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.”


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.


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

Tom Collins


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

Lemon slices


  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.


Meditations in an Emergency

*Warning: season two spoilers!


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


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


  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

“But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world…”

…the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawn mower.”


Hey, remember when Lois the secretary runs over Guy MacKendrick’s foot with a lawnmower at Joan’s going away party? And right after he got his foot in the door?! (Thanks, Roger.)

After two days of Betty, I felt that this week needed some silly comic relief. Here is Joan’s cake after the splat heard ’round the office.

“What an interesting experiment.”

Welcome back to Betty’s dinner party. You better be enjoying yourself! For the main course, we’re having rosemary seitan “leg of lamb” with mint jelly, and German egg noodles (Spätzle) like Grandma Hofstadt used to make. There is French Burgundy wine and Heineken to drink. And the napkins match the dress Betty will wear for 36+ hours!


Around the World Menu

Mixed Drinks

Gazpacho (Spain)
Rumaki (Japan)

Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly (Dutchess County)
Spätzle (Germany)

Burgundy (France)
Heineken (Holland)


Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly

Serves 5-6


2 cups gluten flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup olive oil
¾ cup red wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, grated

Mint jelly


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F, about 10 times warmer than your disposition.
  2. Combine gluten flour, cornmeal, dried rosemary, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl or stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. Fantasize about taking that dough hook to Don’s jugular.
  3. Combine olive oil, red wine, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic in a separate bowl. Take a break and finish that bottle of wine.
  4. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Knead until it’s as flexible as Don’s morals.
  5. Coat the dough with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake at least 1 hour, or until firm. Unwrap for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  6. Brush with mint jelly and bake for 10-12 more minutes.
  7. Slice and serve with more mint jelly.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

While Mad Men doesn’t specify what kind of egg noodles Betty serves, Spätzle fits the bill as a German noodle dish. You could probably use the Vegg or a different egg replacer in the dough, but soy flour was what I had on hand. I served the noodles with caramelized onions, pan-frying the noodles with the onions for a few minutes before plating.


Serves 5


4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soy flour
3 tablespoons oil
1 1/2-2 cups water, as needed


  1. Pour flour in a mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Ruminate on your invisibility and powerlessness, much like the salt.
  2. Combine soy flour and oil in a separate bowl and stir until combined. The mixture will be as thick and sludgy as your personality.
  3. Add soy flour and oil mixture, as well as 1 1/2 cups water, to the flour. Mix until a bread-like dough forms, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Take small pieces of dough and roll into noodles, kind of the size and shape of wax beans.
  5. Boil 12-14 noodles at a time and remove when they rise to the top of the water. Transfer cooked noodles to a bowl of cold water.
  6. Repeat until all the dough is used. Store noodles in an (unlike Don’s excuses) airtight container with water until ready to use.


The evening turns sour when Betty unknowingly participates in Don’s market research. Heineken is a Sterling Cooper client and Don insists the target demographic for the beer is a Bryn Mawr alumna turned passive-aggressive housewife with a penchant for exoticism (or something like that). This embarrasses Betty when she walks right into the joke by purchasing the beer. Of course, the problem is not the Heineken incident, but Don’s adulterous adultery. Poor Betty.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

“No one’s ever on your side, Betty.”

Brace yourselves, dear readers, for a double dose of Betty Draper. She may be a Mad Men woman scorned, but “victim of circumstance” and “dramatic, manipulative, and vindictive child” are not mutually exclusive titles. Put on your crazypants and join me for a modern interpretation of Betty’s “Around the World” dinner party from the season two episode, ‘A Night to Remember.’


Around the World Menu

Mixed Drinks

Gazpacho (Spain)
Rumaki (Japan)

Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly (Dutchess County)
Spätzle (Germany)

Burgundy (France)
Heineken (Holland)

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Pour yourself a drink and tuck in to the first course, Gazpacho and Rumaki. Like now, because Betty’s got a gun.


Serves 4-5


2 cups tomatoes
1 green pepper
1/2 red onion
1 cucumber
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup fresh basil
Salt and pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender while instructing Bobby to bang his head against the wall.
  2. Blend until smoother than your serial cheater hubster.
  3. Adjust flavors to your liking, then attempt to do the same with the people around you.
  4. Serve garnished with chives and vegetable slices. Make way to fainting couch.

