Summer Special: Cocktail Recipes for the MAD MEN Season Finale

Originally featured at Food Riot

This post is sponsored by NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin. NOLET’S Silver features fruit and floral botanicals such as Turkish Rose, Peach, and Raspberry to create a modern style of gin. NOLET’S Finest Gins are inspired by more than 300 years of family distilling tradition and the expertise of the Nolet family, the same family who brought you Ketel One® Vodka. Please drink responsibly. 

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For Mad Men, a show that has historically revolved around alcohol consumption, it’s a sad state of affairs for Season 6 to take place in 1968. This, Dear Readers, was one of the saddest years of cocktail history: the year that vodka sales eclipsed gin sales. It was also the era when hippies began roaming the earth, investing entirely too much time and money in psychotropic drugs and mocking those classic alcoholics as part of an old guard, utterly irrelevant in the new world order.

So as watchers prepare for their Mad Men season finale parties, which in seasons 1-5 were easy to base around an abundance of drinking trends, they may be wondering: Should I be hosting a dry event in honor of the first Mad Men season to include an episode with no alcohol consumed? (Answer: NO.) Then how do I celebrate a season that was more interested in marijuana and coffee than good ole spirit-forward libations? (Answer: SEE BELOW.)

Of course, the show didn’t entirely abandon alcohol for this season; it just wasn’t as deeply saturated. You could still see Don Draper drowning in Canadian Club whisky, you could find Roger Sterling at the bottom of a glass of vodka, and there were even some toasts to the Hawaiian drink craze that took over America during the 60s. But honestly – they could have been drinking a lot better. So instead of abandoning all hope for a great season finale party, let’s put an improved spin on the (few) drinks that raised their heads during season 6.

Gin old fashionedInstead of the standard old-fashioned that was, thank god, still a part of the cocktail menu, get a bit creative and try out a Fancified Gin Old-Fashioned

  • 2 oz NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
  • 1/4 oz demerara syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 2 dashes Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Aromatic Bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Lemon peel
  • 2 brandied cherries




Noa Noa

Instead of the Blue Hawaii enjoyed by Don Draper in the season premiere, try out The Noa Noa, a much better tiki drink from the famed Beachbum Barry.

  • 1 oz lime juice (or 3/4 of a lime cut into wedges)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 3 oz Demerara rum
  • Mint sprig, for garnish




Improved GinInstead of the double-fisted glasses of the Lesser Clear Liquor ( that Roger Sterling consumed after his mother’s death, try out the Improved Gin Cocktail.

  • 2 oz NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
  • 1 tsp simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 1 tsp Cointreau
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Lemon peel




Whiskey Sour

Instead of the dull whiskey sours enjoyed by the crew when celebrating winning the Ocean Spray account, try out the BETTER Whiskey Sour, which basically just means it has tasty egg whites (there’s dinner, too!).

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 brandied cherries (optional)



100_1089Instead of the vodka martini that JUST WON’T DIE, try out the far more delicious forerunner to the martini, the Martinez.

  • 1 1/2 oz Old Tom gin
  • 1 1/2 oz sweet vermonth
  • 1 bar spoon Maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Lemon peel



Celery smashInstead of the plain gin and tonic that Pete asked his building’s superintendent to make for his sad and crazy mom, try out the  Celery Smash G + T (because – news flash – celery is shockingly awesome in cocktails).

  • 1 oz NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Tomr’s Tonic
  • .25 oz Lime Juice
  • Muddled Celery


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