The food and drink of MAD MEN


"Mad Men," the Peabody Award-winning television drama set in 1960s New York, began its second season on AMC several weeks ago. Nominated for 16 Emmys, "Mad Men" revolves around Don Draper and his creative colleagues at a high-powered Manhattan advertising agency. The men smoke, drink and have steamy affairs while their perfectly coifed and attired wives stay home and care for the kids.

Food and drink play a big part in this compelling series. The martini, made with gin and vermouth, and Scotch — which is one of Don Draper’s favorite libations — neat or old-fashioned, are the cocktails of choice. The Mad Men keep bottles of booze in their office desk drawers.

Since the program takes place more than 40 years ago, the foods the cast of characters enjoy reflect those years. Some have become classics and are still served today.

In the dining room of a clubby restaurant lined with deep red leather booths two couples sip martinis while the waiter prepares a Caesar salad. The audience sees him rubbing a clove of garlic on the bottom of a large wooden salad bowl. Draper’s wife goes on to order Dover sole.

Newlywed Peter Campbell, who last season fathered a child with Peggy — Don’s former secretary and now an advertising copywriter — calls his wife at home and makes a suggestion for his dinner.

"I want a rib-eye in the pan with butter," he said.

Other "Mad Men" dishes include avocado with crabmeat, creamed spinach, potatoes au gratin and vichyssoise. 

Classic Martini


3 shots of gin
2 olives, soaked in a few drops of dry vermouth


Place a martini glass in the freezer.

Fill a metal cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the gin and as much vermouth as desired. Stir briskly.

Remove the glass from the freezer and drop in the olives. Place a strainer over the cocktail shaker and pour.

Serves one.

Note from Phyllis: Never shake a martini. It bruises the gin. Stirring brings out the flavors and aromas of the herbs, including juniper, which are used in making gin. The amount of dry vermouth is according to personal tastes. A few drops nicely compliments the gin.

Old Fashioned from "The Craft of the Cocktail" by Dale Degroff


1 teaspoon of sugar
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 orange slices
2 maraschino cherries
Water or soda water
2 ounces of bourbon 


In the bottom of an old-fashioned glass, carefully muddle the sugar, bitters, one orange slice, one cherry and a splash of the water or soda water. Remove the orange rind and add the bourbon, ice and as much water or soda as desired. Garnish with the remaining orange slice and cherry.

Serves one.

Note from Phyllis: An old-fashioned glass is the size of a double-rocks glass. Degroff writes this drink was created in Louisville, Ky. He prefers to muddle the sugar and fruit, while others do not. Muddling adds flavor, so the drink is not as sweet.

Sole Veronique


4 6-ounce fillets of sole
Pats of butter, to dot the fish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup of dry white wine
1 small bunch of green seedless grapes


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Lay them in a baking dish. Top each with about two pats of butter. Add the salt and pepper. Pour the wine and grapes over the fish.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves four.

Note from Phyllis: Dover sole can be expensive. Gray sole or fillet of flounder are good substitutes.

Avocado with Crabmeat


2 ripe Haas avocados, pitted, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 pound of lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sprinkling of imported sweet Hungarian paprika


Place the avocados on four chilled plates.

Place the crabmeat in a bowl and toss gently. Add the remaining ingredients and blend.

Divide the crabmeat among the avocados, packing down in the center.

Serves four.

Rib-Eye in the Pan


2 8-ounce boneless rib eye steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of olive oil


Bring the steaks to room temperature and wipe dry with paper towels. Season with the salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sear the steaks for three to five minutes per side for rare.

Serves two.