Mad Men: Algonquin Cocktail & Katherine Olson’s Coffee Cake

A review of the Classic Algonquin Cocktail & Katherine Olson’s Coffee Cake from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.

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Classic Algonquin Cocktail

20180822_205142“The Algonquin” is a hotel in New York.  In Season 1 Episode 9 Jim Hobart, an executive at a competing advertising firm who is trying to lure Don Draper away from Sterling Cooper, suggests that Don meet him at the Algonquin.  The meeting never actually happens, but had they gone they would have likely tried the hotel’s signature drink!

This drink is a combination of rye whiskey, vermouth, and pineapple juice.  And it’s topped with a lemon twist!

I had to look up how to make a lemon twist, and it’s surprisingly easy.  Just slice a round of lemon, make a cut through almost the whole slice (leave the rind on one side), and cut out the flesh in the middle.  Then twist the lemon – it should stay in position.  The complete instructions were found here, and pictures are below!

Taste: 7/10

This was pretty good, but once again a bit too strong for me.  The pineapple splash was nice in there, but I was not so in love with the addition of vermouth.

I also tried adding extra pineapple juice after the first taste test, and it bumped the flavor up to an 8.20180822_210256

Difficulty: Easy

You just need a shaker to combine the ingredients.

Cost: Average / Pricey

Depending on what you already have, this could get quite expensive.  You’ll need rye whiskey, vermouth, pineapple juice, and a lemon.


Katherine Olson’s Coffee Cake

141This coffee cake is sitting on the table of Katherine Olson (Peggy’s mother) when Peggy shows up too late for dinner in Season 2 Episode 2.

The cake is divided into three sections: the brown sugar/walnut topping, the tart meringue, and of course the cake batter itself.

20180826_090541First, the topping was assembled.  The brown sugar, rolled oats, and cinnamon are combined, then the butter is cut in, and finally the chopped walnuts are mixed in as well.

Next is the meringue filling.  An egg white is beaten until it forms stiff peaks, and then jam is added in 1 tbsp. at a time until it’s completely mixed in with the egg whites.  They say any tart jam will work, so I decided to use blackberry jam.20180826_093127

And finally, the cake batter.  Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt are combined in one smaller bowl, and butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar are creamed together in a larger one.  Eggs are added in to the sugar/butter mixture, followed by sour cream and vanilla, and finally the flour is added in as well.

Now for the assembly!

Half the cake batter is spread into the bottom of the pan and it’s sprinkled with half the brown sugar topping.  The meringue is then placed on top in spoonfuls.  There’s specific instructions NOT to smooth it out!  Then the remaining dough is added to the top, followed by the last of the brown sugar topping.

I don’t think we’re supposed to smooth out the top layer of dough, but it doesn’t say in the instructions.  It just says to “distribute it evenly.”  I was afraid that smoothing it out too much would crush the meringue underneath, so I mostly left it as is and smoothed out very little.

Then it bakes until the cake “springs back to touch.”  I took ours out of the oven about 10 minutes before their estimate, and it seemed to be cooked through well.


Taste: 10/10

This was SOOOOO good!  We devoured this cake quickly!  I particularly liked the brown sugar topping, and would actually make and add even more of that topping the next time around.20180826_104930

Difficulty: Average

This does involve a lot of steps, an electric mixer, some arm strength, and you’ll need to be careful not to overcook the cake, but overall it wasn’t too tough.  It just takes some time to assemble the whole thing.

Cost: Average

You will need to purchase jam/jelly and sour cream, and the rest depends on what you already have in your pantry/fridge.  These include brown sugar, rolled oats, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, and vanilla extract.

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