I love everything about Mad Men (minus the smoking); The fashion, the culture, the cocktails…These are the classics. Recently I was hired to teach a class on the classic cocktails of Mad Men. From Martinis to Manhattans we went through seven variations, their origins, and their modern interpretations.
I decided that part of the education should be to taste what the premium ingredients were like on their own. Sourcing test-tube sets with stands I poured an ounce of each: Wodka Vodka, Faultline Gin, Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Leopold Whiskey, and Redemption Rye. We tasted in this order and then put these babies to work after a little background information on their makeup and applications. I think the biggest surprise came from tasting the vermouths (which you should always refrigerate after opening). Those in the industry can appreciate the appetite stimulating effect of a good dry vermouth poured over the rocks and sipped before dinner, or a high quality sweet vermouth enjoyed over ice with an orange twist as a mild digestif. There is no question, this is one of my favorite events to teach and research. We cover every basic angle of home bartending from selecting and storing ingredients, to bartending techniques, presentation, and history.