Tag Archives: bringing back old-school cocktails

Mad about the classics

This Sunday, Mad Men, the sexy sophisticated 1960’s drama, returns to television — and, I can’t wait. If you haven’t watched: the show follows the lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives. And the show is as much about 1960’s culture as it is about the drama-filled lives of colleagues at Sterling Cooper. Episodes have highlighted events surrounding JFK’s presidency (the election, Jackie O, the Cuban Missile Crisis), portrayed scenes from the traditional 1960’s family life, and it has certainly emphasized the drink and fashion trends of the time.

It would surprise few that First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, epitomized 1960’s fashion, especially during the early part of the decade. It was a time when women were very elegant, with their pillbox hats, suits, dresses with close-fitting waists, and purses that match shoes. Speaking of shoes, stiletto heels were widely popular during this period (then come the Go-Go boots). For a better glimpse of early 60’s fashion, check out the awesome images below, courtesy of AMC’s Mad Men photo gallery.


The stars of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency


The beautiful, yet troubled, Betty Draper


The boys of Sterling Cooper

In addition to its focus on fashion, cocktail culture is also an important element on the show. Martini lunches and afternoon scotches are practically obligatory. The office and the home are filled with booze. There is so much drinking, you could seriously get a buzz from just watching. The great (okay, maybe scary) part is, it seems to be an accurate depiction. The New York Times published a recent article praising the authenticity of the drinking culture on the show. And, AMC has an extensive cocktail guide of popular 60’s drinks that you see the characters imbibing.

While Mr. and Mrs. S&C are worlds away from Don and Betty Draper, our tastes in cocktails happen to be similar. So, I’m thinking we should have these classics as we toast the show’s return: Old Fashioned for him; Tom Collins for her (it’s really quite refreshing). Both recipes serve one, and contain ingredients that are considered staples in any home bar.

Old Fashioned


  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1½ oz bourbon
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 lemon wedge


Dissolve sugar with bitters and about a tsp of water in an old fashioned or rocks glass. Add cherry, orange slice, and lemon wedge and muddle (use back of spoon if no muddler is available). Fill with ice. Pour in bourbon and stir well. Garnish with extra orange slice and cherry, if extra are available.

Tom Collins


  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (superfine or simple syrup)
  • 1½ oz gin
  • Seltzer water or club soda
  • Lemon slices and a maraschino cherry


Dissolve sugar with lemon juice, if needed. Shake together with gin over ice. Strain and pour into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon slices and a cherry.

Fun Fact:

The Tom Collins is in the fizz category of drinks (almost a twin sister of the drink gin fizz). TC is referred to as a plain fizz, and recommended as an “eye opener” for the “morning after the night before.” – from “Cocktail Bill” Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them

posted by Ms. S&C

Getting Sentimental Over Shoes

A friend who happens to be very in tune with Miss Mojito’s purchasing habits once made the observation that I don’t tend to buy clothes so much as I tend to collect them. And she was at least a little bit correct. I do like to grow and nurture my wardrobe, building it up piece by piece so that I’ll have an outfit ready for any occasion. And if that meant that I had to wait a year before I found occasion to wear the red silk dress with necklace detailing, so be it. Or if a brown jersey cocktail dress with a jeweled tie has remained dormant in my closet for over three years now, that’s alright with me. I just feel better knowing it’s there, at the ready, making my closet more complete.

The same philosophy certainly applies to my shoes. The crown jewels in my footwear collection happen to be two of those pairs that I have never—nay, could never—wear, but for a different reason than you might imagine. The shoes are impossibly small, remarkably narrow, impeccably stylish, and admittedly in need of repair. They also happen to be about 60 years old.

Both pairs of shoes belonged to my grandmother, Bobbie. Based on the fabulousness of these particular pairs of shoes, she certainly shared the same taste for footwear that we here at S&C so value. Both pairs are peep-toe ankle straps, a shoe silhouette that has  retained its popularity today. The black pair, which bears the mark of Paul’s Aristocrats of Brooklyn, is decorated with polka dots and swirls, while the creamier pair is made of satin and tiny rhinestone buckles.


It’s sentimental favorites such as these that turn a wardrobe into a collection, one that inspires memories and a bit of sentimentality. And, on occasion, something to wear, too.

So, what would Miss Mojito sip were she able to cram her feet into these diminutive pumps? Why the Aviation, of course! It’s a classic cocktail concoction that gained popularity throughout Prohibition and into the 1930s, when my grandmother probably wore these shoes.

The Aviation Cocktail
Serves one.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Violette (optional)
  • Ice

Combine the gin, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a drizzle of Crème de Violette and serve.

*Miss Mojito makes the Crème de Violette optional because some versions of the Aviation omit the liqueur entirely, plus it’s a bit cost prohibitive.

Miss Mojito wants to know: What “crown jewels” are in your closet? Or, rather, in your “collection.”

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Palaces of hospitality


Back in October, Ms. S&C attended a seminar on Great Hotel Bar Cocktails, organized by The Museum of the American Cocktail.  The event was held at the Hotel Tabard Inn, a cozy little place in DC.  The seminar covered the history of some of the world’s great hotels, the origin of their cocktails, and we got to taste them all!  It was a great event.


They’re hosting another seminar on Holiday Cocktails on December 9.  Drinks will be prepared by a few of DC’s best mixologists, who’ll serve up Tom and Jerry, Baltimore Egg Nog, and Hot Buttered Rum.  Let me know if you’re planning to attend.


