Cocktails and Cat Tails

I think I’m going to start a video series. I’m going to dress up in one of my retro dresses, put on some red lipstick, get out some of my retro glassware, and go through the process of making a cocktail. Oh, and there will be cats. Why, you ask? Well, because A) I have to justify having all this retro stuff SOMEHOW and B) Ralph is very interested in cocktails.

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This may be a slight exaggeration. Ralph was not at all interested in Sidecars or in Classic Martinis (posts on those drinks forthcoming). He was, however, extremely interested in Brandy Alexanders – no surprise there, seeing as how there was cream involved – and, strangely enough, Old Fashioneds and especially Manhattans.

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Apparently Ralph loves rye whiskey. Or maybe he loves bitters. I don’t know – but if I sit down with a Manhattan, he’s on my lap immediately.

That cat has great taste. Better than some people I know. And PS – if I make “Cocktails and Cat Tails” will anyone watch? Even if it is just to laugh at me?

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.

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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).