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'Mad Men' stirs up taste for mai tais, cocktail wieners

Don Draper, Roger Sterling and the rest of the iconic, stylish gang are back on the airwaves — finally! And the return of Mad Men offers the perfect excuse to gather your friends for a retro cocktail party, Draper-style. So cue up the phonograph, slip on some 1960s duds and serve up a menu of perfectly delicious throwback fare — we're talking martinis, mai tais, deviled eggs, cocktail wienies and other guilty pleasures from a bygone era.

Of course, you don't need an AMC show to prompt such festivities. Mad Men makes a great party theme at any time of year. Take the Draperesque shindig Paula Hamilton went to in Pleasant Hill, Calif., a few months ago.

"It was so much fun," Hamilton says. "There were little wieners in crescent roll dough, shrimp cocktail, Jell-O — my husband brought a Champagne Gelee — and baked Alaska. And there was a cocktail-creating activity."

Any fan of the action at Sterling Cooper — and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce — knows it's a booze-friendly workplace. But while Draper and Co. tend to drink their booze straight or on the rocks at work, when the characters go out on the town, it's all about cocktails. They sip martinis, old fashioneds and, to honor Hawaii's 1959 entrance into the union, the tropical sipper invented by Vic Bergeron of Trader Vic's fame.

Mai tais have enjoyed decades of popularity — and it's no wonder. The rum-based drink offers a sweet, fruity escape for the taste buds. But Hawaiian — and Hawaiian-ish — fare was incredibly popular during the Mad Men era. Trader Vic's took those culinary ideas and fused them with a Chinese sensibility for dishes like Crab Rangoon.

Classic cocktails were popular, too, of course — including the martini.

Of course, man cannot live by booze alone. Even the Mad Men characters set down their highballs long enough to savor the occasional canape.

"A show like Mad Men is so stylistically perfect," says Judy Gelman, co-author of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook (Smart Pop Books, 264 pages, $16.95). "They've done a lot of research."

What began as curiosity and interest for Gelman, who has always been fascinated by the intersection of literature and food, quickly became a book project — and a collaboration with Peter Zheutlin.

They tallied every dish, every party spread and every Betty Draper refrigerator interior sighting. Then they began contacting New York restaurants in search of archival recipes, only to find that some places didn't know they were even in the show.

But chefs and mixologists got thoroughly into the spirit of the thing and began digging up old notes and cookbooks. The resulting book is a romp through the restaurants and bars of New York City, circa 1962, with recipes for oysters Rockefeller from Manhattan's Grand Central Oyster Bar, for example, and a Classic Algonquin Cocktail from, of course, the Algonquin Hotel's Blue Bar.

'Mad Men' party tips

Menu

Stork Club Cocktails, served punch-style*

Trader Vic's Mai Tais*

Martinis

Classic Shrimp Cocktail*

Trader Vic's Crab Rangoon*

California Onion Dip and Chips

Chex Mix

Jerry's Deviled Eggs*

Toasted Parmesan Canapes*

* Recipes included

Cocktails

Pick a signature cocktail or two — a sweeter drink and a martini or old fashioned, for example — or one cocktail and a punch, such as the Stork Club Cocktail. Take on too many and it becomes a bartending nightmare.

Playlist

Every great party needs great tunes and there's no easier way to do that than via Pandora — just type Mad Men into the "new station" bar. Do a test run the night before so you can customize the mix. You might have to eliminate the "dentist will see you now" selections and get the right vibe. If making your own mix, make sure to get the era right — Elvis, early Beatles.

Costumes

Revel in the era by dressing the part. Dive into your parents' closets (or your own, depending on your personal vintage) and dig out those Jackie Kennedy dresses, fedoras and suits.

>>easy

Classic Shrimp Cocktail

For the shrimp:

36 medium-large shrimp

1 thick slice lemon

3 sprigs parsley

1 peeled onion, cut in thick slices

3 or 4 peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

For the cocktail sauce:

cup chili sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons horseradish

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1 teaspoon grated onion

¼ teaspoon salt

Few drops Tabasco sauce

Shell and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact.

Fill a saucepan with water. Add lemon, parsley, onion, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the shrimp. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Drain and chill.

Combine all the cocktail sauce ingredients in a bowl.

Fill a large bowl with crushed ice and center a small bowl of cocktail sauce. Arrange the shrimp over the ice.

Serves 6.

Source: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop Books, $16.95)

>>Easy

Stork Club Cocktail

Dash of lime juice

Juice of half an orange

Dash of triple sec

1 ½ ounces gin

Dash of Angostura bitters

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled 4-ounce cocktail glass.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Source: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop Books, $16.95)

>>EASY

Trader Vic's Mai Tai

1 ounce Trader Vic's Premium Gold Rum

1 ounce Trader Vic's Authentic Dark Rum

½ ounce lime juice (reserve a lime half to garnish)

½ ounce orange Curacao

¼ ounce simple syrup

¼ ounce orgeat syrup

2 cups crushed ice

1 sprig mint, for garnish

1 fruit stick, for garnish

Shake the rums, lime juice, Curacao, simple syrup, orgeat syrup (an almond cordial) and crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and pour into a glass without straining. Garnish with the squeezed lime half, mint sprig and fruit stick.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Source: Trader Vic's Tiki Party (Ten Speed Press, 2005)

>>MODERATE

Trader Vic's Crab Rangoon

1 pound fresh crabmeat

1 pound cream cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon paprika (or Lingham's Chili Sauce)

2 teaspoons A-1 Sauce

½ teaspoon white pepper

Salt to taste

Square wonton wrappers

Oil for deep-frying

In a large, heavy sauce pan, heat oil to 375 degrees. Squeeze out excess liquid from the crabmeat with a towel.

In a medium bowl, mix the crabmeat, cream cheese, garlic powder, paprika, A-1 Sauce, pepper and salt.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges with water, fold over and pinch to seal.

In small batches, fry the wontons for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 36 rangoons.

Source: Trader Vic's

>>EASY

Jerry's Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, room temperature

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Dash of cayenne

Salt, ground black pepper

Paprika, for sprinkling

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place eggs carefully in the pan, so they are submerged. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Place eggs immediately in cold water.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks until fine and crumbly. Add mayonnaise and stir until mixture is smooth. Add mustard and cayenne. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Refill the hollows in the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve chilled.

Makes 12.

Source: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop Books, $16.95)

>>easy

Toasted Parmesan Canapes

¾ cup minced onion

½ cup mayonnaise

cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

20 Melba toast rounds

Paprika, for sprinkling

Mix the onion, mayonnaise and Parmesan. Spread on toast pieces. Sprinkle with extra cheese and paprika.

When ready to serve, broil 3 inches from heat for 2 or 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 20 canapes.

Source: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop Books, $16.95)

'Mad Men' stirs up taste for mai tais, cocktail wieners 04/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 4:30am]

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