13 August 2010

"Sterling Cooper and You” How to Throw a 1960s Mad Men Inspired Party

We have the great pleasure of introducing a very special guest contributor.  Embodying the perfect mix of class, savvy & sass, Auntie Carrie's Speakeasy offers a spot-on perspective about entertaining.  Read on to enjoy her take on the quintessential 1960s "Mad Men" themed party.

Unless you are like Auntie and I, who run our own Speak Easy, (no address given. So please don’t ask), the theme of 1920s is so done. But what’s sexy right now? An equally inebriating decade: the 1960s. Throwing a 1960s Mad Men themed party will make you the talk of the town. This is how Auntie Carrie’s Speak Easy would do it: Of course, our simple “How to a Throw Party” rules apply.

1. The Classic Cocktail: Familiarize yourself with the drinks of the times. Unless you have a head for bartending, just learn how to make three Classics (proportions courtesy of Drinks Mixer. We would suggest a Martini, Tom Collins and a Manhattan. The Mad Men Site has a wonderful collection of drinks from the period. However, I take issue with their listing vodka as the primary ingredient in the Martini. Do have vodka as an option but do be prepared to make a classic Martini. Also, make sure to have a healthy supply of scotch, champagne, garnishes (cherries, lemons, straws, umbrellas, plastic monkeys) and a top notch looking bar.

75ml (or approx 2+ 1/2 oz) Gin
15ml (or approx 1/4 oz) Dry Vermouth
1 green olive OR a twist of lemon peel

Tom Collins
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
3 oz club soda
1 maraschino cherry
1 slice orange

3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 dash Angostura® bitters
1 maraschino cherry
1 twist orange peel

2. Party Punch.We believe every party should have a signature drink. Sometimes your friends have no idea what they want. Why waste time deciding when they should be drinking? We suggest a Brandy Punch:

Brandy Punch
50 cl brandy
12 cl dark rum
3  cl lemon juice
20 cl water
30 cl dry ginger ale
1 sliced orange
1 tbsp pineapple chunks
1 tbsp raspberries

3. The Stem is Half the Fun. All drinks should be served in appropriate stem-wear. A no-fail place to purchase is Crate and Barrel. (Editor's note - don't forget Bar Basics at SavvyHostMarket)
Etoile Martini Glasses, SavvyHostMarket
However, if you love your guests but just don’t trust them? Go for some disposable Martini Glasses. We found some suitable ones on Amazon. Be a little sexist and add a ridiculous amount of garnish to the ladies' drinks.

4. Dust off your Joy of Cooking or 1962 Reader’s Digest. Your guests will be tickled to see the Jello Salad,  Canapes or Swedish Meatballs. If you need assistance finding recipes, there is a wonderful blog based on Vintage Cookbooks that is certain to help and plenty of recipes on Epicurious When in doubt, cook it in a mold. If you are not in the mood to cook, stick to Sterling Cooper’s clients: Utz Potato Chips, Stouffers TV Dinners and Chiquita Bananas.

5. “Appropriate Dress” must be stressed on your invites. The Gentlemen have it the easiest. A gray suit. Perhaps dark gray or bluish gray, but that’s it. Pinstripes are fine. Narrow or bow-tie. Nice watch. Cuff links. Conservative shoes.

The ladies of the early 1960s have a whole assortment of styles to choose from. They can choose to be the Suburban housewife, the aspiring working girl (and first hints of feminism) or the Pin Up. When researching your outfit, make sure to focus on early 1960s. We would even stray into late 1950s before attempting late 1960s which was a whole different mood. Unless you are appearing as the 1960s Pin Up girl, err on the side of sexually repressed.

I found this wonderful site to begin your research for the perfect outfit. If female guests would rather appear as the object of the Sterling Cooper boys’ fantasies, they can go Vintage Vogue or Vintage Playboy.

What do all three have in common? Maidenform.

6. Keep The Invite Jazzy as if you were the cool client or Account Execute throwing the party. You should have invites with a striking graphic. Or if you are uber-creative, style your invitations after early 1960s print ads. “New and Improved!” “No Dull Meals!” The site, Found in Mom’s Basement: Advertising from the 1960s is a must-see. Or take inspiration from some hip LP cover. Speaking of which...

7. 1960s Music Can Be What You Want. We want you to strive for authenticity. However, in the music category, it is important to choose what would be most pleasing to you and your crowd. You could create a playlist from Billboard’s popular songs at the time. However, if Auntie Carrie and I were throwing a 1960s party we would go heavy on the Bossa Nova and Cuban Jazz. Stan Getz. Cal Tjader. Tito Puente. If that’s not sexy, nothing is. And as the evening winds down (and it’s time for folks to go), we’d switch to some late 50s - early 60s Jazz: Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”, Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out”, Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” with lots of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan sprinkled in.

8. Streamlined or Kitschy Decor. This would depend upon whether you are throwing your romp at a bar, the NYC apartment or the house in the suburbs.  When investigating, we again repeat to err on the side of late ‘50s before going too far into the ‘60s. This is especially true for the suburban home. Find a theme within the Mad Men theme. Is it Tiki Bar? or is it more Mambo? Is it “After Work Drinks With the Guys” or “Swapping Recipes with the Girls”. Depending upon that “theme within a theme”, you might either litter the room with dark leather coasters or bamboo curtains. Or small bottles of pills in the bathrooms and copies of Ladies Home Journal on the table. Quick tip: if you can’t afford or don’t have time to purchase vintage copies of Readers Digest or Playboy: download a jpg from online, print it and glue it onto the front of any periodical.

9. Can I Borrow A Light? Yes, cigarettes are a must. Thankfully, you can purchase candy/bubble gum cigarettes. Your friends should be posh but still healthy. Find a neighborhood vintage candy shop (Shoppe) to stock up on faux cigarettes and other goodies. If you live anywhere near New Hampshire, then Chutters is a must.

10. That’s Entertainment! We would certainly set up a Kodak Slide Show aka “The Carousel”. Run vintage commercials on your television or laptop. There are plenty online. We’d also like to suggest “games” but the only ones we can recall on Mad Men are power plays and sexual indiscretion. Perhaps, set up one room as a motel room or Don Draper's city pad. Also, if you’ve not seen it, do rent the film “The Best of Everything with Joan Crawford. It’s actually a film about three young women working in publishing but it might give you additional ideas beyond Mad Men clips on YouTube.

Auntie’s Advice: If you remember nothing else, do remember the three As: Arrogance. Advertising. Alcohol.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Don't miss a chance to get to know your Auntie better!  Auntie Carrie's Speakeasy has become one of our favorite blogs for savvy style and attitude.  "Who to know and who to party with" is her mantra, and if there is any entertaining to be done, we can count on her to bring the essentials.

Follow her on Twitter - @ACSpeakEasy.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

looking for something specific?

find SavvyHostMarket on amazon