Last week, I sent Bridget an email that listed a few cocktail choices for us to enjoy while watching the second to the last episode before the mid-season finale of Mad Men. That list included everything from simple to elaborate, from Betty-caliber to what we've coined Draper-caliber cocktails. But for all the choices, there was something appealing about a simple Daiquiri. I, myself, had never had a regular Daiquiri, only those of the frozen fruit variety, and while I find Strawberry Daiquiris quite tasty, I thought that it was high time I tried one of the original variety.
Part of the Mad Men Cocktail Guide, this recipe is super simple - light rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. It's origins are equally simple. Named for a beach near Santiago, Cuba, the story goes that an American miner in a nearby iron mine, named Jennings Cox (great name, by the way) crafted this now classic cocktail. A United States Congressman, William A. Chandler, purchased the mine in 1902 and brought the cocktail to New York. A Navy medical doctor tried the drink, introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C. a few years later and it quickly gained popularity. Funnily enough, the political climate of the time is responsible for this drink becoming so well-known. Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy of 1933 opened trade routes and travel relations with Latin America, Cuba, and the Caribbean and while war-time rationing of liquor made most hard alcohol hard to come by, Rum was easily obtainable and far more affordable. We have this political deal, as well as tasty rum-based cocktails, to thank for making Latin America seem fashionable to previously sheltered Americans.
So, let's sit back with Buena Vista Social Club, raise our Daiquiris, and talk about the best Mad Men episode we've had this season!
Okay, so A LOT happened in this episode! And while I can't save you from not having watched it, I can most definitely catch you up on the major things that happened.
I can't talk about this episode without mentioning Bob Benson. This whole season, he's been MIA. After he outed Pete for not being able to drive in front of the GM execs, he took over the account and was based out of Detroit. This sixth episode he reappeared, spent some time with Joan and proposed. As you do, after being gone for a few months. I was SO proud of Joan for telling Bob that it wasn't women that he should be kissing and sent him on his way. His parting words were super fucking harsh! Implying that, at her age, the part of a Beard is the best she'll ever get. This is why I LOVE Joan. She values herself enough to send Bob packing!
Continuing the story arc of the episodes before, Peggy is still heading the team for the burger account and is technically Don's boss, but is having an incredibly difficult time with it. She's allowing Don to get into her head and is smack-dab in the middle of a professional crisis. The burger account is forcing her to confront her feelings of inadequacy with not being a wife and mother. Don suggesting that there may be another strategy for the pitch is somehow making Peggy second guess everything. Working late at the office, Peggy and Don finally rekindle the relationship that we've seen throughout the entire series and it warmed my heart.
Peggy asked Don to tell her how to think about the campaign. And in the most brilliant and most heart-wrenching scene we've had this season, Don breaks down his creative process and Peggy reveals to Don how insecure she is about the fact that she hasn't established a family of her own. In the early seasons, we've seen Don mold Peggy into the professional woman that she's become and we've also seen him comfort her when she's needed it. When she tells Don that she's not sure she can give too much prospective to the family-oriented campaign since she doesn't have one, we see Don step into the role of friend and confidant. Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" starts playing on the radio and Don extends his hand to Peggy. She accepts it and they start to dance.
The best line of the episode is Don's. "I worry about a lot of things, but I don't worry about you." I LOVE this relationship and this scene nearly brought me to tears!
This episode focused on the family, but not necessarily the nuclear family. I especially loved the scene where Peggy, Don, and Pete are are Burger Chef together. Despite their ups and downs, these three have become a family of sorts over the years which is what made this scene so perfect! The new account pitch about families sharing a meal that shows the three of them at a table together brought me back to the dynamic that has kept me addicted to this show for so long.