“Hawaii. The jumping off point.”

blue-hawaiian

Welcome to the final Mad Men Cocktail Friday and the penultimate episode of Mad Men MoFo! We’re taking a trip to Hawaii for today’s cocktails: Blue Hawaiian and Piña Colada.

Mad Men season six opens with Don and Megan’s Hawaiian vacation. Shortly after, Hawaii becomes the inspiration for an ad campaign. While Don’s personal life affects his work in a variety of ways, this time it’s not completely negative or insane. The hotel company rejects the ad, claiming the ad suggests character in the narrative “jumped off” to commit suicide. Creative says that’s what makes it a brilliant ad.

hawaii-the-jumping-off-point

It’s no wonder Hawaii is subtly significant in the Mad Men world and fills even Don with slightly less angst. It’s a self-contained paradisaical escape from their sloppy, sordid lives. Madison Avenue’s utopian antithesis. But it wouldn’t be Mad Men if the booze wasn’t flowing, even in Hawaii.

Blue Hawaiian

Ingredients

1 oz blue Curaçao
1 oz light rum
1 oz cream of coconut
2 oz pineapple juice
1 cup of ice

1 cherry
1 slice of pineapple

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except cherry and pineapple, in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Garnish with cherry and pineapple. Add a cocktail umbrella if desired.

Piña Colada

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz light rum
2 oz cream of coconut
2 oz pineapple juice
1 cup crushed ice

1 cherry
1 slice of pineapple

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except cherry and pineapple, in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Garnish with cherry and pineapple. Add a cocktail umbrella if desired.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for following Mad Men MoFo this month! I will be back on Monday with a final post, behind the scenes of Mad Men MoFo.

Tom Collins: “Okay, you don’t smash the cherry on that.”

“Just plop it in at the end. Try to keep it in the top of the glass. Gin.”

tom-collins-recipe

It’s Mad Men Cocktail Friday and I’m borrowing Sally Draper’s Tom Collins expertise for the day. From Tom Collins to Bloody Mary, the eldest Draper child knows her stuff when it comes to cocktails. On a seemingly eternal quest to prove her adulthood, Sally began mixing drinks garnished with sass in the early days of Mad Men.

sally-draper-quotes

In lieu of your own Sally, you’ll probably have to mix your own Tom Collins. Cheers!

Tom Collins

Ingredients

2 ounces gin
2 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Club soda

Lemon slices
Cherry

Instructions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake.
  2. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and lemon slices. Top off with club soda.
  3. Garnish with a cherry.

lemon-tom-collins

Meditations in an Emergency

*Warning: season two spoilers!

mad-men-gimlet-recipe

Welcome back to Mad Men Cocktail Friday, Thursday edition. After a week largely focused on Betty Draper, I thought an extra cocktail recipe, the Vodka Gimlet, was in order. We see Betty with her signature drink in season one, but the most notable Gimlet she orders is the one accompanied with her affair in the season two finale, ‘Meditations in an Emergency.’

It’s the thick of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Betty just received news that she’s pregnant, and she and Don are separated. She stops in a Manhattan bar and a man buys her a drink. Though she initially brushes him off to nurse her Gimlet, they are later seen together in a room behind the bar. They get dressed and go their separate ways.

While Betty’s Gimlet was likely vodka, gin is also acceptable.

Betty Draper’s Vodka Gimlet

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine vodka and lime juice in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with lime.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

“Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.”

peggy-mountain-dew

Welcome to the second installment of Mad Men Cocktail Fridays! In season 4 of Mad Men, SCDP takes on Mountain Dew as a client. Given the task of creating cocktail recipes, the copywriters can’t figure it out because they are focused on ignoring Peggy’s authority. While Peggy is busy “pioneering the science of wet blanketry” because she insists a cocktail needs at least three ingredients, they drink vodka and Mountain Dew. A group of incompetent copywriters could be classified as a minor emergency, so Peggy probably deserves a glass of “Rocket Fuel.” Firing Joey was probably a better reward.

Rocket Fuel

Joey says, “It tastes good because it still basically tastes like Mountain Dew.” Peggy says it’s great for young people and hillbillies.

