keeping in mind that I’m all for indulging yourself, but between the smoking and the drinking … wow. This episode took a couple of vices to a new level.
Peggy herself summed up this episode when she was brainstorming copy for Pond’s, “Indulge yourself.”
Overindulging was everywhere. Even in the meeting with the good marketing doctor and the staff, Harry rather overindulged in the cookies. The counterbalance to the episode was the return of Freddy who is a bit of a caricature of himself, with all his comments to Peggy and the way he blatantly took over her desk. But he’s not drinking and is obviously very involved in AA.
Which brings us to Roger, doesn’t it? Roger took the Pond’s client out to lunch and apparently got the client hammered (as well as himself), not realizing the client was a recovering alcoholic. It makes you wonder about our cast a bit. Roger was hammered at lunch, and followed it up with drinking some Maalox. Hammered again at the holiday party and picked himself up the next morning with some hair-of-the-dog. Yep, the morning after the party, Roger was walking around with vodka on the rocks. Now, I suppose that could have been water, but what do you think? I like Peggy’s comment after Roger’s lunch: “Can you believe that’s his job?”
Then there is Don, who had to be helped into his apartment two nights in a row by two different lovely ladies. (I bet Phoebe plays a bigger role in his future, don’t you think?) But he was bordering on a bit pathetic in this episode.
Perhaps because of a YouTube video I came across this week (embedded below), I was also hyper-aware of the overindulging in cigarettes in this episode. Of course, Lucky Strike is 69% of their business (including Pond’s), but Lee showed up to the party drunk and proceeded to encourage the overindulgence, delivering everyone a giant box of Lucky Strikes for Christmas. The office party was literally a haze of cigarette smoke. And I have to worry that Don is eventually going to pass out cold with a cigarette in his hand and burn down the entire apartment complex.
In this episode the entire office overindulged, which is fine. Christmas parties tend to bring that out in people. We all know I’m fine with overindulging a bit, and at least no one was driving in this episode. But wow … I really have to worry about some of the characters – Don, in particular, is obviously drinking himself into oblivion to forget. Roger is more subtle, sometimes, but still quite the drunk.
One final thought. Sally was a lot less creepy this episode, and a lot cuter. But goodness, Glenn the Uber-Creepy kid down the street is back and he’s taken his own brand of creepy to a whole new level. I get that they’re bonding over the divorce and things. I know it’s hard for them. But still … Glenn is going to undoubtedly end up in prison before he’s 18. *shudder*
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 …)
When 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?
Last night’s Mad Men was amazingly depressing. Not only did it bring back memories, for me, of how I reacted to 9/11, it was just plain sad. And could someone please explain to me why, despite the fact that he is a jerk and, at most, an anti-hero, I still want everything to turn out all right for Don Draper?
What did they have to drink last night? Well, there was “red wine,” which isn’t helpful. There was a return to champagne coupes for the wedding toast. There were nameless mixed drinks, made by a cast that is extremely skillful at hiding the bottle label from me.
But I’m settling on the hot cocoa, because it’s comforting. In the beginning of the episode, Pete’s assistant wakes him up and offers him a hot cocoa. It’s instant, made with water and not milk, but the thought is nice.
Personally, I’m not a coffee drinker (unless it’s an Irish Coffee). All year long I live on hot tea and/or chai, usually with milk for that latte kick. Around this time of year, I start breaking out the hot chocolate. Now, I agree with Pete – the best hot chocolate is made with milk. I even have a Hot Chocolate Maker that perfectly mixes and heats the milk and cocoa powder (it also works with Oregon Chai and milk).
But in the evenings, sometimes I want to add a kick. I thought I’d list my three favorite additives for hot cocoa. I’d love to hear yours in the comments;
What are your favorite mixers in warm drinks? You can’t go wrong with bourbon and honey in hot tea or Irish Whiskey and cream in coffee. Any other ideas?
