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COCKTAILS: Classic Bourbon Recipes For “Mad Men”

On Sunday, March 25th at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central Time), millions of Americans will tune in to the 1960s, with the new season of “Mad Men.”

The show has inspired (and licensed) a Mad Men clothing line from Banana Republic and a Mad Men cosmetics line from Estée Lauder.

But what about Mad Men spirits? Those ad agency folk seemed to spend more time drinking than shopping for clothes and makeup.

Our recommendation: Settle down with a good bottle of Bourbon, like Maker’s Mark, and enjoy a couple of cocktails that surely would have been enjoyed by the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

You’ll Need Maraschino Cherries

Both the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned use maraschino cherries. Back in the day, before the advent of high fructose corn syrup, they probably tasted a lot better.

But there’s one premium brand of maraschino cherries to please picky palates, made by specialty food producer Tillen Farms. You can buy it online. The maraschinos are delicious, and a perfect gift for your favorite cocktail hound.


A premium Bourbon, Maker’s Mark is hand-dipped in red wax to signify its artisan origins. Photo courtesy Maker’s Mark.



One reference claims that the Manhattan was invented in the 1860s by the bartender of an establishment on Broadway near Houston Street in Manhattan. A number of printed references date to that time. The drink is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, and served straight up. The whiskey choice varies across the board: blended whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian whisky (spelled without the “e”), rye (the traditional choice) and Tennessee whiskey have all been used.

Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 parts Bourbon
  • 1/2 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry

    1. Shake first four ingredients together with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled Manhattan glass (Martini glass).

    2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


    The Old Fashioned is one of six classic
    cocktails, along with the Gin and Tonic,
    Manhattan, Martini, Mint Julep and Whiskey



    One of the original classic cocktails (see photo caption) the Old Fashioned was purportedly invented in the 1880s at a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. A member and Bourbon distiller brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. It is both strong and sweet. The original recipe had neither club soda nor a cherry, but both ingredients became popular over the years.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 2 orange slices
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 parts Bourbon
  • Optional: 1/2 part club soda


    1. Muddle 1 orange slice, 1 maraschino cherry, bitters and the sugar in an Old Fashioned (rocks) glass. Fill glass 3/4 full of ice.

    2. Add Bourbon and splash of club soda. Garnish with additional orange slice and maraschino cherry. For a more impressive garnish, you can fix the cherry to the top of the orange slice with a toothpick.

    If bitters and maraschino cherries are not your thing, you can find many Bourbon cocktail recipes at

    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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