Monday, May 27, 2013

Mad Men Cocktail Hour - The Sidecar

Hello there Kittens!

Last week Bridget and I decided to have a little Mad Men Cocktail Pajama Party (which I really should have captured a photo of - and I could kick myself for not having evidence of her fantastic 'I HEART NY' ensemble!).  It was just one of those lazy Sundays for the both of us where you don't leave the house and after you take a shower, the most appealing thing to do is to put on a fresh pair of we made pajamas the theme of our weekly viewing party.

photo courtesy of Bridget
We've been sticking with cocktails off the Mad Men Cocktail Guide as it really does make things easier for those of us who are cocktail novices.  Much like the Manhattan, the origin of this cocktail is hazy at best.  What is agreed upon is that it was created after WWI and is considered by some to be the best cocktail to come out of the jazz age...and I do have to say, it's incredibly tasty!  While we've got the time period, the place of creation has been debated for about a century - some say it was at the Buck's Club in London and some say Harry's New York Bar in Paris, and others claim it was at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris (for those of you who love little tidbits of trivia - The Ritz Bar in the Hôtel Ritz may have been the world's first hotel bar).  For all the inconsistencies concerning the location, the basic story remains consistent.  This drink was invented for an American Army captain and named for a motorcycle sidecar in which he was chauffeur-driven to and from the bar.

Also elusive are the exact measurements and, to an extent, the ingredients, as some recipes call specifically for cognac, while others simply call for brandy.  (I have to admit that I was unaware that cognac was a type of brandy, so these Mad Men Cocktail Hours are not just tasty, but quite educational as well!)  The two most accepted versions are a French Sidecar (which calls for cognac since it is French brandy) which is equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice; and an English Sidecar which is two parts brandy to one part Cointreau and one part fresh lemon juice.  There are MANY different measurements that people will use, so this is a cocktail that can be tailored to your personal preferences as to whether you want a sweeter, sourer, or stronger cocktail.  Either way, after this Mad Men Cocktail hour, I think I'm definitely going to file this away as a drink option for the next happy hour!  Perhaps when I'm feeling like I could be coming down with something since it was reminiscent of how I like my tea - black with some brandy and lemon.  If you're a fan of the Sidecar and want to try something a little different, here are 5 different ways to enjoy this cocktail, though I think I will stick to the original.

'This is a drink whose suavité is beyond question -- it's the Warren Beatty of modern mixology. It's so easy, in fact, to be seduced by this clever old roué that a word of caution would not be out of place here. These gents have a way of stealing up on you and -- bimmo! Next thing you know it's 8:43 on Monday morning and you're sitting in the backseat of a taxi idling in front of  your place of employ. In your skivvies.'  There really are some fantastic descriptions of cocktails out there and I'm not going to attempt to take credit for the passage above.  That came from the drinks section of the Esquire site.

While this drink is classic, I found that the citrus gave it a very fun aspect - which complimented last week's Mad Men episode very well.  After episode 7 - 'Man with a Plan', we needed something lighter and that's just what we got.  While the episode was not without its darker aspects - we realize that Don's obsession with Sylvia stems from a connection he draws between her and one of the women at the brothel where he grew up.  Don was only about 13 or 14 perhaps and she significantly older and vastly more experienced than he.  She cared for him when he was sick and then subsequently took his virginity.  There don't seem to be any physical similarities between the two women, but I think with Sylvia being older, there is simply something familiar there for Don to draw upon.  Also one of the stand out scenes of the episode was when a woman comes into Don's apartment in the middle of the night while Sally is left alone with her brothers to rob the apartment.  This woman, 'Grandma Ida', is incredibly brazen (to the point that I was actually shocked with how she interacted with Sally, even making her eggs to prove that everything is on the up and up) and, it seemed to Sally as if this stranger knew more about Don than she does.  At the end of the episode, Sally tells Don, "I asked her everything I know. She had an answer for everything and I realized I don't know anything about you."  As much psychoanalysis as we've all done, I sometimes get the feeling that we don't either.

photo credit

With traumatic flashbacks and traumatic interactions with strangers in the middle of the night in addition to Frank Gleason's passing, this had the makings of another very downtrodden episode.  Thankfully, we had a fantastic 'energy serum' to thank for lifting this episode up and allowing us to experience the brilliance of the writers.  They are able to deal with so many emotionally draining things, but intersperse them with scenes that lift you up and allow you to laugh when a few moments beforehand you didn't think that was possible.

photo credit

Jim Cutler brings in a 'doctor' in the wake of Gleason's death since morale is low and there is so much work to be done for Chevy.  This 'doctor' brings with him an 'energy serum' which he injects most of the office with.  While he claims that this is a complex vitamin superdose, what he's really holding is a syringe full of amphetamine and everyone spends the whole weekend in the office, and while no productive work was done (as Ted says, "Half of this work is gibberish.  Chevy is spelled wrong!!"), most of them had a fantastic time...

photo credit
Episode 8, 'The Crash' is most powerful when everyone is coming down from the 'vitamins' that were injected into their backsides.  This is where you see that everyone is really mourning something and trying desperately to find some way to escape their problems for however long they can.  Mainly those outlets are sex and drugs.  While this escapism is a very real, very serious issue with the characters of this show, it led us to one of the most entertaining, fantastic episodes of the entire show!

What did you think Kittens?  Did you LOVE this episode as much as I did?  Were you cheering at the fact that we finally saw our first kiss between Peggy and Stan?  Do you think Ken should tap dance at some point in every episode?  Many people online said it was the most confusing Mad Men episode you agree?

No comments:

Post a Comment