Don Draper

The Highball’s Old Fashioned drink is featured in honor of Sunday’s season five premier of AMC’s “Mad Men”, whose characters sip on classic cocktails. The Old Fashioned contains aromatic bitters, sugar, bourbon, cherry, an orange slice, and a lemon wedge. (Photo Illustration)

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

From protagonist Don Draper’s Old Fashioneds to his ex-wife Betty’s Bloody Marys, the retro adulterers on AMC’s “Mad Men” sip on classic cocktails from dusk ‘til dawn. In honor of Sunday’s season five premiere, the Texan met up with staff from Haddington’s American Tavern, The Highball and Easy Tiger to talk timeless drinks and their Mad Men sensibilities.

We’ve included recipes for the classic versions of these retro concoctions, but here are some ideas to update the drinks for your modern palate.

HADDINGTON’S MODERN MANHATTAN

“We try to stay as classic as possible, but we do spin-offs like the Whitfield Porter, which is our version of the Manhattan,” said Haddington’s bartender Bryan McKinney.

The Whitfield Porter is a seasonal drink on the Haddington’s cocktail menu and consists of two parts bourbon for every one part of vermouth and also has different flavored bitters. The bar changes up the conventional cherry garnish and replaces it with a grapefruit peel.

“Classically, unless a drink has juice in it, you don’t shake it,” McKinney said. “You want to stir the drink until your arm is on fire, that way you don’t bruise the bourbon.”

As for the vermouth, the bar has a specific method for maintenance. Since the liquor is a wine-based spirit, keeping the bottle fresh requires proper care.

“It’s like drinking a bottle of wine that’s been open for a year and a half: of course it doesn’t taste good,” McKinney said of vermouth that isn’t well cared for.

THE HIGHBALL’S UPDATED OLD FASHIONED

“Typically, the classics are a way to cover up the taste of the alcohol,” said Jeff Brennecke, a bartender at The Highball. “People had to make the alcohol during prohibition so they were really not going to wait and taste it.”

That’s why the classic cocktails have simple syrup, different flavors of bitters and mixtures to cover up the strong flavor, Brennecke said.

The Highball does a rendition of Draper’s Old Fashion called the OG. Brennecke said they change up the traditional bourbon with cherry bourbon.

“It’s obvious that the novelty of classic drinks is not wearing off,” Brennecke said. “I think they’re actually making a comeback, and it probably has something to do with ‘Mad Men.’”

EASY TIGER’S HEARTY BLOODY MARY

Aside from its beer specialties, Easy Tiger prides itself on a scotch and whiskey collection.

Amanda Jackson, restaurant manager at Easy Tiger, said it is typically the knowledgeable customer who orders these liquors. “They’re experienced males who are a part of the downtown office working group,” Jackson said.

For a more Betty Draper-themed drink, however, Easy Tiger has recently included a heartier version of a traditional Bloody Mary on their menu.

“We have a house-made Bloody Mary mix made from in-house vegetables,” Jackson said. “We make it with Monopolowa and serve it with a big stick of beef jerky.”

As a garnish, the Bloody Mary is accompanied with a bamboo stick that has pickled vegetables. These range from Brussels sprouts to cauliflower and carrots.

The cast of “Mad Men” in the season three finale, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat,” one of the most exciting and essential episodes of the series. (Photo courtesy of AMC)

Warning: This article includes spoilers for the first four seasons of “Mad Men.”

With “Mad Men’s” fifth season premiering Sunday, The Daily Texan worked through the first four seasons of AMC’s hit drama and found five essential episodes for catching up.

Season 1, Episode 1 — “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” — A lot of shows are struggling to find themselves in their pilot episodes, but “Mad Men” introduced audiences to Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) and the rest of Sterling Cooper with the same sure-handed confidence that guides the show today. The first scene of the series is an instant classic, but even better is the scene where Don Draper conjures up a pitch for the moguls from Lucky Strike Cigarettes out of thin air.

Season 1, Episode 12 — “Nixon vs. Kennedy” — “Mad Men’s” first season gives a lot of screentime over to Don Draper’s secret past, and “Nixon vs. Kennedy” shades in the final details of how Dick Whitman became Don Draper. The episode also gives us a languorous sequence as the office drones watch the results pour in from the titular election that’s filled with the small character details that “Mad Men” does so well. What makes it really memorable is senior partner Bertram Cooper’s (Robert Morse) reaction to an underling’s attempt to blackmail Don with knowledge of his true identity: a terse, characteristically Randian, “Who cares?”