Ingredients

Vodka
Mountain Dew

Instructions

  1. Get a glass.
  2. Pour in Vodka and Mountain Dew.
  3. Stir with a pen or pencil.
  4. Consume.
peggy-mountain-dew

Photo credit: AMC

This marks the end of Vegan MoFo week two. Stay away from the Rocket Fuel this weekend and come back Monday for the third week of Mad Men MoFo!

“I’ll have an Old Fashioned.”

mad-men-old-fashioned

It’s Mad Men Cocktail Friday! Every Friday for the duration of Vegan MoFo, I’ll be featuring classic cocktails that are significant in the Mad Men world. It seems appropriate to start out with Don’s signature cocktail, the Old Fashioned. The series opens with Don mulling over the new Lucky Strike pitch, Old Fashioned in hand, and he continues to order the cocktail throughout the series. Don’s liquor of choice is rye whiskey, but feel free to use bourbon or another variation.

Old Fashioned

Adapted from the AMC Cocktail Guide

Ingredients

2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
½ tsp sugar
1 teaspoon water
1½ oz of rye
Crushed ice

Garnish:
1 cherry
1 orange slice

Instructions

  1. Combine the bitters, orange slice, cherry, sugar, and water in a lowball glass. Muddle to release the juices and oils of the fruit.
  2. Add the rye and ice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

Enjoy the weekend, MoFo-ers! Mad Men MoFo will be back on Monday.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Vegan Bacon Vodka

Vegan bacon vodka

When I made infused vodka the other week, there was a little tidbit I left out of that post. A small omission, really. See, in addition to cucumber and hibiscus vodka, I decided to use the remaining liquor for a slightly off-putting experiment: bacon vodka. Since bacon has been in the trendy public eye for far too long, every bacon-flavored product that can exist does exist, so you don’t even need to Google bacon vodka to know that people are putting it in their bodies. Ironically, commercial bacon vodka does not actually contain bacon, just chemicals and food coloring. So of course, bacon enthusiasts were quick to remedy that by making a liquor chock full of salty meat strips. If you weren’t already glad to be vegan, one of the complaints associated with bacon vodka will do that for ya: the grease yielded a layer of bacon fat in the final product. Nothing like chunky bacon liquor! In my vegan version, the bacon was extremely low in fat, so not much could go wrong, right? In the spirit of entertainment, I tasted it (a whole shot, so you guys better enjoy this!) for the first time on camera:

If you still want to make your own vegan bacon vodka, here is the recipe. Usually, infused vodka doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but it seemed really gross to let veggie bacon hang out at room temperature for days on end.

Bacon Vodka

Ingredients

4-5 strips prepared vegan bacon
1 cup vodka

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake bacon for 4-5 minutes, until it starts to crisp up, but remains pliable.
  4. Combine vodka and bacon in a bottle and store in the refrigerator for a week before consuming.

This will be my last post before Vegan MoFo, which starts next week (!!). I’m thrilled to participate and will be posting more information soon!

Infused Vodka Recipes

infused-vodka

Step away from the flavored liquor on store shelves! Can you chop fresh fruit and vegetables? Can you open packages of herbs and spices? Can you buy alcohol? (Sorry, kids.) Then you can make your own pomegranate, jalapeño, chocolate, plum, or other crazy-flavored liquor! And mix flavors that the store-bought stuff* hasn’t seen! Your concoctions are bound to be fresher, and probably cheaper.

I almost feel silly posting a “recipe” for infused vodka because you can infuse practically anything in any amount in the liquor of your choice. And in mere days, sometimes hours! Saving the dark liquors** for the winter months, I chose vodka and bright, summer flavors for this batch. With dried flowers, and cucumbers fresh out of the garden, I whipped up two variations in small batches.

*It can probably be done with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and some other mystery ingredients, but maybe you should stick to store-bought cake and whipped cream vodkas, if that’s your thing.

**Sorry, Ron Swanson.

cucumbers

Cucumber Vodka

I tasted store-bought cucumber vodka last summer, and let me tell you, this homemade version is 10x fresher and more delicious!

