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Retro cocktails for a party?

I'm throwing myself a birthday party and my inspiation is the show Mad Men on AMC. I am doing appetizers from the late 50s and early 60s and would like to serve cocktails to match.
Ideally I would like to have cocktails that I could partially mix up in a pitcher ahead of time and guests would only need to add ice and/or a single mixer.
So far, all I can come up with are manhattans, singapore slings, mai tai....
what else can I do?

Thanks in advance

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  1. Moscow mules or my preferred variation, gin-gin mules: gin, ginger beer (NOT ginger ale), and lime juice!

    1. Real(not fruity frozen drinks called that) daquiris (rum, lime juice, a little sugar and stir with ice. can be made ahead.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chazzerking

        Yes, real daquiris are a great idea! I refuse to drink anything but the real thing anyway...maybe I can educate my guests :)

      2. Nothing says sixties alcohol [excess?][hospitality?] to me more than a pitcher of martinis, served down. For full effect, make sure someone slurs at the end of the night "it's okay: I'll follow him home." You probably wouldn't want to mix it ahead of time, but you could measure the ingredients ahead of time.

        1. How about a Harvey Wallbanger? Very popular 50's drink - 1 park vodka, 4 parts OJ, and then when you serve it (over ice), float about a 1/2 oz of Galliano on top.

          6 Replies
          1. re: okd_viking

            Harvey Wallbangers were unheard of in the 50's. They didn't make their appearance untill around 1970, '68 at the earliest.

            1. re: chazzerking

              harvey wallbanger was invented in 1952

              1. re: thew

                That's right, created by the mixologist Duke Antone, and it became very popular by the 60's, both as a afternoon cocktail and for brunches. This is a great drink which you will see a lot more of, now that Galliano liqueur is being re-introduced.

                1. re: JMF

                  it may have been onvented in '52, but didn't become popular until the late 60's. If you're trying for a 50's party, HW's aren't truly period.

                  1. re: chazzerking

                    that is a very different statement than "unheard of" and "didn't make their appearance until...'68 at the earliest"

                    1. re: thew

                      okay, okay. Editorial overstatement. The fact remains that these weren't popular in the 50's and early 60's to make them a good choice for the OP .

          2. If you want to have a beer option you might consider brands that were widely popular back then, like Miller High Life, Schaefer, or Ballantine.

            1. On the sweeter side, how about some Grasshoppers(which brings up the old joke about the grasshoppeer that comes into a bar and sits down, when the bartender says to him "you know we have a drink named after you." To which the grasshopper replied, " really? you have a drink named Ralph?", Snare beat, bass drum beat, High hat crash.) anyway, take my wife, please. No, I meant, you could also do Brandy Alexanders for those who like to drink dessert.

              1. moscow mules get my vote, as do pitchers of martinis. For me the aviation has a real old world feel to it (2 oz gin, 1/2 oz maraschino, 1/2 oz lemon juice). Real simple, real great, and it combines 2 ingredients I don't much care for individually

                1. The Sidecar is a great classic cocktail that works well in a pitcher...their peak of popularity may have been before that era.
                  4 parts brandy/cognac, 2 parts triple sec/Cointreau, 1 part fresh lemon juice. I make a pitcher with ice and strain as I pour into cocktail glasses.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kenito799

                    I don't know what level of authenticity they're going for, but definitely most "classic" cocktails were invented before then. Wasn't reading too closely when I offered the Aviation

                  2. Missing some classics...Brandy Alexander, Bloody Mary, Highball (rye & ginger) and 7&7.

                    1. My list would include: Martini, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, Stinger, Champagne Cocktail, lots of highballs (rye or Canadian and ginger, Scotch and soda, gin and tonic, Cuba Libre, etc.), Gimlet (with gin, not vodka), Tom Collins (again, gin not vodka). If you wanted to get more exotic you could lean Tiki: Mai Tai, Planter's Punch, etc.

                      Some retro beers like Carling Black Label, Narragansett, Schaefer, and Schlitz.

                      Period glassware would be a nice touch (much smaller cocktail glasses in those days).

                      1. Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I am going to do just two cocktails and I will probably go with bourbon Manhattans (because that's what I like to drink and it is my birthday party after all ;) ). I also like the idea of a punch...my food is a little on the kitschy side...pigs in a blanket, cheese ball, onion dip, chex mix etc so I like the idea of a punch. Don't worry fellow hounds, all my food will be elevated and homemade...no processed products anywhere!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: HungryRubia

                          Using processed products would be very period, though...Jell-o mold salad, anyone?

                          1. re: kenito799

                            I know...but I really can't bring myself to do it.

                        2. I know you've already chosen, but I need to throw in for Tom Collins. They are great in a pitcher, and the great J. D. Salinger himself puts them into a short story (Raise High the Roofbeams Carpenter, I think). That's some serious 50's cred.

                          As for the MadMen party, I do hope you'll have dishes of ciggies around for people to smoke.