An old-fashioned blog post

(Hey there. Yes, it’s me…you probably don’t remember me, seeing as I haven’t blogged since October – EARLY October –  but can we just chalk it up to blogger burnout and move forward? Seriously though, I’m back, and I’ll try to be better. K, thanks!)

So, Mad Men is back – and it turns out that Don Draper going through creative withdrawal and a major midlife crisis is great for inspiration. First of all, I get to look at Don – and Roger, who has always been more my type. YUM. Second, I can revel in Peggy, my homely copywriter counterpart (though much more creative than I) finally using everything Don has taught her (“Change the conversation” – arrow to the heart, Drapes!). Third, I bought The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook for $3.99 on Amazon and Rikster and I are now spending every Sunday perfecting our retro cocktail skills.

cook book

This book is a highly entertaining read. It’s part kitschy cookbook, part obsessive-fan bible and part historical diary. Each entry, based on a dish or restaurant featured or prominently mentioned in a Mad Men episode, is meticulously documented and researched. The authors not only chronicle the episode that the dish/restaurant appeared in; they track down the menus of the time or where the recipe may have been published. If it’s a cocktail or appetizer being discussed, they find the magazine recipe driving housewives crazy or the restaurant that popularized the drink.

Anyway, I’ve been completely enamored with the book and in withdrawal from my favorite show (although The Americans has been somewhat filling my TV void…and god forbid, who knew that TNT would revive Dallas and it would be so damn enjoyable?!) so when the season six premiere came along, it seemed like the a great opportunity to prove that those who can read can DO.

No television event would be complete without the presence of the Rikster – always game for celebrity gossip (yes, we discussed the “Hammaconda“) and cocktail experiments. For the premier, we decided to go with the Don Draper fave, the Old Fashioned.

We probably should have used Canadian Club for authenticity, but I stumbled upon a bottle of Bulleit Rye at Meijer that afternoon, so Bulleit it was. Other than that, we stuck to the cookbook recipe – orange, sugar, bitters and maraschino cherry (although we  did use imported Luxardo cherries; sometimes you can’t take the Zingerman’s out of the girl) muddled with just enough soda to wet everything (thank you, SodaStream) topped with the rye and more club soda. We went old school with our glassware – I found these babies in my favorite Noblesville, IN, antique store – but modernized with large circular ice cubes.

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In short, we were pretty happy.

A few days later, I started to feel a little disloyal. After all, I professed my love for Roger Sterling for five seasons and then for the season six premiere I made DON’S drink? I felt like I owed it to Rog – especially with his mom dying and Joanie ignoring him and his daughter hitting up for cash – to at least make his favorite drink. Luckily, I was not going to climb a zillion flights of stairs, so I figured my chance of heart attack was slim to none. Therefore, I used the last of my precious Bombay Sapphire to mix a classic gin martini, once again using the cookbook’s method.

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I loved the drink, but to be honest, I loved using my vintage martini pitcher (from the Eastern Market antique store) and my coupe glasses (relics rescued from my family’s Orange Lantern bar) even more.

I acknowledge I used Mad Men as a crutch for this post – but in the end, does it really matter where inspiration actually comes from as long as one is inspired to do something? Rikster and I are mixing up cocktails every week, so look for more of these – along with the restaurant, cooking, travel and cat adventures that you used to know (and hopefully love).

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6 thoughts on “An old-fashioned blog post

  1. Loooove!!! I’m so glad you’ve returned. Somehow with all the Facebook changes I don’t see much from the Rikster anymore so am thrilled to be able to keep up with your antics. Xxxx

  2. I stumbled across your post mentioning that your family owned the bar The Orange Lantern. Was this the Orange Lantern up on Michigan Ave? (I am assuming this as you are from Ypsi)… I *loved* that bar.
    Of all the bars and taverns that are no longer around that I’d want to go back to have just one more beer at, the Orange Lantern is at the very top of my list. This was a place that, to me, always looked like it was out of a movie … or from a different place and time (and of course it was).
    Is there any chance that you might have any photos of the bar … particularly the interior??
    There is a nice shot of the exterior of the bar that can be found online, but none of the wonderful interior.
    Did you spend much time there?
    I’d be very interested to hear, and very appreciative of any photos etc you might have.
    Best Regards,
    Jacob
    (jacob_marley_esq at yahoo com)

      • Yes! That’s it. You don’t have any more photos of it, do you? Would it be all right with you if I used this photo in a future post on a different blog I am currently putting together? Photo credit will be given.

      • Hi Amy,
        Yes, by all means use it. As noted in my post from 2013 (the one just above my recent one with the pic) I also would like to find photos of that incredible interior. I always thought it was like something out of a movie. Had you been inside the bar, yourself?

        I recall being told by the bartender there that the Orange Lantern was once upon a time the last place you could get a drink until you got to the Indiana state line if you were traveling that direction.

        Along with the photo, for what it’s worth here’s a blurb about the bar I dug out of a backup from one of my old harddrives …
        “During World War II liquor rationing for bars was set by the amount sold before the war, and, it is said, the Orange Lantern had the largest liquor ration in the state. Workers from the Willow Run Bomber plant, where the B-24 Liberator was built, enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the place. The war years were the heydays of the place, when workers from the plant found it a convenient place to unwind. The regular clientele, it is said, included the woman who was the model for Rosie the Riveter.”

        About the only place that might have other photos is on microfilm of newspaper articles from Ypsilanti … maybe at the library or a historical society. Like the blurb says above, it was a well known bar at the Willow Run Bomber Plant.
        Regards,
        Jacob

  3. as far as photo credit … the guy who took the photo is named Jim Rees, he should be credited. BTW … I checked with him and he also has no more photos. He told me he “always thought it would be there” and so took no other photos.

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