08 March 2012

stark raving mad

I love counting down to things.  Whether it's a holiday, an occasion, or the release of something awesome, the anticipation and excitement that goes along with counting down to it makes the actual event even better.  There are a few things that I'm pretty pumped for right now but one far more than the rest - the season five premier of Mad Men!  And I'm not the only one who's getting super pumped for the big day (March 25th.)  Banana Republic is already displaying and advertising their line of 60s inspired clothes and Estee Lauder has released a Mad Men makeup collection.  And though I do look great in a wiggle dress and bright red lipstick, these "inspired by" collections aren't really what gets me going.  Instead, it's the themed viewing parties that are thrown by fans and for fans.  Parties where we can dress up and surround ourselves with all things 60s and drink classic cocktails, munch on favorite appetizers, dance to swinging sounds and watch as our favorite characters wrap themselves up in beautiful, stylized drama.  C'mon, we all know I love a good theme party!

Well, I don't have cable so my fellow Bettys and Joans and Peggys are going to have to find somewhere to go to watch the show, especially since the premier is an extra long, movie-like episode.  But that's just the viewing aspect.  The party can actually start at home with vintage cocktails and snacks.  And thanks to the smarty pants folks over at Nobody's Sweetheart, we've got Sally Draper's cocktail guides.  These are awesomely illustrated guides to all the classic cocktails seen on the show that you might stir up while slipping into your swing skirt or your skinny tie and suit.  Since the weather is warming up a bit, I suggest going with a nice, cool cocktail like a Manhattan or a Cuba Libre.  And if little Sally Draper can't seem to whip up something to your liking, head over to the official 1960s Cocktail Guide for Mad Men fans.  Quite a bit of crossover but the official guide introduces other libations like a tasty Negroni or the champagne classic and one of my fizzy faves, the French 75.  No matter what, make sure your liquor cabinet is fully stocked and that your freezer is packed with plenty of ice because when it comes to these, you might not be able to have just one.  And if your friends hear that you're whipping up a pitcher of Tom Collins', you might end up having an impromptu pre-viewing party party.  Also, to keep it accurate, make sure you've got the appropriate glasses.  I'm the kind of gal that drinks wine out of juice glasses and I have been known to take a shot of whiskey from an empty baby food jar, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a cabinet filled with proper tumblers and lowballs and flutes and other vintage barware.  If you want to make it truly authentic, get some tiny umbrellas and cute stirrers and colorful toothpicks while you're at it - getting drunk looks classier when you do it right!

But it's important to remember not to drink on an empty stomach.  So you'd better eat something before you start throwing back those Brandy Alexanders.  And what better to snack on than Trudy's Rib Eye in the Pan or Sal's Spaghetti and Meatballs or Betty's Around the World Gazpacho?  That's right, all your favorite Mad Men recipes have been compiled into a new cookbook for all of us fans of the show and theme parties.  It's got episode recaps, recipes from the show, and recipes from restaurants visited on the show.  And they've visited some really great restaurants on the show - Keen's, PJ Clarke's, and the Grand Central Oyster Bar to name a few.  I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men, hint hint to any of you looking to get me a hostess gift or something.

All of these resources combine to give you the perfect tools to create a pretty amazing Mad Men viewing party in case you can't find one that someone else put together and you can just enjoy.  But what's the fun in that?  Planning a party is half the fun!  And if you need more tips, check out the show website for an official party planning pack... and be sure to send me an invite.  I've already got this year's premier outfit all laid out!

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