Host Your Own Swingin’ Soiree, Mad Men Style

    Party like it’s 1964! Season five of Mad Men just debuted after a way-too-prolonged absence and it’s the perfect excuse to throw a cocktail and viewing party. A swanky shindig is easy with our tips.

    Ask your guests to dress era-appropriate. The show began in 1960 and is currently set in 1966, giving everyone a few years’ worth of sartorial choices, from 1950s holdovers like Joan-style wiggle dresses and Betty-style full-skirted party frocks worn over petticoats, to the Twiggy-influenced looks of the mid-60s, such as the short skirts, false eyelashes, or psychedelic prints worn by Megan and Trudy. Men can come attired in suits and hats or a loud Pete Campbell-style plaid jacket.

    No Mad Men party is complete without some classic cocktails. Offer your guests two or three signature drinks (along with some mocktails, such as the Arnold Palmer).

    Jackie Kennedy’s Daiquiri

    ‘60s style icon Jackie Kennedy’s favorite drink was her version of the daiquiri.

    2 parts light rum (Jackie preferred Bacardi; we prefer Cruzan)
    2 parts frozen limeade
    1 part fresh lime juice
    A few drops of Falernum to sweeten

    Toss in a martini shaker or stir in a pitcher with ice. Voila!

    Classic Martini

    People can get into some heated debates about martinis – shaken or stirred? Gin or vodka based? This excellent recipe is a can't-miss for gin lovers (but feel free to sub vodka for gin for those who prefer):

    4 parts gin
    1 part dry vermouth
    Small strip of lemon peel.

    Fill a mixing glass with ice, then add gin and vermouth. Stir for half a minute and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel. Skol!

    Blue Hawaiian

    The Mad Men era’s tiki influence was huge. The Mai Tai is the most classic tiki concoction, but the Blue Hawaiian is a fun excuse to partake of a fruity drink the color of Windex.

    1 oz blue curaçao
    1 oz light rum
    1 oz cream of coconut
    2 oz pineapple juice
    1 maraschino cherry
    1 slice of pineapple
    1 cup of ice

    Blend all ingredients, pour into a highball glass, then garnish with a pineapple spear and a maraschino cherry. Cheers!

    Before the show starts, you’ll want to play some music from the time period. A few suggested CD compilations:

    For a cocktail party, finger foods are the order of the day. Here are some easy suggestions for food popular at the time. No, they’re not diet food but neither are cocktails. If you wear a girdle, as they did in the early 1960s, you probably won’t overdo it. Maybe that’s why they were so skinny back then…

    Bacon-date rumaki

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap 1/3 to ½ a slice of bacon around a date (depending on the size of the date) and secure with a toothpick. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the date has caramelized.

    Hot Artichoke Dip
    This dip became popular in the 1960s when Best Foods promoted it to sell more jars of mayonnaise. It worked.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine a drained, chopped 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, a 4 oz. can of green chilis, a cup of mayonnaise, and 4 oz. grated Parmesan in a casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until baked through.

    Pigs in a Blanket

    You’ll need a package of cocktail weiners, 8 slices of American cheese, and a package of refrigerated crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury’s). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the dough and cut each triangle into halves. Wrap each cocktail weiner in American cheese, wrap with crescent dough half, place on cookie sheet seam-side down and cook till browned, about 10-15 minutes.