“What you call ‘love’ was invented by guys like me. To sell Nylons.”
— Don Draper
Advertising alpha male Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the creative director of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, on Madison Avenue, and later becomes a senior partner in his own firm. Whiskey (Canadian Club), cigarettes and women are his favourite vices. He has two tumultuous marriages and several passionate affairs. Chivalrous yet rugged, charming yet beastly, he is every woman’s dream. Draper puts together an old fashioned for Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton’s enigmatic grandfather. And, boy, was Hilton impressed!
1. Old Fashioned
1 orange slice; 1 maraschino cherry; 1 tsp sugar; few drops of angostura bitters; a splash of soda water
to muddle 21/2 oz rye or bourbon
• in a mixing glass, muddle the orange slice, cherry, sugar, bitters and a little soda water. • push around and break up the cherry and orange until their flavours are released. • add soda water, so the cherry is wet and the sugar melts. • add rye or bourbon and serve with ice.
Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency’s flamboyant poster boy, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is a smooth talker who brings in the big accounts. Draper’s mentor and friend, Sterling grapples with generation gaps and ghosts from his past as a soldier in the second world war. He divorces his wife for a 20-something secretary, experiments with LSD and is forever trying to seduce the buxom Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks). He has to slow down on his favourite ‘martini lunches’ after a serious heart attack.
2. Gibson Martini
21/2oz of gin or vodka; 3/4 oz dry vermouth
3-5 cocktail onions
• stir gin, or vodka, and vermouth on ice in a mixing glass. • strain the mixture into a martini glass and add cocktail onions.
The English financial officer of Sterling Cooper and later senior partner in the firm he founds, Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) is a strict taskmaster and is often anal about little things, such as notepads and pencils. However, he slowly loses his British starch as he starts enjoying Manhattan. Pryce constantly surprises us, at one point having an affair with an African-American stripper. Eventually, dire situations lead him to embezzle the company’s funds. One thing consistent about him, though, is his love of the whiskey sour.
3. Whiskey Sour
2 ounces bourbon whiskey; 1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1 egg white
• Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill it with ice and shake it for 10 seconds (if using the egg white, give it a little extra muscle and a little extra time). • strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass, or into an ice-filled old fashioned glass. • garnish it with a cherry or a slice of orange.
The perennially dissatisfied accounts executive of Sterling Cooper, Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) is often at loggerheads with Draper. He is inexperienced, but finds success when he brings in the accounts of Mohawk Airlines and Jaguar. Draper recognises his potential and makes him a junior partner in Draper’s new firm. Campbell is immature and ends up falling in love with the women he has casual affairs with, putting his marriage in danger. He is almost never seen without a Manhattan.
2 oz rye whiskey1/2 oz sweet vermouth2-3 dashes Angostura bittersMaraschino cherry, for garnish
• pour whiskey, vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice cubes. stir the mixture well. • then, strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. garnish the drink with a cherry.
Accounts executive Kenny Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) is the office chocolate boy and a favourite of the Sterling Cooper secretaries. He is the leader of ‘the pack’, as the mid-level executives are referred to, and no woman can hide from his discerning gaze. He writes fiction at night, and his works are published by a leading magazine. During the course of the show, Cosgrove grows up and finds himself a beautiful fiancée. His drink, though, remains a young man’s one, the Moscow mule.
5. Moscow Mule
3 oz ginger beer
1 tsp sugar syrup
1/4oz lime juice
1 sprig mint
1 lime slice
• in a copper mug or cocktail glass, pour vodka over ice. add sugar syrup and lime juice. • top the mixture up with ginger beer and stir. • garnish the drink with a mint sprig and a slice of lime.
Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) makes a steady climb from being Don’s wide-eyed secretary to Sterling Cooper’s first female copywriter since the second world war. From being a mamma’s girl, Olson blooms into a successful Manhattan advertising professional – loosening up, dropping the necklines and bending the rules a little every day. She becomes one of the guys, hard drinking and chain smoking her way around the office. Her late-night shots and ‘I want to smoke some marijuana’ moments surprise everyone.
6. The Harpoon
1/2 oz orange liqueur
1/4oz lime juice
Dash of cranberry juice
1 slice of lime
• pour vodka, orange liqueur and lime juice into a mixing glass. • then, add a dash of cranberry juice. • shake the glass briskly and pour the mixture into a martini glass. add a slice of lime as a garnish.