Posted on May 17th, 2013 2 comments
The Old Fashioned
Truly old fashioned, this drink has roots that go back to the early 1800s when, according to some historians, the “cock tail” was a drink made with liquor, water, sugar and a few drops of bitters. It’s been said that the addition of citrus came during prohibition, to hide the taste of cheap booze.
The version that Don drinks was the cocktail that dominated swanky lounges and corner bars alike, a cool combination of rye whiskey, bitters and soda with citrus. This is the Old Fashioned that we’ve come to expect, and love. If you want an older version of the Old Fashioned, leave out the citrus and the soda.
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 teaspoons water
1 strip lemon zest
1 small wedge orange
2 maraschino cherries
Ice, as needed
2 ounces rye (or Bourbon. Bourbon is a little sweeter. Canadian Club has a lot of rye, and works very well)
Cherry for garnish
Add the sugar cube to the bottom of an old fashioned glass, then add the water and bitters to it. Place the lemon zest, orange wedge and one cherry in the glass. Use a bar spoon to gently muddle the cube into the liquids so the sugar will begin to dissolve. (Note: Some people prefer to leave out the cherry). Use the back of the spoon to coat the bottom sides of the glass with the mixture. Throw a couple of cubes in the glass and top with bourbon and club soda and stir well. Top with a cherry and an orange slide on the rim.
There are tons of variations on the Old Fashioned. In fact, you can use any booze you want, with varying degrees of success. Of course, there even more modern Old Fashioneds…Recently on a trip to Sonoma, I had one made with “local Bourbon” (which isn’t really Bourbon if it’s made in California), and no cherry. It was very good, and the bartender took pride in making it.
So if you want to impress your vintage-diggin’ pals, or show a skirt that you know how to order a cocktail with plenty of pizzaz, memorize this recipe and make yourself an expert at throwing one together. You’ll have the chicks (or kats, whatever’s your thing) eating out of your hand.
-Tiki Chris P, Reporting from the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk, the interwebs’ favorite B-lounge for retro fun stuff and Tiki Talk.
Posted on April 7th, 2013 No comments
Are you ready for MAD MEN?
Wow…we’ve been waiting and waiting, and finally it’s here: MAD MEN Season six, where we (may or may not) find out whether Don has been faithful to Megan, where Peggy ends up, and how the agency goes on in the wake of Lane’s departure.
But what we’re really looking at is this poster.
Man, does this thing WREAK of late 60s-into=the=70s style or what? I feel this is an omen…actually a blatant sign that the MAD MEN that we’ve loved for the last several years is done. We’re in a new era, moving away from thin ties and bachelor pad music and easy chicks who waited on men as pretty servants, to the era of social unrest, acid rock, outrageous fashion and liberated women.
Assuming this season kicks off in 1967 (or possible 68), we’ll probably see longer hair on the men, shorter hair on the women and the widening of ties and lapels that will eventually look like men are wearing paisley bibs. This is a different part of American pop history and culture…innocence gone, tailfins on cars gone, jazz and big bands gone. It’s the era where “good” music is defined as music that sounds good when you’re high, when putting curse words in movies makes them “hip”, and when teenagers lived like there was no tomorrow because, it was factual, with the draft and the Vietnam war, there very well might not have been.
Boo hoo. It’s a drag, but the show has to progress. It’s how it’s always been, jumping a year or two each season. Hell, it started in 1959…the figurative “beginning of the end” of the mid-century pop era. But we’ll watch, and we’ll love it, even if Don sports a mustache, sideburns and a green velour sport jacket. Remember, this is the era where “Midnight Cowboy” one best picture, even with an X rating. The era when Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy where gunned down. The era when Nixon became president, and Jimmy Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar. Frank Sinatra and Elvis both made “comebacks”. Crime in New York was at an all time high, poverty was crushing our cities, Fort Lauderdale was known for Spring Break arrests and Miami was mainly a retirement community. The “Hollywood” sign was in grave decay, and no one cared. And we were only a few years away from Disco.
Ah, what a time.
Oh, and about that poster: Doesn’t it remind you of some of the old TV Guide covers from 40+ years ago? It should, it’s been created by 75-year-old illustrator Brian Sanders, who created a lot of advertising artwork from the era.
MAD MEN season six premiers tonight, April 7, 9pm/8 c. on AMC.
-Tiki Chris reporting from the Television viewing room at Tiki Lounge Talk
Posted on January 31st, 2013 3 comments
Today’s post is just music. But not just any music - Exotica, the official music of the retro Tiki bar or lounge. Just play and enjoy.