  1. Use 1 large cucumber for 750 ml vodka, or one standard-sized bottle. I made about half that amount here.
  2. Peel the cucumber and scoop out its seeds. The peel will add a bitter flavor.
  3. Chop up your cucumber and add it to the vodka. Let sit for 2 days to 2 weeks in a cool, dry place.
  4. Remove the cucumber pieces, discard, and use the flavored vodka however you wish!

homemade-cucumber-vodka

I’ve been drinking the cucumber vodka with ginger ale and club soda, but it is also great in a flavorful mixed drink, like this cucumber mojito.

Cucumber Mojito

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

10 fresh mint leaves
3 wedges lime
4 cucumber slices
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 oz cucumber vodka
4 oz club soda

Instructions

  1. Muddle the mint leaves, limes, and cucumber slices with the sugar to release the juices and oils.
  2. Top with ice cubes.
  3. Add the vodka and club soda, and stir.
  4. Garnish with cucumber and lime slices.

cucumber-mojito

Hibiscus Rose Vodka

Hibiscus, or Jamaica flowers, is one of the main flavors of Agua de Jamaica, a ruby red tea made with dried hibiscus flowers and fresh lime. Infusing vodka with hibiscus is a quick process, and the resulting liquor tastes amazing with lime. Absolut makes a similar flavor called Absolut Hibiskus & Pomegranate. If you’d like to replicate that, feel free to add some crushed pomegranate seeds and juice!

  1. Use 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers per 1 cup vodka. I replaced some of that with dried rose buds for a floral flavor that goes nicely with the tart, delicate flavor of hibiscus.
  2. Add to vodka and let sit for 3-4 hours. The vodka will become bright pink within minutes. If the flowers steep for longer than a few hours, the vodka will become bitter. Remove the flowers and discard.
  3. Use the flavored vodka however you wish!

hibiscus-vodka

I made this drink to accompany the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars.” Because I watch shows made for teenagers, whatever. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a murder mystery that follows a group of four high school girls with a stalker called “A” who threatens to reveal their OMG huge secrets. So instead of going to an adult, they get hit by cars, date their English teachers, tell lots of lies, and open 800 plot lines that never get resolved in 5 seasons. There’s creepy dolls, high drama, and lots of gasping. It’s deliciously terrible/wonderful. Just like this hot pink drink, which is more showy than substantial, and filled with secret alcohol you’ll never taste.

Ginger Lime Hibiscus Cocktail

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

8 oz ginger ale
1 1/2 oz hibiscus vodka
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 oz lime simple syrup
1/2 oz Grand Marnier

Instructions

  1. You can shake or stir this drink. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, or a cup of ice.
  2. Pour into a glass (chilled or frozen is best) and garnish with lime or orange slices, and cocktail umbrellas. The more over the top, the better.

girly-drink

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Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet

Cherry Melon Sherbet

In search of a summer treat, ice cream and other frozen desserts certainly come to mind. So far, Chicago’s summer has been a mix of thunderstorms, and sunny, beautiful weather, sometimes over the course of a day. A darker tableau bursting with brightly-colored fruit seemed a fitting photo. I set up these modern vanitas-inspired photos on a cloudy day, springing into action whenever the sun came out for a few minutes.

Sweet canary melon paired with dark red cherries makes for a beautiful contrast of color and flavor, jazzed up with lime juice and zest. The canary melon boasts a bright yellow color and the fruit is much like honeydew, but paler in color and a little tangier. Lighter than ice cream, but more substantial than sorbet, sherbet best describes this coconut and fruit-based dessert. In fact, I may have just Googled “sorbet vs sherbet” to confirm. While sorbet typically contains no milk, the “dairy” base in the form of coconut milk makes this recipe a qualified candidate for the sherbet category.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

Cherry Canary Melon Sherbet

To make lime simple syrup:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and zest. Let cool and transfer to a jar or airtight container. Chill for a half hour.
Strain out the lime zest before using, especially if you plan to make drinks with the remainder.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

To make sherbet:

3 cups chopped canary melon (honeydew is a fine substitution)
1 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup lime simple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk

After making the simple syrup, the rest is quite simple. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste, then adjust the flavors, if necessary. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and serve right away, or move to the freezer to firm up, if necessary.

Cherry Melon Sherbet

There you have it! Ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet are quite simple to make and a great pastime during the summer. Please send a photo if you end up making this recipe!

Also, I still have some leftover syrup…what to make? The obvious choice is margaritas, and a good one at that. Any other ideas for lime simple syrup?

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