Variation: For roasted garlic gazpacho, replace the cloves of garlic with 1/2 head roasted garlic.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Have you ever made rumaki? I thought it would be a type of sushi or some cute little appetizer, but it turns out it’s bacon-wrapped chicken liver and water chestnuts. What the fresh hell, Bets? If I wasn’t making multiple courses, perhaps I would have tried veganizing chicken liver. But in a pinch, Upton’s Naturals bacon-wrapped Gardein chicken tenders did the trick.


Eat up, then come back tomorrow for the main course!

“Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.”


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.


Mountain Dew


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

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 am one of those girls.”


Peggy Olson’s copywriting career begins during a focus group for Belle Jolie lipstick company. After some instigation, half the women in the group break down, sobbing about their relationships and insecurities. Peggy looks on, stupefied, and delivers a couple of one-liners that get the Miss Deaver’s Secretarial School alumna noticed by the boys’ club.


Photo credit: AMC

While carrying the wastebasket of tissues covered in lipstick samples (there’s probably some snot and tears in there as well), she refers to it as a “basket of kisses.” Of course, she couldn’t possibly form a succinct metaphor on the spot with her secretary brain, so it takes some convincing that she did, in fact, think of that all by herself. She continues, “I don’t think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box.” With that, she is responsible for the Belle Jolie ad and launches the ‘Mark Your Man’ campaign.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

As Sterling-Cooper’s newest copywriter and Don’s protégé, Peggy is now responsible for the woman accounts, like Playtex and the Relax-a-Cizor* “weight loss device.”

*Turns out the Relax-a-Cizor was a real thing, and it was quite dangerous. Who knew?

A newly minted copywriter, Peggy orders a Brandy Alexander, just like her friend Joan orders for her, while on a date with a truck driver a few episodes later. They start with small talk about their jobs, and the chemistry is a bit off from the beginning. Clearly threatened by her ambition, the date ends early when he tells her that she is not like the girls in Manhattan, and she never will be. Not one to back down, she simply states, “I am one of those girls.”

Vegan Brandy Alexander

Adapted from the Mad Men Cocktail Guide


¾ oz soy creamer or thick non-dairy milk
¾ oz brandy
¾ oz vegan crème de cacao

Cocoa powder


  1. If desired, coat the rim of martini glass with cocoa powder. Dip the rim in a bowl of milk or creamer. Roll the edge on a plate with cocoa powder. Shake off excess.
  2. Pour the liquors and cream into a mixing glass.
  3. Shake and pour in martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

Of course, Peggy has come a long way from Brandy Alexanders and baskets of kisses. As she gains more clout, she proves that she can form opinions, thoughts, and taglines for companies and products that everyone uses. She does not renounce her feminine identity to get ahead, nor does she question her authenticity or character when she explores her identity and sexuality. Except sometimes she does question herself, like people do, but she moves on and earns her success. Carry on, Peggy Olson.


“If you can make it through a day like today, marriage is a cake walk.”

*Warning: spoilers


Since I’m focusing on Mad Men in a historical, cultural, and political context this week, I wanted to do something related to JFK. There is an episode in season one devoted to the election of 1960, and then his assassination shocks the characters of Mad Men in season three’s penultimate episode.

After much deliberation, I decided to take a subtle approach with this post and focus on the aftermath of the JFK assassination in the Mad Men world. While news stories and history books can give factual evidence and the essence of an event, turning the camera in everyday people (as if Roger Sterling, the author of the title quote, is an everyday person) can tell so much more about the impact of tragedy.


Margaret Sterling/Hargrove gets married shortly at the end of November, shortly after JFK’s assassination, in ‘The Grown Ups.’ While the characters try to force life to go on, the wedding barely happens.


Don and Betty’s marital bliss finally comes to an end in this episode, just after baby Gene is born. With season three’s focus on life, death, marriage, and divorce, it seemed appropriate to deal with the JFK assassination upon the backdrop of Margaret’s wedding.

Using red velvet as an anomaly in an image of white wedding bliss, classic illusion vs reality is at play. And with that, I’ll let the images do the talking.



Thanks for visiting. Come back tomorrow for slightly more levity!

Death is My Client

*Warning: spoilers!

