Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mad Men Cocktail Hour - The Negroni

Hello Lovelies!

Tonight is the season finale of Mad Men and I'm getting this post up just in the nick of time!  Since I was out of town last weekend, Bridget and I (and Port) did not do our Mad Men Cocktail Hour until Thursday.  I had Bridget select the cocktail and she decided on the Negroni.

photo courtesy of Bridget
I'm going to be very honest...I did not like this cocktail at all.

The whole reason we do Mad Men Cocktail Hour each week is the fact that both Bridget and I are complete cocktail novices.  Very well versed in wine, but clueless when it comes to cocktails - though we've been doing a rather good job of educating ourselves, if I do say do myself.  One of our stumbling blocks has been getting used to the fact that some cocktails are VERY strong since they do not contain any mixers.  The strongest drink we had up until last week was the Manhattan, but because of the sweetness of the bourbon, I found it easier to drink, though Bridget disagreed.  Not only is the Negroni strong, but because of the Campari, it also tasted like Robitussin to me.

I'd heard many times that Campari is something that takes some getting used to, and while it smells fabulous, I do not think that I could ever get used to the metallic, medicinal quality of this liqueur.

Like the previous cocktails, we used the recipe from the Mad Men Cocktail Guide.  What astounded me was the fact that all other recipes that I found were exactly the same as this one - equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth with an orange peel garnish.  Usually I find many different recipes, but for the Negroni, the variations were all separate cocktails.  Because I disliked the original so much, I juiced half the orange I used for the garnish and added that and ginger ale.  This made the cocktail drinkable, but drinking it was still not a pleasant experience.  My hat goes off to anyone who can drink this as originally prepared.

Now for a little history.  The Negroni has its roots in the Americano, which is equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water.  Picture it - Florence, Italy, 1919.  Count Camillo Negroni walks into Caffè Casoni and wants an Americano, though he does not think it's strong enough, so he orders it with gin instead of soda.  And there you have it - the birth of the Negroni!

Now that we've taken care of the cocktail portion of the evening, we can move onto Mad Men!

I could feel the series gearing up for tonight's season finale with the main focus being on Peggy and Ted.  Since both have said that nothing can happen and last week, Ted seemed to rediscover the importance of his family, I ALMOST thought that we weren't going to see it go anywhere.  Oh, how wrong I was...

photo credit

Not only did Don and Megan catch them at the movies (where they actually had a legitimate reason for being there together), but the entire office sees that something is happening between them.  It's in the way that they look at each other, in the way that they laugh at each other's jokes, in the way that Ted always seems to find a way to touch her, and most obvious in the way that Ted supported Peggy's vision for the Baby Aspirin commercial despite the fact that it was significantly over the original budget and almost lost them the business altogether.  When Don forces Ted to drop Ocean Spray for Sunkist (looks like Ted is no longer getting 'his juice') and then steps in during the client meeting for the aspirin ad and almost outs the two of them, it's very obvious that he's reveling in the fact that he has the upper hand again.  While he's a complete asshole about the whole thing, he states that he's just looking out for the company and that's very valid.  But at the same time, he met Megan at work, so I can see this getting personal and ugly.  Don feels threatened by Ted and still feels protective of Peggy, so this could get very exciting tonight!

Yes, Ken being shot in the face by Chevy was shocking, but since I was hoping that was the last we'd see of Ken, I was more shocked and invested in the revelation that Bob Benson was a completely fabricated character.  I KNEW there was some juicy stuff hiding there!  With the fact that he was able to get hired by CGC, the fact that Jim Cutler surreptitiously put him onto both Manischewitz and Chevy, and the fact that Jim wouldn't let Pete replace him to create a new Chevy team leads me to believe that we've only discovered a small part of this Bob Benson story which is super exciting!  Though, I can't understand why Pete didn't at least try to get rid of him...yes, he unsuccessfully tried getting rid of Don when he found out about his past, but Don was Creative Director and Bob is a VERY new account man.  Perhaps we'll see some resolution here in tonight, but it's more likely that the finale will just set this up for a Pete/Bob showdown in Season 7.

The third big focus of this episode was Sally not wanting to go back to Don's and requesting to be sent off to boarding school.  Don's been torn apart by what happened, but to know your daughter doesn't want to see you at all has to be devastating, especially when she previously worshiped the ground you walked on.

photo credit

While Sally thinks boarding school will help her escape her problems, she did not consider the new set of problems that she would encounter.  The hazing by the two rich bitches she spends the night with was not expected by anyone.  Also not expected was seeing Glen climb through the window to bring the girls booze, cigarettes, and pot.  While Glen is older, I can't stop thinking of him as that creepy little boy who asked Betty for a lock of her hair.

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Glen leaves Sally with his friend, Rolo, while he goes into the other room with one of the irritating girls and he tries to kiss her.  Sally freaks out and calls for Glen, accusing Rolo of trying to 'force her' which leads to a scuffle between the two boys.  Sally's reaction to the whole thing (the smirk of satisfaction) shows that she's a lot more like Betty than she wants to admit - though it's pretty common for a girl, especially a teenage girl, to vehemently deny that she is anything at all like her mother.  These days however, I think Sally wouldn't be as opposed to being like Betty instead of Don.  When Betty comes to pick her up from the overnight stay at the boarding school, she tells her that she got in and allows her to have a cigarette in the car.  When she asks if Don has ever given her a cigarette or a beer, Sally replies, "My father's never given me anything."  Though that's not true, he's about to give her her freedom since he agreed to pay for everything.  And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I've started looking at things in the perspective of the last season and really, I don't want to waste the limited time we have left with this series watching Sally at boarding school with pushy, entitled, rich bitch teenagers.  I'd rather have the confrontation and watch Sally self-destruct at home...because it's coming.  Bridget and I toasted Sally with our Negronis, we raised our glasses to her and the MANY therapy bills and Negroni tabs that are in her future.  We were probably more right than we knew...

Are you as excited as I am about tonight?!?!?  I've got to run, much to do, have to make the viewing of the season finale special!

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