Back to the Great Hotel Bar Cocktails.  The Singapore Sling is from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  Modern versions of this cocktail are overdone and a thousand percent too sweet.  Do not, I repeat, do not order this drink if it contains pineapple juice.  The recipe below is awesome, and it was my favorite of the night.  It was also excellently paired with a pot sticker with cherry jam.

Singapore Sling

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • ½ oz dry Cherry Brandy
  • 2 oz Gin

Pour into a tumbler and fill with cold soda water.

The Side Car was my second favorite cocktail served.  It is from the Ritz Hotel in Paris, where the hotel still serves the world’s most expensive version at $515.  The ingredients of this cocktail make up the holy trinity of cocktail ingredients: spirit, sweet, sour.  It was served with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Side Car

  • ½ oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, with sugar crusted rim.


Other cocktails included:

Vieux Carre, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

  • ¾ oz Rye Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz Cognac
  • 1/8 oz Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Build drink in rocks glass with ice, garnish with lemon peel.

Bloody Mary, Saint Regis, New York

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Tomato Juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • ¼ oz fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix.  Strain into glass with ice.  Garnish with wedge lemon and lime.

Rob Roy, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York

  • 2 ½ oz Blended Scotch Whiskey (such as Chivas)
  • ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters

Ice glass beforehand.  Add ice and stir until chilled.  Strain in martini glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

Tabard Cocktail, Hotel Tabard Inn, Washington, DC

  • 1 ½ oz Milagro Reposado Tequila
  • ½ oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir, garnish with orange twist and sprig of fresh thyme.

Recipe Source: Chantal Tseng, mixologist, Hotel Tabard Inn in Washington, DC

posted by Ms. S&C

Bitter pink insanity!

The Shoes: My Pink Ferragamos

Bitterly insane is exactly what I would be if I didn’t own these shoes. They are by far the most elegant (and expensive) shoes in my closet. Lucky for moi, I didn’t pay a dime for them (another shout-out to LC). They are classic and timeless. They are Ferragamos.

Italian designer, Salvatore Ferragamo, was a pioneer of fashion. Born in 1898, he had already made his first pair of shoes at that age of nine. From a family of poor farmers, who couldn’t afford to buy shoes for his sisters’ first communion, Ferragamo borrowed materials from the local cobbler and made their shoes, rather than facing the same of seeing them wear clogs to church.

Ferragamo’s talent and genius ascended him to Hollywood and he earned a reputation for being a “shoemaker to the stars.” Though my research is inconclusive, it appears he designed Dorothy’s ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz, and he’s credited with inventing the wedge(!) in 1938, for Judy Garland. His most famous invention was the cork wedge, which paved the way for platforms. He was a visionary and an inspiration, and now, my obsession.

The Occasion:

The shoes are fitted for the red carpet and the streets of Paris. For me, they mean I have an absolute go-to item for any cocktail party, fancy dinner, or event where I want to stand out. If it is a party I’m hosting? Bring on the bruschetta, antipasto, caponata, and this unique pre-dinner cocktail.

The Drink: Negroni

I can’t get enough of the old-school cocktails. The Negroni is a perfect match because of its sublime color, because it is Italian, and because it is made with Campari. The Negroni was invented in Florence in 1919, at Caffe Casoni, because Count Camillo Negroni added gin to his favorite drink, the Americano. Campari, the notable ingredient, is definitely an acquired taste, and is probably better known for their vintage posters. It is a grand aperitif.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

I’ve altered the original recipe slightly by adding extra sweet vermouth and extra orange. I definitely recommend this version for first-timers. The bitterness is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

  • Fill cocktail glass with ice
  • Combine 1 part gin, 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth (be generous), and fresh squeezed orange juice (to taste) in an ice filled shaker
  • Shake until well chilled and strain into glass
  • Garnish with orange slice

Cin cin!

posted by Ms. S&C

Cool as a cucumber

The Drink: Pimm’s Cup

My friend, LC, is an inspiration in so many ways, but her latest contribution to making my life my enjoyable was introducing me to the drink Pimm’s Cup. This British-bred concoction is fresh and tasty, and definitely an old-school classic. Made with an obscure liqueur, with a flavor similar to a spiced gin, this drink is perfect for an occasion when you’d like something to take the edge off, but you don’t want to get hammered. That’s why it rules the leisurely brunch scene and is a staple at Wimbledon. It looks like iced tea, so it’s a natural thirst-quencher and a perfect match for outdoor activities.

The Occasion:

While I’m likely not heading to Wimbledon next year, and horse-racing season is over, there’s still a time and place for Pimm’s Cup. Hosting a brunch? Playing lawn games? Or, how about – the sun’s out, I don’t have any plans, let’s call some friends, sit out on the patio and play cards?

The Shoes: Wedges

These shoes speak outdoors. I’m a big fan of heels, but you don’t want heels sinking into the lawn. And, heels can sometimes come off a little severe with a summer dress or the ultimate summer fabric, linen. Wedges provide comfort and stability whether you’re headed to Gold Cup, playing croquet, or if you’re like me and just want a light cocktail in the afternoon.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

Fill cocktail glass with ice

Mix 1 part Pimm’s Cup No. 1 with 2 parts seltzer (preferably lemon or lime)

Stir lightly

Garnish with cucumber and lemon


posted by Ms. S&C