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14 August 2009

How To Throw a Mad Men Cocktail Party

Well, my lovelies, I have been up to my eyeballs in party planning. Saturday I'm hosting a Roller Derby Bachelorette Party and Sunday I'm hosting a Mad Men Season Premiere Cocktail Party. I'm planning to feature the bachelorette over on Boudoir Betty sometime next week...but I wanted to tell you all about the cocktail party case you wanted to plan your own!

Step 1: Send out Some Groovy Invites, Like TODAY
Time is limited, so an evite is probably the best plan! I recommend either the blue, turquoise or pink retro cocktail party evite. Ask your guests to arrive about an hour before the main event so that you can get all of the conjecture out of the way and so that you can get a few cocktails in your belly.

Step 2: Standard Stuff
Tell your husband you just decided to have a two days. Clean the house! Make sure you have cable! Set the DVR to ensure instant playback of the rumored to be shocking episode during the postmortem discussion. Don't forget to add an extra five-minutes to the end, as Mad Men will now be slightly extended to accommodate commercials. You might also consider stocking your bathroom with cute little guest towels and guest soaps..VERY retro chic.

Step 3: The DrinksPunch
This is where the fun truly begins...the cocktails! I would recommend serving at least one "punch." Not only is punch makes your life a lot allows you to quickly serve your guests a drink as they arrive and for guests to have a local for a quick refresher during the show. I would go with the Algonquin Bar Punch, although almost anything can be turned into a punch...especially anything that would be served in a tiki bar. Crate and Barrel has some great punch bowls.

Cocktail Menu
Chances are that you are not currently kitted out for a full on 1960s cocktail party, building such a bar requires a serious commitment of money and space. Therefore, I advise you to choose a few key cocktails to serve at your party and to print up a cute little menu to circulate amongst your guests. Perhaps you could include a brief history of each cocktail? Also, please, please, please do not buy pre-made drink mixes! Homemade is pretty easy, especially if you have time to prepare and tastes a million times better. Here are a few suggestions for drinks to serve:
  1. Old-Fashioned (allegedly fruit did not appear in this drink until the 1970s)
  2. Tom Collins
  3. Vodka Gimlet
  4. Vodka Martini (made with "Soviet-made Stolichnaya," which will make an appearance in Season 3)
  5. Manhattan
  6. Mai Tai
  7. Sidecar
  8. Brandy Alexander
  9. Champagne Cocktail
  10. Moscow Mule
A word on flips...if you are thoroughly investigating your 1960s drink options online you are sure to come across mixed drinks involving egg whites, in the world of bartending these drinks are known as flips (if they don't include creme) or eggnogs (if they include creme). A word to the wise...if you plan to serve a flip practice making it before you have guests. The mixing is a multi-step process...first you add all of the liquid ingredients (including egg) and do an ice free shake to emulsify, and then you add ice and do a second shake. I almost always see bartenders pour my flip through a fine mesh strainer before serving. The main purpose of the egg in these drinks is to add body/frothiness. Flips to consider for your party include theWhite Spider and the Pink Lady. Depending on your reputation, serving a flip at your party will either impress your friends or make them fear for their lives.

Step 4: Finger Foods
Given that this party will probably last at least two and half hours (surely more), you really need to serve some food unless you want your guests totally trashed, and quite possibly sick. Retro cocktails are serious stuff and deserve to be accompanied by suitably retro snacks. Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Deviled Eggs
  2. Pigs in a Blanket (from frozen)
  3. Cheese Puffs
  4. Oysters Rockefeller
  5. Shrimp Cocktail
  6. Southern Cheese Log
  7. Meatballs (from frozen)
  8. Fondue with crudites
  9. Dip with Chips and Pretzels
  10. Or something off this list
Step 5: Optional Flair
You could wear a hostess apron (like one from anthropologie). You could go on a vintage glassware bender at your local thrift store. You could institute a retro dress code for your guests. You could use cloth cocktail napkins, bonus points for monogram. You could put together a nice little retro play list for the pre-party.

Have fun Sunday night, I know I will!

Images from Nobody's Sweetheart, AMC
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Fifi Flowers said...

I keep hearing about Mad Men... hmmm.. might have to watch... now to find out if I get the channel its on... I LOVE cocktail parties... looks perfect!

Anonymous said...

awesome post! i love mad men, and those sound like perfect party tips! i probably won't throw a party, but i do have my eye on some fun new cocktails to make for the viewing :)

Jill said...

I've never seen Mad Men...the horrors! I know. Regardless, I loved this post...

Brittany said...

Great post! Adding to my to-do list!