With the Mad Men season finale just around the corner, we’ve got old-fashioned cocktails on the mind. And the Blue Bar at the world-famous Algonquin Hotel is one of the last places in New York where you can drink like Don Draper. In fact, the hotel and the bar have both been mentioned on the 1960-inspired show.
Head Bartender at The Blue Bar, Rodney Landers is a veritable walking encyclopedia of cocktail history. A quick review of the official Mad Men cocktail guide on the show’s website by Rodney confirmed that not only can he ably make all of the drinks indicative of that time period (probably with his hands tied behind his back), but he can also name several drinks not included in the show’s official drink menu. He has even created a few inspired by the characters themselves.
*The Blonde Betty – One of the most popular drinks for ladies in early 1960s New York – and no doubt what would have been Betty Draper’s chosen cocktail – was a Pink Squirrel. Rodney concocted his version – in a much more modern shade of “blonde” – inspired by the lovely Mrs. Draper. The drink includes gin, Cointreau, and lemon juice.
-Two parts gin
-One part lemon juice
-¾ oz. Cointreau
-One egg white
-½ tbsp sugar
Mix ingredients in a shaker half full of ice. Strain and serve in a lightly sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with a strip of lemon rind.
*The Algonquin Cocktail Martini - This martini made of rye, vermouth and pineapple juice, was first invented at and named after the hotel. Various incarnations have been created and served throughout the world but the classic is best served by Rodney and his staff at The Blue Bar.
*Dirty Don Mojito - Legend has it that the first time the now famous mojito was served in the United States was at The Algonquin. Rodney’s version is inspired by the infamous character that leads the cast of Mad Men and includes dark and golden top-shelf rums, club soda, mint, and lime.
*Brandy Alexander – Original Round Table member and New York drama critic Alexander Woollcott claimed that this sweet, brandy-based cocktail was named after him. More than likely it was named after Czar Alexander II of Russia, but Woollcott was a confirmed fan of the drink, as was another frequent Algonquin guest, the great Broadway actress Helen Hayes, a reported teetotaler who once drank three Brandy Alexanders before she realized they contained alcohol.