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Theme Parties 08.23.10

MAD MEN Screening Party + 60’s Recipes!

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Mad Men party ideas

As a fellow Mad Men fan, I’m LOVING these oh-so-fun party ideas from entertaining guru Jeanne Benedict (who pulls off “Joan Holloway/Harris” quite well, don’t you think?!). Added bonus – three 60’s-inspired recipes are included below too… perfect for pairing with those signature martinis! Read on for all the fun details, as told by Jeanne…


I’m a big fan of the AMC TV Show MAD MEN, but it was my husband who got this 4th season premiere party together! Ya see, my husband and his college buds went to school with John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling on the show (one of the head ad guys who just married the young secretary). Apparently, Slattery’s nickname in college was “Slats” because his eyes were like slits when he partied.

As you can see, I dyed my hair red ala Joan Holloway for the party and we went with a 1960’s menu from Clams Casino to Fondue! It was a hoot!

Mad Men party ideas

Given the graphic nature of this TV premiere party, I wanted to incorporate MAD MEN branding into the tabletop. I printed their classic Don Draper image on to photo paper and wrapped it around a cylinder vase topped with red roses for the centerpiece of the food table.

Mad Men party ideas

I picked up these personal martini shakers for $1 each at a local liquor store! A little floral foam in the base and a yellow “football mum” later, they were the perfect MAD MEN accents on my coffee table (and cheap – under $5 each).

I’ve used Martini glasses as vases and food serving vessels for other TV viewing parties as they are great space savers on living room tables. Imagine 20 people with food plates crowded around your living room coffee table! Stemware and similar items for displaying food and flowers is the way to go for this kind of party!

Mad Men party ideas

We really wanted that “Sterling-Cooper” touch at the entrance so we purchased a sheet of luan for about $12, aged it with an oak stain that we had in the garage, and then cut out some black cardstock letters using my Cricut machine to replicate the reception area of the ad firm.

(Of course, when watching the season 4 premier we noticed that they had a brand new mod chrome logo! But any kind of thematic entrance is always a big hit with guests and makes a great photo op.)


Oh yes friends, there were Martinis a plenty at this party! But the 60’s FOOD was a big hit and helped to fill the guts as all gulped!

Mad Men party ideas


This recipe was the big hit of the night! So classically 1960s!

*Makes about 20 clams

6 slices bacon
3 slices white bread, crusts removed
3/4 cup Ritz Crackers
2 tablespoons bacon fat (reserved from cooking bacon)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
1 (6.5 oz.) can chopped clams, drained
1 (6.5 oz.) can minced clams, drained
20 half clam shells, cleaned

Cook bacon until slightly crisp. Remove from pan and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Chop bacon into coarse bits.

Pulverize white bread and Ritz crackers in a food processor into crumbs. Pour 1 cup of mixutre into a medium bowl.

Saute 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat, butter, green peppers and onions in a medium skilet over medium-high heat until tender, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add to bread crumb-cracker mixture and stir to incorporate. Stir in chopped bacon and clams until combined.

Place clam shells on a baking sheet. Add 1 – 2 teaspoons clam mixture into each clam shell. (You can prepare these the morning of the party and then cover and refrigerate until serving time.)


Mad Men party ideas


This Ham Ball recipe was updated from a version in 1960’s entertaining bible “The Calvert Party Encyclopedia.” More like an “egg salad ball,” I ate these tasty leftovers for days after the party! (Calvert was a brand of whiskey popular in the 1960s.)

*Makes about 40 balls

6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 cup finely chopped prosciutto
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 cup finely ground walnuts

Combine eggs, chives, prosciutto, mayo, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Roll into 1/2-inch diameter balls and then roll in walnuts to coat. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.


Mad Men party ideas


Fondue is sexy! It reminds people of key parties (aka wife swappin’ get togethers) and a time when the country let down their hair and unfastened that top button. Fondue is great for a 50s, 60s, or 70s theme party and this easy recipe will please any crowd. (This recipe is an adaptation of one from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.)

*Makes about 3 cups fondue

24 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons Kirsch-Wasser

Dredge cheese with flour. Heat wine in a medium saucepan over low heat until tiny bubbles appear. Add cheese by the handful into wine. Stir until smooth and then add another handful of cheese and stir, repeating process until all cheese has been incoporated. Stir in Kirsch until cheese is velvety! Transfer to a fondue pot over a low flame and serve with fondue dippers like cubed Italian or French bread, broccoli, mushrooms, and baby carrots. If you don’t have enough fondue forks use long bamboo skewers.


Thanks again to Jeanne for this super-fun party inspiration!

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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

13 responses to “MAD MEN Screening Party + 60’s Recipes!”

  1. kim schmidt says:

    Love this idea! May take some of these suggestions for the final episode of the season since my husband and I just got caught up from season 3!

  2. Molly Olecki says:

    I love it! My husband is a HUGE Mad Men fan, and now I have an idea for his 40th Birthday party : ) Thanks!!

  3. julie edmonson says:

    LOVE this theme! I’m a new Mad Men junkie and can’t get enough. Good stuff!

  4. Brilliant. It’s the only thing my husband and I watch. I love the “lobby” wall. So clever! Inspiring . . . I feel a party coming on – OK, maybe just a Canadian Club on the rocks.

  5. 1) Huge Fan
    2) I hope you sent your photo in to the Mad Men Casting Call Contest:

  6. Karen Campos says:

    Dying the hair red, now that is a committed hostess! Great party ideas.

  7. Great ideas. . . as always.

    I LOVE fondue! Will try this recipe over the weekend!

  8. Martine says:

    As a French gourmet, I recommend you use left over bread. As it dries a bit, it will hold better when dipped in melted cheese. No need to keep bread for a long time, just buy it the day before!

    If you have access to a good cheese shop, here is a fine blend of cheese for a fondue :
    1/3 grated Comté
    1/3 grated Gruyère (Swiss cheese)
    1/3 grated Beaufort

  9. jacque says:

    Just to clarify, you serve the Clams Casino cold?


  10. Wow! Your party looks totally 60’s chic! We recently featured a bunch of Mad Men themed recipes from the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook across a few food blogs. You should check it out:

  11. Sugar & Bows says:

    We love the entrance decor! We did a similar post on our blog. Check it out.

  12. Sugar & Bows says:

    We love the entrance decor! What a great idea. We did a similar post on to celebrate the new season. Check it out!