The Mint Julep – Is it the “Peeps” of Cocktails?

“A mint julep is not a product of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion.”
– Lt. Gen. S.B. Buckner, Jr., 1937

Kentucky DerbyOn Saturday, we’ll again be treated to the “fastest two minutes in sports” – The Kentucky Derby. And we’ll be celebrating it with a treat that has become synonymous with the race itself – the Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep has a long, and one might even say fabled, history as the sweet and genteel cocktail of horse racing’s most famous event.  We’ve included four vintage Mint Julep formulas below for your consideration. But consider this:

Is the Mint Julep the “Peeps” of cocktails?

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How to Throw an Authentic Mad Men-Era Cocktail Party – The Inside Skinny

Throw a authentic Mad Men era cocktail party

With all the hubbub surrounding the premiere of season 7 of AMC’s Mad Men, we thought it would be a good time to offer some suggestions for throwing an authentic 60s cocktail party. We’re going to concentrate on the drinks and food and we’ll let you make your own choice regarding the required 60s-style hanky-panky.

What follows is TheVodkaParty’s step-by-step guide to being the perfect Mad Men-era host or hostess. We draw heavily from “How to Give a Vodka Party,” which was distributed by Smirnoff at the height of the Mad Men age. It captures the zeitgeist of the time better than pretty much anything else we’ve seen.

Astrud Gilberto and a Bossa Nova Epiphany

Bossa Nova EphiphanyFor the first three-quarters of my life, there were two songs I held up as the ultimate in cheesy crap. One was “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (which I’ll cover elsewhere) and the other was “The Girl from Ipanema.”

In this blog, I share the amazing story of two girls: one named Astrud and one from Ipanema, plus some astonishing music performance videos from the ’60s…


Beverage Magic – Meet Psyche, White Rock’s Racy “Mascot”

Beverage Magic - White Rock - 1942

In Greek Mythology, Psyche was a young woman of incandescent beauty who caught the eye of Eros (the testosterone-fueled, Greek version of the Roman god Cupid). As you can probably guess it didn’t end well. But, thankfully, Psyche found a second life as the scantily-clad symbol of White Rock’s line of mineral water and other mixers as you’ll see in this charming promotional pamphlet. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Beverage Magic are the borderline-NSFW illustrations of the beautiful nymph who works her magic on stir-free highballs and other cocktail recipes. You’ll also find asides on the history of White Rock and the changing, er, face of Psyche over the years.  Estimated date of publication: 1942 Go to Beverage Magic

Wine Manners – Discover the Arcane Customs of a Strange and Mysterious Libation

Wine Manners - Widmer's Wine Cellar

In Wine Manners, piercing blue eyes stare out from a simpler time, a time when “wine with dinner” was a peculiar and foreign idea. You’ll enjoy the glorious front cover artwork followed by a no-nonsense primer on the mysterious world of wine. Plus, you’ll find some interesting dinner recipes and some novel wine-based cocktails. Publication date: Mid-50s. So get ready to mind your Wine Manners now.

1964 World’s Fair Wonderment – Meet the future at the Heinz Magic Food show

Heniz Magic of Food Show“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” So said futurist and science fiction author Arthur C Clarke.

And the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair was chock full of sufficiently advanced technologies.  Visitors marveled at GM’s Futurama , IBM’s puppet show about computers, DuPoint’s “Happy Plastic Family” that ushered them into the “Wonderful World of Chemistry” and, perhaps most astonishing of all…

Heinz’s “Magic of Food” show, held in the “Theatre of Food” in the “Festival of Gas Pavilion.”

Yes, the “Festival of Gas Pavillion.”

Now fifty years later, witness yesterday’s tomorrow, visit the Magic of Food show now. Indistinguishable from magic, indeed.

Just in Time for Summer – Let’s Eat Outdoors – A Mid-50′s Fever Dream of Cookout Kookiness

Let's Eat Outdoors

Let’s Eat Outdoors – The Yankees had Murderers Row, Notre Dame had the four horseman, Cincinnati had the Big Red Machine. Mere amateurs.  Let’s Eat Outdoors has a lineup led by the one and only  SPAM with all-meat Hormel Franks batting “clean up.” Also includes guest appearances by Bisquick, Van Camp/s, Dinty Moore and Nescafe. Don’t miss the amazing retro line art and design, a stunning proclamation from the 50′s top style-maker and a seemingly out-of-place recipe from one of America’s first conservationists. Let’s Eat Outdoors is an unqualified masterpiece! Go to “Let’s Eat Outdoors”

How to Give a Vodka Party – Perhaps the Ultimate in Late-50′s Cool

Vodka Party ActionThis is the pamphlet that started it all here at TheVodkaParty. “How to Give a Vodka Party” from Smirnoff, was found in an attic in a musty box where it had lain hidden for years, maybe since its publication in 1959. When I flipped through its pages, I knew the vintage design, copy, cocktail recipes and hors d’oeuvres suggestions had to be shared. was the result of that inspiration. And now, with the “New & Improved” site, you can interact, post your thoughts, comments and reactions. Just make sure you do it before you’ve sampled too many of the cocktail receipts included herein. Bottoms up! Go to “How to Give a Vodka Party.”

Barmate – Is that a tall drink on your platter or are you happy to see me?

The fulcrum from which the swinging 60s swung was The Playboy club. In that brief period between women stepping out from behind the apron to the birth of modern feminism, nothing else oozed the stuff of the liberated man more than The Playboy Club. The clubs were temples to the god of 60s chauvinism, adorned with the modern equivalents of Greek statuary; only these statuesque beauties were flesh and blood…and wore adorable ears over their perfect bouffant hairdos.

In Barmate, Southern Comfort teams ups with Playboy Magazine for a promotional pamphlet that appeared in the December 1964 issue. But don’t let the low cut tops fool you. This booklet is more about “bottoms up” in the traditional sense, focusing on the swingin’ cocktails that Playboy Club members enjoyed in those exclusive enclaves…and now could be enjoyed at home.

Get ready to flirt with some truly swinging cocktails (not a single appetizer recipe here) along with an inside look at the history of the original Playboy Clubs… and the lives of the real Playboy Bunnies who worked within. (All images and links are rated TV-14 at the most extreme.)

Check out this Barmate now!

New Cheez Whiz! – Believe it or not, there was a time BEFORE Cheez Whiz

New Cheez Whiz - Kraft - 1953

“Never, no never before have you ever had anything like Kraft’s Cheez Whiz!” begins the copy in New Cheez Whiz. And they weren’t kidding. You could spoon it, heat it and spread it. “You’ll see for yourself there’s no end to the quick cheese tricks your jar of Cheez Whiz holds.” This begs the question, who is the trick on?

This is the original pamphlet that launched the radioactively golden cheesy comestible. It’s from the year 1953, perhaps the most amazing year in the history of convenience foods. That incredible year saw the introduction not only of Cheez Whiz, but also Eggo Waffles, the Starkist Tuna brand and the landmark couchside culinary achievement of the first Swanson TV dinner.

So imagine what it was like in the dark winter of our discontent when cheese didn’t flow and then bask in the glorious golden summer of New Cheez Whiz.