Last night our favorite couple took a whirlwind trip to Rome during a hot summer at home. When Betty first arrives at her table, looking all Audrey Hepburn, she orders (in fluent Italian), a glass of Asti Spumante.
The first thing into my head is the jingle from when I was a little girl: "Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante, a celebration in a glass." I searched all over The Internets and could not find that ad anywhere (although I was highly amused by a few Angie Dickinson, Burt Bacharach, and Jaclyn Smith Martini & Rossi ads). I did find one with the right attitude though:
Are you done laughing now? I laugh nonstop every time I watch it. And don't you just want to break into the jingle there at the end?
Thanks to years of ads like the one you just watched, Asti Spumante gets a pretty bad rap, and in fact, most of it is mass produced. Betty should have ordered a Moscato d'Asti.
Both Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti are made from the Moscato Bianco grape and come from an area to the south of the town of Asti in Piedmont, Italy. How is Moscato d'Asti different? Well, aside from smaller production, Moscato d'Asti is lighter, more fizzy than bubbly.
Additionally, the production process is different. After all, there's more fizz than foam in a Moscato d'Asti. When making our moscato of choice, the winemakers stop the fermentation earlier than they do with a Spumante. The result? Less sugar is consumed by the yeast, so you get a sweeter, low alcohol wine.
A Moscato d'Asti is a drink-now sort of wine, tasting fresh and easy. It's a perfect light summer drink, for instance. And of course, perfect if you're in Rome in August.
Last night's Mad Men featured Don drinking a Budweiser and later, an office party with champagne. While it's great that Bud was around in 1963, I'm not sure it's changed all that much, so let's focus on the champagne and, in particular, the glasses.
Peggy: "This is good champagne."
Don: "I don't think so."
Maybe Don likes small-grower champagnes (or he's just irritated with management). As far as I can tell (by pausing and peering intently at my television), the British management of Sterling Cooper brought in a case or so of orange label Veuve Clicquot, which currently retails for around $75-$110.
What I really want to talk about isn't the expensive champagne, but the glasses from which they drank it. More often than not, we drink our champagne today out of flutes, but in Mad Men, they're using coupes throughout the doomed office party.
The champagne coupe has a wonderful legend associated with it, but unfortunately, it's just a legend. It's said that the shape of the glass was molded on the breast of Marie Antoinette, or occasionally, Madame de Pompadour. While romantic, it remains just a myth.
The coupe was designed in 17th century England and came into fashion again in the 1930s. However, it's not a recommended glass for the drink – it simply looks pretty. The broad surface means the bubbles disappear faster. The preferred glass is a champagne flute, a tall skinny glass that is designed to increase the flow of bubbles to the top and that helps concentrate the aromas of the wine.
It really does make a difference. About a year ago, Kevin and I experimented with several types of glassware, including an old champagne coupe. Aside from being hard to handle (the champagne sloshed out of the glass), the champagne went "flat" a lot faster in the coupe than in the flute.
When it comes down to it, I'll drink champagne taking swigs from the bottle, if need be. But I'm often reminded that glassware really is something to consider when tasting wine.
Wine Competitions Wine Judging Weblogs Wine Book Club (WBC) Readings Whiskey Watch Wine Clubs Games Books RIP Repost Wine Maps Wine Glossary WBW #65 Web/Tech TasteCamp Marketing Uncategorized Legislation Florida Recipes Recession Wine Meet the Winemaker Holiday Greatest Hits Drink Pink! (BCRF) Television Photos Current Affairs Spirits Wine Shop Wednesday Contests Scotch & Whiskey History Disney Mad Men Monday Wine Tech Food and Wine Pairings Guest Writers Pop Culture Food and Drink Wine Blogs Knowledge Entertainment Dinner and Drinks Life Charity Benefits News Cocktails Beer-Guy.net Beer Special Events WBW Local Wineries Wine Shops Restaurants Travel Wine Notes Wineries Wine Events Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events Wine Misc Local Tastings Cincinnati