While Paul Kinsey was not necessarily a major character during his three season stay on Mad Men, it was evident that he marched to the beat of his own drum, especially compared to the other Sterling Cooper employees. For that reason, his transformation in season five was not all that shocking. ‘Death is My Client’ is Paul’s unpublished one-act play that his coworkers find while snooping on election night 1960 (and drunkenly act out with Joan and Sal leading). It seems this pipe-smoking, mohair enthusiast carries himself a bit surreptitiously. He may have the right idea though; candidness about one’s endeavors outside of Sterling Cooper makes for one jealous, whiny Pete Campbell.


Photo credit: AMC

Paul wears many hats throughout the series: Sterling Cooper copywriter, civil rights activist, not-so-secret playwright, Orson Welles lookalike, and most recently, reluctant Hare Krishna. When he meets up with Harry Crane in season five, he explains his transformation and woefully speaks of his unrequited love interest, Lakshmi. Revealing some continuity from his season one writing endeavors, Paul explains that he actually wants to be a screenwriter and he gives his Star Trek speculative script to Harry. Sadly it’s an unfortunate script, but Harry doesn’t have the heart to tell Paul (who is either at rock bottom or finding himself, or both). So like any good friend, married man, and under-appreciated employee of SCDP, he boinks polyamorous Lakshmi in his office over lunch and lies to Paul to spare his feelings. Harry, what’s wrong with you? But wait! Harry gives Paul money to go to Los Angeles and pursue his dreams, so all is karmically balanced.


Photo credit: AMC

In honor of Paul’s short stint as a Hare Krishna, it seemed appropriate to make an Indian meal while he’s off in LA writing Star Trek specs and making ends meet. While not much to look at, curry is delicious. My go to Indian recipes are from Kittee on I made her Aloo Gobi and Chickpea Flour Pancakes with tomatoes and onions. I also had an eggplant, so I made an eggplant tomato curry with tofu paneer (recipe here). I used this recipe for tofu paneer in place of the cheese.


Hopefully Paul makes it and comes back to visit in season seven, perhaps transformed again, channeling Orson Welles beyond his facial hair. What do you think he’s up to? Optimism tends to be futile in Mad Men so this may be the end of Paul Kinsey’s story within the show.

“Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.”

*Note: This post is spoiler-free.


While the first week of MoFo focused on classic Mad Men food and episodes, this week will center in on Mad Men in a cultural and political context. The characters on Madison Avenue witness several events that overturn the political climate of America and the emotional and cultural context of the show.

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Don takes Bobby to see Planet of the Apes. They share popcorn as the camera goes back and forth between the screen and their faces. Afterward, Bobby is mesmerized and Don suggests they see it for a second time. As he helps his son open a box of Milk Duds to tide them over during the second viewing, Bobby begins talking to the usher. Wildly out of character, he says: “Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.” The look on Don’s face is a little sad and confused, possibly because he was having a torrid affair instead of paying attention to Bobby’s precociousness over the past couple of years. Essentially, Don’s attempts to become closer to his son effectively show just how far away he’s placed himself (but I guess we can’t blame Don too much when his son is a different actor every year).

Bobby’s observation is universally true. With their experience in mind, I decided to make classic movie snacks, popcorn and Milk Duds. The caramel is adapted from Vegan Candyland, and coated in chocolate.

Vegan Milk Duds


1/3 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening


  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except vanilla, chocolate, and shortening) in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Cook the mixture to firm ball stage, 248°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test for soft ball stage by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a glass of cold water. If it holds its shape and produces a squishy ball, it’s at soft ball stage. Cook for a 2-4 minutes longer to achieve firm ball stage.
  4. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the mixture stops bubbling. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Drop about half teaspoon portions of caramel onto the lined cookie sheet until all the caramel is used up (or pour leftovers into a large mass, sprinkle with salt, and cut into salted caramels!). While the caramel is still hot, it will probably flatten into discs.
  6. As the caramel cools, you can roll the discs into balls if you’d like. They don’t have to be perfect; they’re called Milk Duds for a reason.
  7. When the caramel is completely cool, dip them in chocolate. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave or on the stove using a double boiler method.
  8. Dip the caramels in the chocolate, remove with a fork, and place back on the parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool. Repeat with all the caramels.


Bring your homemade Milk Duds to the movies to accompany your popcorn!