I friggin’ love Mad Men. The last couple of seasons, I have been watching it with the same group of friends. Mad Men with friends is the best way to watch Mad Men, let’s be honest. It’s a complex show. Group wisdom helps access the richness of the show. My Mad Men group is made up of grown-up theater geeks so, when we get together, we have the best time analyzing the characters, unraveling intricate plot connections between episodes, and decoding the hidden symbolism.
Plus, we drink a lot of bourbon. Of course. It’s physically impossible to watch Mad Men without some kind of whiskey-based cocktail in your hand. I dare you to try it. And, as we all know, drinking whiskey with friends is the best way to drink whiskey. Stimulating intellectual conversation about the best tv show there has ever been + drinking bourbon on a Sunday night with friends = Mad Men nights are my very favorite…ever.
In my wildly (and arguably overly) enthusiastic anticipation of last night’s premiere of the show’s 7th and final season, I wanted the whiskey drinking part of our experience to really kick ass. Don Draper’s iconic drink is the Old Fashioned, making it the standard drink of Mad Men parties all over America. Although I love Don and his Old Fashioneds as much as the next fan, I wanted to bring something different to the table this time. Like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. It doesn’t have to be all about Don. This season, it’s all about the women of Mad Men! And, they should have their iconic drinks too!
So, here you have it. My stab at what the women of Mad Men are drinking. Keeping with tradition, these are all whiskey-based cocktails. And they all capture the essence of these incredible (fictional) women:
1. Peggy Olson – The Brooklyn
Before making her big move to Manhattan in Season 3, Peggy was a Brooklyn girl, born and raised. The Brooklyn cocktail was derived from the Manhattan cocktail but as a personality and originality all its own. Like Peggy, it has worked to make it’s own way in the world and we are all rooting for it’s success.
2. Betty Draper Francis – The Amaretto Sour
Kinda classy yet quite down home. A bit high maintenance. These descriptors fit both Betty and the Amaretto Sour cocktail. Remember how Betty was a fashion model who could have toured the world but then she married Don who cheated and lied to her their entire marriage and had 3 kids with him that she clearly did not like very much? Betty is always trying to find herself and her place in the world. Should she be a sweet and doting housewife or an acerbic, cosmopolitan, modern woman? Well, hell, why can’t she be it all?
3. Joan Holloway Harris – The Rob Roy
Everybody loves Joan. She is gorgeous and brilliant and dedicated. She is everyone’s ideal wife, and girlfriend, and boss, and secretary. All eyes are on her and she is always there for everyone. And yet, the tragedy of Joan is that she is also, somehow, utterly invisible. The Rob Roy cocktail is smoky and sophisticated. Everyone has heard of it. Everyone respects it. Yet it is not often found on modern cocktail menus. Perhaps we take Joan and the Rob Roy for granted…but…not for long.
4. Sally Draper – The Redheaded Stepchild
I couldn’t resist this one. I saw this recipe for a “Red Headed Stepchild” (beer, whiskey, and grenadine) and immediately thought, “this should be called the ‘Sally Draper!'” It’s surprisingly delicious (almost my favorite one of this list, to be honest). We don’t know what’s up with Sally yet in this new season but, at the end of last season, Sally had been suspended from Miss Porter’s for “buying beer.” Can’t you just see her and and her uppity prep school friends sitting around drinking these? Not that I am condoning underage drinking but something has to help this poor girl. Perhaps this season, she will put down the beer and find a good youth development program.
My friends and I drank “Sally Drapers” all night.
Oops! I woke up this morning and realized that I left Megan Draper off of the list. I didn’t mean to. I feel bad. You have to help me. What do you think Megan’s drink should be.
The cocktail has to contain Canadian whiskey and champagne. Ready? Go!