Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: Old Fashioned

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Hello and Happy Father’s Day 2016. My dad is a Wine Guy but on a recent trip to visit me in NYC, we discovered that he’s an Old Fashioned Guy too! This post was written during my send off to the show Mad Men and contains a few Old Fashioned recipes that every dad can enjoy. Cheers!

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To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring a different cocktail from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

As I write this post, I’m drinking an Old Fashioned and re-watching the very first episode of Mad Men. I can’t really put into words how much this show means to me. This is actually the first time in my life that I’ve followed a show to the very end while it was on air. Mad Men is my Sopranos and I really hope Matthew Weiner writes a knockout of an ending.

In the first scene of S1E1, Don establishes his iconic drink of choice with the phrase, “Yeah, we’ll do this again. Old Fashioned please.” Then he drinks them over and over and over again throughout the show. I would even say that along with many of other Classic Cocktails back in vogue, Don Draper put the Old Fashioned on our minds.

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Mad Men Don Joan Old Fashioned

Both images via AMC.

The thing about the Old Fashioned it that is the original cocktail and to me, that says a lot about Don Draper. It says he likes to keep things simple. He wants to be respected. He is a whiskey man like many other people from farm country. He likes to present a persona of being classic and is attached to a certain time period.

According to historical records, the first written mention of the word cocktail included a definition that it “should be a potent concoction of spirit, bitters, water and sugar.” Well, we have our recipe, let’s start with the most classic version of an Old Fashioned.

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Ingredients: Water, Bitters, Sugar, Barspoon, double Rocks glass. 

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Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Rye
  • 2 dashes Angostura or Aromatic Bitters
  • barspoon Sugar or 1 Sugar Cube
  • 1/4 oz Water
  • Garnish: Maraschino Cherry and Orange peel

Build in double Rocks glass:

  1. Add Sugar, Water and Bitters to glass and stir until sugar is nearly dissolved.
  2. Add Rye and stir until everything has mixed properly
  3. Add ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved (around 10 seconds)
  4. Add Cherry, express Orange peel and garnish

Mad Men Modern Old Fashioned

Image via AMC

In the photo above, Don is muddling a Cherry into his Old Fashioned and even adds Soda Water to the drink before he stirs it. This scene actually caused quite a stir amongst the Cocktail community because “it was a gross Old Fashioned! Never muddle the fruit! No Soda Water ever!” Y’all, come on, let the people do what they want to do with their fruit. Besides, there is actually a Modern Old Fashioned with muddled fruit in it.

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Simple Syrup, Bitters, two Cherries, one Orange wedge, muddler and double Rocks glass.

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Modern Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Rye
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • ~1/4 oz Simple Syrup (less if your Orange is really sweet)
  • 2 small Orange slices
  • 2 Maraschino Cherries

Build in double Rocks Glass:

  1. Add Simple Syrup, Orange Slices, Cherries and muddle.
  2. Add Rye, Bitters, and ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved.

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Now let’s talk about other Old Fashioned options including one of my favourites, the Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned. I’ve written about these mixers before and I will write about them until the end of time because they are INCREDIBLE. The Spiced Old Fashioned mixer is truly delicious, it tastes just as delicious as a classic Old Fashioned and is very simple to make.

HINT: BUY THIS MIXER.

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Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned

  • 4 parts Whiskey
  • 1 part Mixer
  • Garnishes: Orange peel and Maraschino Cherry

Build in glass:

  1. Combine ingredients over ice and stir.
  2. Add Cherry, express orange peel and garnish.

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Recommended types of bitters for your Whiskey Old Fashioneds.

Back in Nov 2014, I wrote a post about how Old Fashioneds are the best kind of drink to make when hosting a big party because you can use so many types of Spirits, Sweeteners, Bitters and Garnishes. Check it out if you’d like to make a few with Aged Rum, Añejo Tequila or Apple Brandy.

Mad Men Old Fashioned Hawaii

Well, like pensive Don having an Old Fashioned in Hawaii, I shall be be awaiting the end of this magnificent show. Bye Bye Mad Men!

If you’d like to peruse the other Mad Men cocktails I’ve written during this last season, check them out here.

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You’re So Kind: Berentzen Pear Liqueur

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As I’ve stated before, the very kind people at Berentzen sent me a fabulous bottle of Pear Liqueur. Aren’t they kind? I think they’re pretty kind. YOU’RE SO KIND BERENTZEN!