Season 2, Episode 12 — “The Mountain King” — Season two doesn’t have quite as many striking moments as its peers, but “The Mountain King” is a spectacular episode featuring a transformative performance from Jon Hamm, whose Don Draper has decided to cast away his old life and live out his days as alter ego Dick Whitman. It seems like Hamm is playing an entirely different character here, and it’s startling to see Don so relaxed and friendly. Back in New York, a British company with deep pockets is circling Sterling Cooper, Peggy gets her most triumphant moment to date when she lands her own office, and Joan (Christina Hendricks) is at her most hollow and defeated after a traumatizing encounter with her fiancée in Don’s office.

Season 3, Episode 6 — “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” — “Mad Men” catches a lot of flak for its languid pacing, and up to this point, season three certainly takes its time with any significant plot movement. It turns out that creator Matthew Weiner was just getting all the pieces into place for this explosive episode, where plots like Joan’s impending departure from Sterling Cooper, the new company dynamic and Don and Betty’s new child all come to a head. Not to mention the macabre moment when a British executive’s foot meets a John Deere lawn mower, which is “Mad Men” at its most brazenly outlandish.

Season 3, Episode 11 — “The Gypsy and the Hobo” — Season three is distinct for its unshakable sense of impending doom, illustrated through the changes at Sterling Cooper and the collapse of the Draper marriage. When Betty finally learns the truth about Don’s past, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and the resulting confrontation is Jon Hamm’s finest moment on the show, from the tremble in his fingers as he tries to light a cigarette to the pain he evokes with a lengthy monologue about his late brother. It’s a wonderful, cathartic episode that also features a welcome look at Roger Sterling’s life before World War II.

Season 3, Episode 13 — “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” — “Mad Men’s” season finales are unpredictable. The biggest plot developments usually transpire in the penultimate episode, and finales are the denouements, but season three closes with one of the most entertaining episodes “Mad Men” has ever produced. When Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) jump ship to start their own agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, it makes for a gloriously satisfying heist film of a finale. It also gives us one of the sweetest moments in Don and Peggy’s relationship and a sense of excitement and momentum that carries over into season four.

Season 4, Episode 7 — “The Suitcase” — Up to this point, season four saw Don in a downward spiral as a result of his divorce and his rising star in the advertising world, and all it takes is a long night with protege Peggy to shake him out of it. “The Suitcase” shrinks the show’s exceptional ensemble down to just Hamm and Moss for most of its runtime, and the show’s dialogue is at its most crisp and nuanced as they trade barbs and, eventually, Don voluntarily shares part of his past for the first time. “The Suitcase” is probably the finest episode “Mad Men” has ever produced, and it’s because of the painstaking detail that’s gone into creating the Don-Peggy dynamic, the audacity of building an entire episode around the duo and especially Elizabeth Moss’ remarkable performance.

Season 4, Episode 13 — “Tomorrowland” — Remember how I said “Mad Men” has unpredictable season finales? Well, it’s hard to pick a more shocking plot twist on “Mad Men” than the romance that blossoms between Don and his secretary Megan (Jessica Paré). Throughout the episode, Don is disarmingly happy and honest, even letting his kids in on some of the key Dick Whitman mythology, and audiences get one of his best sales pitches ever when he unexpectedly proposes to Megan one morning. Going into the fifth season, we’re left wondering if this relationship is just Don at his most impulsive or if he’s serious, not to mention the fate of the financially ailing Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Printed on Friday, March 23, 2012 as: Previous episodes inspire anticipation

Preview

The cast of “Mad Men,” from l

Warning: This article includes spoilers for the first four seasons of “Mad Men.”

The thing that keeps myself and others so captivated by “Mad Men” isn’t the (admittedly glacial) plot or even the gorgeous period costumes and set design that the notoriously fastidious executive producer Matthew Weiner micromanages to perfection. Instead, it’s the nuanced and indelible ensemble cast of characters that populate the world of Madison Avenue.

Here’s a rundown of the key players, whether you’re diving into the “Mad Men” canon for the first time or need a refresher before Sunday’s premiere.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) — Brilliant ad man, creative director at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and “Mad Men’s” requisite brooding male antihero in the vein of Tony Soprano and Walter White. Don is a secret war deserter with a stolen identity, a divorced father of three, a philanderer and an alcoholic. He is forever defined by his pronouncement in the pilot episode that he’s “living like there’s no tomorrow ... because there isn’t one,” and typifies Weiner’s version of the perpetually unattainable American Dream. Think Jay Gatsby transplanted 40 years into the future.

Betty Francis, formerly Draper (January Jones) — Don’s icy ex-wife, now remarried to a prominent local politician and possibly even more miserable and emotionally repressed now than she was in her first marriage. Though reviled by some “Mad Men” fans for her bitterness, her childish outbursts and her mothering style which can only be described as neglectful, Betty remains one of the most tragic and fascinating characters on the show.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) ­— Once a timid, naive secretary, Peggy soon bloomed into a copywriting wunderkind, proto-feminist icon and a loyal student of her mentor, Don. Intelligent, creative, and self-assured, Peggy is a career girl ahead of her time. Peggy and Don have one of the most compelling and complex relationships of the series, as they’ve both helped one another through their most grueling respective emotional lows: Peggy when she gave her surprise baby up for adoption, and Don when he mourned the loss of his oldest friend.

Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) — Slimy, spoiled, ambitious and manipulative, SCDP account man Pete is somehow still one of the most bafflingly lovable characters on the show. Maybe it’s his penchant for eating cereal on the couch in matching pajama sets or his touchingly respectful relationship with his wife Trudy (Alison Brie), but we just can’t seem to help rooting for weasely Pete.

Joan Harris, née Holloway (Christina Hendricks) — The sexy, savvy and ultra-competent knockout of an office manager uses both her brains and her curves to keep the chaotic Sterling Cooper Draper Price offices in check. Once an unabashedly sexually active single woman on the prowl for a rich husband, Joan is now married to a failed surgeon who, aside from having raped her on at least one occasion, has now enrolled in the army and has deployed to Vietnam. Held back in her job by the misogynistic environment of Madison Avenue, the tragedy underlying Joan’s character is all the more present now that she’s fallen back into an affair with old flame Roger Sterling and is pregnant with, potentially, his child.

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) ­— Wisecracking vodka-loving SCDP founder, WWII vet and relic of an earlier age of advertising. Having inherited his job from his father, one of the founders of the original Sterling Cooper firm, Roger is complacent in his role as partner and fills his days by drinking, smoking, womanizing and fighting with his twenty-something-year-old trophy wife, Jane.

Megan Calvet (Jessica Paré) — Don’s beautiful French-Canadian secretary, and, as of the season four finale, his surprise fiancée. Don dumped his high-powered steady girlfriend Dr. Faye Miller after a whirlwind weekend romance in California, during which he fell in love with Megan’s willowy frame and her Maria Von Trapp-like skill with his kids.

Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) — The Drapers’ headstrong tween daughter who seems on the verge of a major rebellion against her mother Betty. Due to a combination of “Mad Men”’s stellar writing and Shipka’s startlingly mature acting chops, Sally defies the typical “whiny teenager” trope that brings down so many other shows (I’m looking at you, “Homeland”).

Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) — A delightfully stuffy British founding partner of SCDP and financial wizard, Lane brings a sense of continental dignity to the office.

Bertram “Bert” Cooper (Robert Morse) — The only surviving founding partner of the original Sterling Cooper firm and a founding partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. An eccentric, avid espouser of Randian Objectivism and a Japanophile, Cooper requires shoelessness in his office and adorns his walls with erotic Japanese art and samurai armor.

Printed on Friday, March 23, 2012 as: Meet the ad men from AMC's hit show 'Mad Men'

Hump Day

Photo Credit: Rory Harman | Daily Texan Staff

Pop culture has given us many stereotypes about the way age relates to how a person is supposed to act sexually. These stereotypes may be entertaining to watch in a movie or TV show, but how well do they translate in real life?

Recently, the most popular of these stereotypes has to be the “cougar.” Cougars can be defined as sexually experienced older women who “prey” on younger men for their virility. With yesterday's season three premiere of “Cougar Town,” this is definitely one stereotype that people enjoy buying into. The myth associated with cougars is that they are confident and powerful females that are knowledgeable in all things sex-related. However, you don't need to be older to be confident and powerful, and as much you may protest, there is no such thing as a sex goddess or god. Every sexual encounter is different and requires different types of effort.

The other common age-related stereotype associated with women are “Lolitas” or “school-girls.” These stereotypes are of younger women who encompass wide-eyed naivety and sexual curiosity and are also sought out for their virginity.

Younger women aren't the only ones being stereotyped. “Twinks,” typically young, slender gay males with boyish features, are also seen as alluring because of their youth and cuteness. And although many may seek Lolita- or Twink-like qualities in an older partner, the reality is that in most situations, trying to engage in a sexual relationship with anyone younger than 18 is considered statutory rape or sexual assault.

Older men may not have a nickname, but they are also sexually stereotyped. Older men tend to conjure up images of Don Draper — a strong silent type who always dresses his best. But if the “Mad Men” character has taught us one thing it's that those older, strong silent types may be hiding many secrets, like being married, or a secret identity. And engaging in sexual acts to a married man can lead to trouble if he's not your husband.

While it is obvious that maturity and sexual maturity have some correlation, to expect every older person to be sexually experienced and to expect every sexual partner younger than you to be an eager virgin wouldn't be wise. Remember to always speak with your partner about both of your expectations, and don't engage in any illegal sexual act. Although fantasizing and role playing can be great, you should never feel pressured to try to fill a sexual role because of your age.

Printed on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 as: Favorite sexual stereotypes can create dangerous situations outside fantasy