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Throw a Mad Men finale party

Acclaimed AMC drama Mad Men is set to wrap up its fifth season on June 10. Here’s how to throw a viewing party worthy of the fabulous, beloved period drama.

1960s women partying

Ever since that first glimpse of Don Draper in a smoky bar brainstorming for a Lucky Strike meeting, his sex appeal (or rather, Jon Hamm’s) has created fans from mere viewers and drawn folks back episode after episode — even when the pause between seasons four and five verged on epically long.

Now as the finale of season five nears, it’s time to celebrate the show’s crazy 1966… and say goodbye until season six. What better way to send off this period drama than with a retro-themed viewing party. Right?

Invite your besties over and throw a killer Mad Men season finale viewing party. Here’s how.

GloveSet the tone

What’s a Mad Men viewing party without costumes? Ask guests to come in their finest 1966 attire — hats and gloves for the ladies, chic shift dresses and red lipstick. For the guys, suits are a good bet. Perhaps a few peace-loving hippies will make an appearance. Mad Men is set in the 1960s after all.

radioTurn up the tunes

No one was listening to “Call Me Maybe” in the 1960s, so banish the catchy song in favor of truly retro tunes. According to Billboard, the most popular songs on June 10, 1966 were “When a Man Loves a Woman,” by Percy Sledge; “A Groovy Kind of Love,” by The Mindbenders and “Paint It, Black,” by the Rolling Stones.

Betty DraperBe the clever hostess

Have you learned anything from watching Betty Draper Francis, Megan Draper and Trudy Campbell host dinner parties? OK, you don’t have to constantly redirect the conversation to polite dinner topics as they would, but it is a good idea to greet all your guests. And, of course, be ready with delicious drinks and appetizers.

The Unofficial Mad Men CookbookCook up a ’60s-style feast

For the drinks and food, go totally retro with these ideas from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (published by Smart Pop).

‘21’ Club’ Gin Fizz

‘21’ Club gin fizz

Photo and recipe courtesy of the ‘21’ Club via The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Yields 1 drink

Note: You can add a splash of orange juice to soften the cocktail.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 4  rounded teaspoonfuls sugar
  • Club soda


  1. Add ice, gin, lime juice and sugar to a shaker. Shake vigorously.
  2. Pour into a collins glass and fill with club soda.

‘21’ Club’ Shirley Temple

‘21’ Club Shirley Temple

Photo and recipe courtesy of the ‘21’ Club via The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Yields 1 drink

Note: For a sweeter version, substitute 7UP for the ginger ale and add extra cherries.


  • Ginger ale (see note)
  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • Cherry and orange slice


  1. Add ice, ginger ale and grenadine to a highball or rocks glass.
  2. Garnish with cherry and orange slice.
Sole Meunière

Photo credit: Nina Gallant

Sole meunière

Serves 2

Adapted from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacque Pepin (Knopf, 1999) via The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook


Note:  Julia Child’s recipe calls for a whole Dover sole, which can be hard to find and expensive. We’ve adapted the recipe for sole filets. Child suggests substituting gray sole, lemon sole, winter flounder and yellow tail flounder, petrale sole, rex sole or rock sole for Dover sole.

For the fish:

  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds filet of sole (cut in 4 to 6 ounce portions) (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the beurre noisette:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. To make fish: Set frying pan(s) over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the fish filets with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in the flour. Press lightly to coat, then shake off the excess. Swirl oil and two tablespoons butter in the pan and when foam subsides, lay as many floured fish filets as will fit in pan.
  2. Saute for a minute or two on each side, until skin is crisped and the flesh is just springy rather than squashy. Turn the fish over carefully with spatula as it can break apart easily. As soon as the fish are done, remove to a warm platter.
  3. To make the beurre noisette: Sprinkle chopped parsley on each fish filet. Place clean medium pan over high heat. Add two tablespoons butter. When butter melts, bubbles and begins to brown, remove pan from heat and as butter darkens to hazelnut color, toss in the capers and lemon juice and swirl together. Pour sizzling butter over fish, crisping the parsley, and serve immediately.

More on retro cooking

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Dine and drink like Mad Men (and women)
Make a jello mold: A retro rainbow dessert
Cheese ball recipes

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