Friday, June 14, 2013

Mad Men Cocktail Hour - The Whiskey Sour

Good Evening Lovelies!

This week's Mad Men Cocktail Hour was another selection from the Mad Men Cocktail Guide - the classic Whiskey Sour.

There is not much fanfare or scandal associated with the history of this cocktail, which I believe is a first for the Mad Men Cocktail Hour series.  This is the oldest of the 'sour' family of drinks and is a result of the practice in the 1700's of adding rum or other alcohol to citrus juice in order to preserve it so that sailors could avoid getting scurvy.  Seems like many cocktails truly do have a history of medicinal use!

Like most cocktails, there are MANY recipes for the Whiskey Sour - though the classic recipe is very simple - whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar.  Some variations use bourbon, some add orange juice, some use powdered sugar, and others will also add an egg white.  The variation that uses bourbon, lemon and orange juice, and grenadine is called a Ward 8,  so not all variations are still considered a Whiskey Sour.  Bridget and I used whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and the simple syrup she made for last week's Vodka Gimlets and they were quite tasty!  I was originally skeptical of any 'sour' drink since sweet and sour mix is essentially a glass full of high fructose corn syrup and chemicals, so I have long stayed away from them, but I should have known that any classic recipe would not use store bought sweet and sour mix!

We've had a few tie-ins with our cocktails, but this episode's was fantastic.  I almost spit out my drink when less than ten minutes into the episode Ted, Peggy, and Pete were having dinner and drinks after their meeting with Ocean Spray (which coincidentally was where our first cocktail recipe came from) and  Peggy says, "Could you get me another Whiskey Sour?" and Pete says, "Maybe I'll switch to Whiskey Sours."  He definitely should - they're delicious! (And potent)

It is at this informal dinner between the three of them that Pete realizes the feelings that Ted and Peggy have for each other and you actually feel sorry for Pete.  There's always been something between Pete and Peggy (aside from the baby - PS - we haven't heard ANYTHING about their son in many, many seasons.  They are currently running short little snipits from old episodes on AMC and there is one from the conversation Don and Peggy have at the hospital right after she gives birth.  He tells her, "...Move forward.  This never happened.  It will shock you how much it never happened."  And he was absolutely right).  I railed against Pete a bit last week and I love/hate this show for always giving us something and then showing us the other side of a situation or character in the following episode.  It's absolutely brilliant!  This episode showed us the human part of Pete.  It almost breaks your heart to have to watch Pete sit between Peggy and Ted;  he sits there all greasy with a receeding hairline between the woman he wants and the man he wants to be.  And when he says to Peggy, "At least one of us ended up important.  Please tell me you don't pity me."  But you really can't help BUT pity him.

Another element that makes me take back some of the hatred I expressed last week was how Pete is dealing with his mother's mental illness.  He hires Manolo, a male nurse (Spanish from Spain), to take care of her.  What starts as an ideal situation quickly turns into an undesirable one.  Manolo takes such great care of his mother that she falls in love with him.  Whether the physical part of their relationship is real or all in her head, we do not know - though Pete states that while she's very confused as of late, "it's the first time in months that she seems sure of anything."  When Pete tells his mother that he's letting Manolo go, she gets very upset, "You were a sour little boy and you're a sour little man!  How could I expect you to be understanding?  You've always been unlovable!"  Poor Pete.  I don't like blaming an adult's actions on their mothers, it's actually surprising that Pete and Don aren't MORE screwed up than they are.
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Right on the heels of the successful Ocean Spray meeting, Don and Roger get the news that they won the Sunkist account.  Unfortunately, this creates a conflict since they cannot have two juice accounts.  The terrible handling of this situation highlights the fact that this new Sterling Cooper and Partners is still very much a divided firm, having gone through a merger in name only.  I loved Peter's line to Roger when he said that he didn't know that Ocean Spray was being pitched - "Didn't you wonder where everyone was?!?"This causes Ted to storm off to his office to sulk.  While Ted is trying to grow the business, he really has no idea as to how to deal with Don.  The problem is that he takes everything personally and usually feels like he's being attacked.  "Imagine if every time Ginger Rogers jumped in the air, Fred Astaire punched her in the face!"  Perhaps the funniest line of this episode was when Ted channels a child and whines that he doesn't want Don's juice, he wants his juice.  Really Ted?

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One of my favorite scenes of this episode was when Peggy calls Stan in the middle of the night to deal with the rat caught in a trap under her couch.  Like I've said in past posts, I would love it if the two of them gave it a shot.  After Peggy went to CGC, the two of them forged a very close friendship, but both of them have blurred the line from time to time.  The person she calls in her time of crisis is very telling, so perhaps we shall see a little love connection here after all, since it seems that Ted is rediscovering the importance of his own family...

Another love related storyline that I did NOT see coming was Bob Benson's.  He seemed sincere when he asked Pete, "When there's true love, does it matter who it is?"  Yet, I wonder if this isn't part of some bigger plotpoint.  We only have two more episodes left, so hopefully this gets resolves before next season...

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Far and away, the most talked about scene of this episode is that of Sally walking in on Don 'comforting' Sylvia.  This poor girl - between her crazy, vindictive, self-absorbed mother and her distant, egomaniac, philandering father, she was already doomed to YEARS of therapy.  But walking in on Don just doubled that number.  ESPECIALLY since he tells her that she 'probably thought' she saw something.  How could Don think that would work?  Yes, he was incredibly intoxicated, but come on...Sally is no longer little girl.  The wild card is really where Sally's loyalties lie.  Yes, she despises her mother and feels that her father understands her and supports her dreams, but this just changed everything.  A few episodes ago, Sally's relationship with Megan was altered dramatically when she left the children home and a woman broke in.  Sally has always been quite mature and level headed, but this could be the catalyst for Sally's teenage rebellion since she does not have anyone to have any functional relationship with (except perhaps Mitchell), but we will simply have to wait and see.

Sally aside, I'm glad that Don finally got caught with his pants down, literally!  He's been able to grow his ego so large because he seems to be able to get away with everything - not just getting away with things, but actually triumphing.  This might not just be a turning point for Sally, but also Don as well...
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What did you think Lovelies?  I'm very much looking forward to the last two episodes of this season!!

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