Classic Cocktails: Mad Men Style

Mad Men Don Draper

Mad Men Don Draper

Photo courtesy of AMC Television

The return of Mad Men Sunday night is the perfect excuse to get out of your nightly lounge wear (yoga pants and waffle tee for this girl) shimmy into a shift, kitten heels, and a strand of pearls and enjoy a night with Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce.

It’s easy to create whimsy around the everyday events of our lives. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal—you’re cooking dinner anyway— why not have fun with it?  All that’s required is a little creativity, a sense of humor and for this particular occasion, a well stocked bar.

Plan a fun night, even if it’s just for you and your significant other or a few close friends. Tuck the kids into bed early (but just don’t pull a Betty, make sure you kiss them goodnight) and set up a retro inspired cocktail hour in front of your TV celebrating the return of Mr. Don Draper (hubba, hubba).

bar set-up for cocktails

The first step in conjuring up that Mad Men aesthetic is to use trays or place mats laid out to create a distinct cocktail-hour area. Then, dust off your own retro serving pieces, whether it’s crystal from your wedding, something you snagged from your mom’s bridge club stash or fun vintage finds—go on use it, what are you waiting for, the Cold War to end?

As for flowers, keep it simple and get inspired by something in your garden. A couple of camellia or gardenia blooms from your yard floating in a bowl would be perfect. Or grab a bunch of baby’s breath and daisies from the market and drop in a vase.

Solo shrimp cocktail

Instead of making a full meal, assemble a collection of stylish housewives of the 60’s fare: pigs n’ blanket, shrimp cocktail and of course the relish tray— black olives, celery, sweet pickles, and carrots sticks, all drenched with a little olive brine. For dessert, serves small wedges of pineapple upside cake.

cocktail in style

Photo courtesy of William Sonoma

Change it up, stir don’t shake your cocktail. Mix your drink in a glass pitcher stirring with a long metal spoon. That clink of ice, metal and glass along with the swish of scotch is an instant mood shifter. It’s fun to serve up his and her cocktails; for the men, a classic Rob Roy and for the ladies an Americano.

classic cocktail

Classic Cocktails: Mad Men Style

Rob Roy

To me, this is the quintessential drink of the era because it’s what my super stylish dad always drank back in the day. This cocktail shows an attention to detail that reflects the times ceremony of cocktail hour.

Yield: 1 Drink



1 1/2 oz Scotch

Splash of sweet vermouth

Old-fashioned bitters to taste

Garnish:  Maraschino cherries



Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve over ice. Garnish with a cherry.
The Betty cocktail

The Betty (Americano)

Since the beautiful Betty has been known to throw her Italian speaking skills around, it’s only fitting to do an Italian inspired cocktail.  Plus the color is gorgeous.

Yield: 1 Drink



1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

Splash of Club soda

Garnish: Orange slice



Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Add first the Campari and vermouth and top off with club soda. Garnish with the orange.

Mad Me Betty

Photo courtesy of AMC Television