Baia - Bill Perkins, Exotica Tiki Bar music
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on July 9th, 2012 No comments
Marty, from 1955
When a movie wins best Actor in a Leading Role (Borgnine), Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Writing, Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky) and Best Picture, you know it’s got to be good. Damned good. So it is with Marty. Marty is an Italian New York City (Bronx) butcher, who at 34 years old has not yet tied the knot. In fact. looking 20 years older, he doesn’t have much luck with any dames. He lives his life day to day, trying to be a nice guy and an all around good person. And he is…but nice guys finish last, don’t they?
Marty is constantly hounded by his family to get married. Trouble is, he can’t even manage to hold a girl’s attention for more than five minutes. Then along comes Clara, an average-looking schoolteacher who’s not the flashy-trashy chicks that seems to be swinging off the trees. They connect…but can they make it work?
Marty is a great mid-50s slice of life story, with fantastic performances by Borgnine, Jerry Paris and Betsy Blair. It’s part Noir, part love story and part comedy, with the fun coming from the daily lives of the characters and how they interact, not from cheesy one-liners or puns. One of my favorite scenes is when Marty and his buddy are trying to figure out what to do that night. “Let’s call Mary Feeney…”
Food: Since Marty is a butcher, it only makes sense to have some meat. Here’s and easy pot roast recipe that’s been a standard in my family for 50+ years.
5-8 lb Chuck or Bottom Round Roast
Fresh Carrots, Celery, Potatoes, Onions, string beans
Canned or frozen peas, corn
Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Bay Leaves
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the roast. In a large pot, sear the beef on high heat in a tablespoon of oil, turning until each side is brown. Add one large onion, potatoes, carrots, and celery (all diced into large chunks) and string beans, one can corn and one can peas (with water), and one cup of water. Bring to boil. Separately, dissolve bouillon cube and onion soup mix in one cup cold water. Add on teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Pour into pot and bring to boil. Add 2-3 bay leaves. Once at full boil, reduce to simmer, stir and cover. Add another cup of water and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste broth; add more water as needed and seasoning to taste. Allow roast to simmer (low) covered for at least two hours. Roast is done when it is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
Gravy: Remove two cups of broth, add one bouillon cube and bring to boil. Reduce heat and whisk in flour one tablespoon at a time, allowing to thicken a few minutes between additions. Thicken and add seasoning to taste. I like mine peppery.
Booze: Schlitz Beer, or Chianti wine, the kind that comes wrapped in a basket weave.
Here’s the trailer…
Posted on June 12th, 2012 No comments
Ok, this is a long post, but I think you’ll find it an interesting one. There are a few insights I came up with that I haven’t seen picked up on in most of the reviews and posts on the season finale. For fans of the era, and retro and Tiki and Mid Century Modern and great film making, this should have been one of your favorites…read on, kats…
I’ve heard a lot of people refer to the Season 5 Finale of MAD MEN as underwhelming. Certainly it didn’t have the emotional bang of the last two episodes, but there’s one thing it did have that sets this episode apart from any other: The ending.
From the moment when Don views Megan’s demo reel until the second the credits roll, this few minutes of cinematic magic is absolutely some of the best I’ve ever seen on TV.
Dig it through my eyes, and you’ll see what I mean…
Don, after flat-out telling Megan he couldn’t help her with the commercial, decides to view her reel. We see the shot from behind Don, the classic Don “drape” shadowed as seen in the opening sequence, with Megan in artsy black and white on the screen. At least at first it’s Megan; slowly, she loses her identity and becomes an actress, a woman on the screen desperately showing her deepest emotions, her soul. She is a star, and she elicits an emotional response from Don - who, as you know, believes that the power behind advertising is its ability to elicit an emotional response.
Something changes in Don; he not only sees Megan as the woman he loves, but as a truly talented performer. He decides to give her what she wants. This scares the hell out of him, but considering how using “tough love” against his brother and Lane turned out, he realizes it’s probably the best decision for both of them. He wants to keep her to himself, wants to be close to her and knows that giving her this break may break them further apart. But he knows evem more strongly that not giving her this chance will absolutely break them apart.