This Liqueur is a total knockout. I love it. It’s so fruit forward, crisp and refreshing. Pear all the way but in a totally different universe than many other Pear Liqueurs. This is not dry, subtle or mysterious. It’s PEAR! It’s happening! It’s fresh! I love it. I been using it with Gin, Tequila, Dolin Blanc, Soda, Tonic, Bourbon, Rum, EVERYTHING! Berentzen Pear Liqueur is awesome!

Bonus: now that it’s winter times, #PEARSEASON! Get into it!

And now, for the cocktails:

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Portrait of a Lady

  • 2 oz Smooth Gin (Plymouth used here)
  • 1 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • Cinnamon Garnish

In tin, combine Gin, Pear Liqueur, Dry Vermouth and Lemon Juice over ice and shake. Double strain into coupe and garnish with Cinnamon.

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A Long Hard Look In The Mirror

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer or Allspice and Cinnamon Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
  • 1 dash Black Walnut Bitters
  • Maraschino Cherry

In tin, combine Bourbon, Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer, Pear Liqueur and Bitters over cracked ice. Stir and strain into Rocks glass. Add Ice and Cherry.

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The Feeling of Flight

  • 2 oz Dolin Blanc or Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • Grapefruit peel

In tin, combine Blanc Vermouth, Pear Liqueur and Grapefruit Juice over ice and shake. Double strain into coupe, express Grapefruit peel and garnish.

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Sandals in Winter

  • 1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 3/4 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau Triple Sec
  • 1/4 oz Bonal Aperitif
  • 1 dropper Elemakule Tiki Bitters
  • Grapefruit peel

In tin, combine Blanco Tequila, Pear Liqueur, Triple Sec, Bonal and Bitters over ice and shake. Double strain into coupe, express Grapefruit peel and garnish.

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Woo, this Liqueur is all worn out and taking a nap now. So many uses, so many possibilities. This has been You’re So Kind, the post where someone nice gives me a bottle and I review it!

You’re So Kind: Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned

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Alex Boyd the very kind founder of Cocktail Crate gave me a bottle of his Spiced Old Fashioned at the Brooklyn Winter Flea last weekend. Isn’t he kind? He’s really kind! YOU’RE SO KIND COCKTAIL CRATE MAN!

This Craft Mixer is totally perfect for the holiday season. It tastes like autumnally spiced simple syrup and is just begging to be used in Old Fashioneds and variations on Classic Cocktails. I love it. I’ve used it in nearly every drink I’ve made since last weekend.

Hint: this would make an excellent gift for any Home Bar Gurl or Dude!

Now for the cocktails:

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First, I followed the instructions on the back of the bottle and made a Spiced Old Fashioned. It was the bomb! Perfect!

Spiced Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer
  • Orange Peel

Add Bourbon and Mixer to glass with ice. Stir a few times. Express Orange Peel and garnish.

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Here we’ve got Apple Brandy as the spirit, bitterness from the Cynar and Angostura and a rich foundation of spice from the Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned. The name for this cocktail comes from my good friend and excellent poet Brit Blalock. I asked her to help me name the drink and she suggested several Robert Frost poem titles. The Sound of Trees is such a fitting name for this cocktail.

The Sound of Trees

  • 2 oz Apple Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Cynar
  • 1/2 oz Spiced Old Fashioned Cocktail Crate Mixer
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Apple Slice

In tin, combine Apple Brandy, Cynar, Mixer and Bitters over ice and stir. Strain into coupe and garnish with Apple Slice.

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Here’s a fabulous hot toddy with that Flor de Caña Rum I can’t stop talking about, Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned, Lemon Juice/Wheel and Cardamom bitters.

Rum Spiced Hot Toddy

  • 2 oz Aged Rum
  • 3/4 oz Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer
  • 1/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash Cardamom Bitters
  • Hot Water
  • Lemon Wheel

To mug add Rum, Mixer, Lemon Juice, Cardamom Bitters and Hot Water. Stir a few times and add Lemon Wheel.

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Lastly, I’ve got a variation on a Manhattan which I’ve named Long Island City because that’s where Cocktail Crate is made! Happy Craft Mixing to you all!

Long Island City

  • 2 oz Aged Rum
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • Orange Peel

In tin, combine Rum, Carpano, Mixer and Bitters over cracked ice and stir. Strain into coupe, express orange peel and garnish.

Well, that’s it for now! Thanks again to Alex and be sure to get this mixer into your Home Bar. Totally worth it! This has been You’re So Kind, the post where someone nice gives me a bottle and I review it!