Mad Men Christmas party guide

Posted on 3 December 2010
By Pierce King
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When you find yourselves in times of trouble… ask yourself What would Don Draper do?

Like all other self-confessed Man Maniacs, the creative team at Purple Revolver HQ have been crying into their Old Fashioneds after the season 4 finale.

But there is a silver lining in the bottom of the shot glass, you can throw the most swinging Sixties party and punish your liver for being bad all year with our step by step guide to Mad Men revelry.


With the bitter, swishing tail end of the recession hitting most media and small companies – why not have it in the office?

Or if you’re a glutton for punishment, your house. Open as many reception rooms as you have, and a bedroom for guests to leave coats and powder their noses.

Giving the decor a Mad Men theme won’t be an issue, if you’re a vintage and retro fan – this is the perfect opportunity to show off about your most dated pieces: beige china anyone? Hostess trolleys, formica sideboards, red lampshades.

But if not, now you have a great excuse to visit an elderly relative and get in the good books ahead of Christmas. While you’re there swipe half the hallway furniture.

Dress code

For ineffectual men – dress casual. Think of your mate who wears shirts and cardigans to the pub, perhaps attempt some irony and add your Dad’s pipe. But if you’re coming from work, of course, time to get all Don Draper on that ass with a skinny woven tie and dapper, slim fit suit.

Women should wear ‘sexy secretary’ twinsets, pearls and ab-squeezing pencil skirts or, better still, cocktail dresses.

Vintage shops are very much on side when it comes to Mad Men-esque dresses: floral tea dresses, demure satin evening dresses.


Purple Revolver have always sent out hand made invitaions to house parties – that’s just how we roll. Get your secretary to do it or if you’re too damn busy look up a set on that internet.

Devise some witty Roger Sterling esque one-liners

What are the words roling through your mind which are going to offend everybody in the room? Speak your mind. Be flippant – one of Purple Revolver’s favourites from Sterling’s Gold is when Don asks… ‘What do women want?’ and Roger replies ‘who cares!’

And get really, very drunk… so you have as much gusto to deliver them. Watch the video here for some inspiration.

Guest list

People perform best when they are out of their comfort zone so invite friends, family and colleagues who don’t know each other, and encourage plus-ones.

Work the room, introduce everyone to everyone and as Don Draper says: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”


Stockpile the home bar as though your expecting a visit from Ollie Reed and George Best and arm yourself with a cocktail shaker, olives, twists and old-school mixers such as Crème de Menthe.

Polish your bartending skills. (See list below) You should be able to offer sidecars, mint juleps, whisky sours, Old Fashioneds, Brandy Alexanders, Tom Collinses and Manhattans. Mix individual cocktails for each guest (under no circumstances prepare pitchers in advance) and offer European lager “a frosted glass of beer from Holland” and neat Scotch as alternatives.


Of course. If you’re part of the painful PC brigade then careful planning of a smoking area is a neccessary evil. Though it’s a shame half the party will be smoking it up and talking about you in the garden.


The Twist Chubby Checker
Cha Cha Cha – Sam Cooke
The Wanderer Dion
From Rags to Riches Tony Bennett
Manhattan Ella Fitzgerald
Anything from the Goodfellas soundtrack


* Old fashioned
1 sugar cube
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 orange slices
3 oz bourbon
maraschino cherry for garnish

Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass.
Saturate the cube with the bitters.
Add one orange slice.
Muddle these ingredients.
Fill the glass with ice cubes.
Add the bourbon.
Stir well.
Garnish with a second orange slice

* Dirty martini
70ml gin or vodka
10ml dry vermouth
10ml olive brine
3 green olives

Add dry vermouth to the martini glass, rinse, and pour out. Pour gin or vodka, olive juice and ice into mixing glass, and shake until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and add the olives as garnish.

* Sidecar
50ml cognac
20ml Cointreau
15ml fresh lemon juice
1 orange slice

Squeeze lemon in mixing glass. Shake briskly with cognac and Cointreau. Strain into a sugar-rimmed snifter and garnish with orange slice.

* Mint Julep
65ml bourbon
25ml water
2 tsp of sugar
3-4 sprigs of mint

Put mint and sugar with the water in mixing glass. Add crushed ice and bourbon. Shake until frosted and pour all into a rocks glass (tumbler). Garnish with a mint sprig.