This moodily lit, almost completely black and white scene gently fades into the highly contrasted scene of Joan wearing a bright red dress and carrying a can of red spray paint through a brightly lit empty office, the partners filing in behind her as they check out the new office space. There is no music, only the sound of their footfalls on the carpet floor. Joan marks a “X” where the staircase will be…She is doing much more than that, of course, she is marking her territory, actually, asserting herself fully as a new partner. Only Don seems to notice this assertion for what it is…Campbell, in his own world, makes the comment that he will have the same view as Don. Again, the powerless Pete tries like hell to push his way to the top. With one word, Don puts him in his place…a sort of, but not quite sarcastically said, “Congratulations,” all the while not taking his eyes off of the person he has much more respect and admiration for, Joan.
The camera cuts to the backs of the partners, and in the same way that Don is often shown, the same way that Lane was shown just before he committed suicide, they are shown in a long shot from behind. But this time they are all standing, and almost ceremoniously position themselves spaced equally apart, in what almost seems like a scene from a super hero comic. There they stand, proud and united…yet very, very far apart, alone.
The best is yet to come…
A quick cut brings us to another day where Megan has gotten the part in the commercial. She is in full fairy tail costume ready for rehearsal, thanking Don for getting her the part. She is referred to as “Miss Calvet”, not Mrs. Draper, and as she’s called to her place, she and Don smile at each other.
Watch this scene again and pay close attention to what’s going on here. The camera individually shows Don smiling at Megan, then Megan smiling at Don. Then the long shot shows Megan to the left, getting hair and makeup, brightly lit in a technicolor red and yellow dress. She is now oblivious of Don as they prepare her for her new roll. Don, to the right, is wearing a dark suit and is cloaked in shadow. He gives her one last look, and with the Draper swagger that won the hearts of women throughout the 1950s and 60s, he turns and walks away from her, toward the camera. The camera pulls back as only the sounds of his heavy footsteps can be heard, and as he walks through the soundstage, he literally comes out of the show…leaving the set, leaving the fantasy of his life with Megan, essentially leaving the last five seasons of MAD MEN behind him, past the cameras and stage lights, alone.
The opening (and instantly recognizable) notes to the 1967 James Bond “You Only Live Twice” theme begins to play as Don passes the prop movie cameras and director’s chair, and he continues past the sight of the rolling camera, disappearing from the scene to the right, and very possibly, from Megan and his old life.
I don’t know about you, but to me that was one of the most powerful and telling pieces of cinema art I’ve ever seen, and it goes on…
The next cut is to Don walking into a dark, smokey bar, the kind that would have been almost “kind of out of date” in the mod and rockin’ world of 1967, a bar strangely similar to the one we first saw Don in back in 1959. He sits at the bar, lights up a cigarette and orders an Old Fashioned, just like he did in that opening scene five seasons ago. Nancy Sinatra’s vocals overlap the scene with the iconic “You only live twice, or so it seems, one life for yourself, and one for your dreams”. Don is back, back to where he was in almost exactly the same scene as we first saw him.
A quick cut to Peggy shows her happy on her first business trip, something that not even a couple of humping mutts (Lyric: “Tame”) in the parking lot could ruin. With a glass of wine in hand, she has arrived. We see Pete, alone, listening to his headphones as the lyric “And love is a stranger who’ll beckon you on”, fitting for Pete. Then Roger…apparently on LSD, alone, naked in front of the window; I was almost afraid he was going to take a nose dive out of it, until I realized the window was shut. The Lyric Nancy sings is “Don’t think of the danger, or the stranger is gone”.
Then we’re back to Don in the bar, approached by a very pretty, very Mod blonde. She’s the 1967 version of what Bettie was in 1957, and the juxtaposition of her 1967 look against Don’s conservative 1959 look is fantastic. She’s hitting on Don, something that would have been pretty uncommon in 1959…and she’s not even asking for herself, she’s asking for her friend…and I think it’s safe to say it’s implied that Don could have them both, if he wanted. She asks, “Are you alone?” and Don contemplates his answer. Nancy sings, “This dream is for you, so pay the price, Make one dream come true, you only live twice.
And it ends, with Don at the bar, smoking his cigarette, drinking his old fashioned, about to give the hot Mod chick his answer…which could go either way, and we won’t find out until next year.
“And love is a stranger who`ll beckon you on, Don`t think of the danger or the stranger is gone, This dream is for you, so pay the price, Make one dream come true, you only live twice.”
What a hell of an ending.
For those of you who thought the episode was “disappointing”, go back now and watch it again. The first 55 minutes tied a few things up. The last 5 minutes were magic.
Here’s the ending, don’t know how long this will be on YouTube, and it’s a little dark, but you get the idea…
-Tiki Chris reporting from the Screening Room at Tiki Lounge Talk