As many of you are aware, we’re currently in the midst of the final season of AMC’s Mad Men.
One of the most influential TV dramas ever written, Mad Men made some major ripples, affecting everything from fashion trends to cocktail selections.
The side-part, the three-piece suit, and square-framed aviators. The Wedge Salad, oyster Rockefeller, and Manhattans.
All of these have made comebacks from the age when your grandpa was actually hip and not just having surgery on his hip. While you could argue these throwback trends were already coming into their own and Mad Men’s success was merely a product of this, there’s no doubting that the mainstream loved the advertising nutbag in all of us.
Although pop culture was able to adopt a lot of the show’s fashion and style, there were some things that the modern man was not able to endure.
Aside from blatant sexism and infidelity, there’s another 60s-era stereotype that’s failed to be incorporated into our current day and age.
My friends, I’m talking about the three-martini lunch.
Is it because we’re more driven by our jobs? Is it because we’re working longer hours with less time for lunch? Is it because we have become more concerned with Kale smoothies and juice cleanses than martinis?
As an ad agency employee of the modern age, I took it upon myself to get to the bottom of this lost treasure of our profession. It was time for me to do some hard-line reporting and find out once and for all what led to the death of the lunchtime cocktail(s).
The question: What would happen if advertising employees acted like they do in Mad Men?
Location, location, location.
Research is all about location.
The first step in my incredibly arduous experiment was to select a location to have a three-martini lunch. It would have to be charming and classy, a place fitting of Madison Avenue’s finest.
It would need to have a level of sophistication that’s far above your local watering hole. But possibly most important of all, it would have to be substantial: Three martinis on a bed of tapas and small plates would potentially kill me.
As the ghosts of Mad Men past would have it, I was approached by Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in the Gold Coast and invited to taste their new secret martini menu—inspired by Mad Men’s final season and three of its classic characters.
Stepping into Del Frisco’s was like stepping backward in time —without ever leaving the present. The décor is modern, featuring soft-lined furniture, warm, vibrant tones reflected off dark wood, and accents of silver and glass giving a distinct premium edge.
And yet, the air of the location made me feel like I had set foot in a bygone era where business lunches were glamorous, not chore-like.
This was the perfect place to set up my social experiment.
The Experiment: Drink three martinis at lunch, and then go back to work.
It’s a mad, mad world filled with mad, mad martinis. Here’s a breakdown of the ones I tried.
#1 – The Roger Sterling
Let’s get this lunch started with a classic.
The Roger Sterling is a dirty martini with premium Belvedere vodka. Cool, classy, delicious. An appetizer in itself with the two olive garnish. This lunch was a phenomenal idea.
Every man in the restaurant just gave me a slight nod of approval and respect.
Belvedere 4 Oz.
Olive juice ½ Oz.
Blue Cheese Olives Garnish
Martini one down, no problem. It was invigorating and took the edge off even. I can see why doctors in the 1960s recommended a cocktail with every meal.
Liquid confidence, you guys.
#2 – The Don Draper
Martini two? Bring it out with my Veal Ribeye. The main character’s cocktail seemed like the perfect choice to accompany the main course.
The Draper exceeded expectations. My favorite of the three. Classic, yet cut from a different cloth, bringing cool notes of cucumber and gin together into something uniquely refreshing.
The Veal was equally incredible. Sorry PETA, but if I’m going for “Dine like a 1960s douche” you better believe I’m getting the baby cow.
While still a classic character, Don cuts his own path and does things differently.
Hendricks Gin 4 FL Oz
Vermouth ½ Oz.
Cucumber Ribbons Garnish
#3 – The Betty Francis
In case you aren’t familiar, Martinis are pretty much 100% alcohol.
As delicious as they were, the first two were more than enough booze for an hour-long lunch. The third one is just redundant, but luckily for me it was sweet enough to be a dessert.
With a slightly slurred goodbye to the managers and staff who took excellent care of me during my Mad Meal, it was back to my place of business to do…business.
The Betty Francis is a trendsetter, and sexy with a wild side.
Belvedere 2.5 Oz.
Monin Violet Syrup 1.0 Oz.
Fee Bros Peach Bitters 2 Dashes
Pernod .25 Oz.
After three martinis, the moment of truth finally arrived.
Back at my office, the fluorescent lighting is annoyingly bright in contrast to before I left for lunch. The silence is near deafening.
What is this place, a morgue? Lighten up. Or actually, darken up. This is where Draper’s corner office with the blinds would come in handy.
Now it’s time for my two big afternoon meetings: an internal presentation and a brainstorm.
Meeting number one is off to a smooth start, mainly because I haven’t spoken yet.
Okay, maybe a little excessive on talking with my hands and the power points, but hey, I am selling this like my life depends on it. On top of that, everyone seems to be in agreement. So maybe it was one of my more impassioned speeches—it went well.
Onto the brainstorm.
Did I say liquid confidence earlier? I meant liquid creativity. I’m making connections I never thought possible, pulling together some really cool stuff.
Is everyone impressed? Seems like it.
Wait—let someone else go off on a roll now. Give a few thoughtful nods and some positive reinforcement.
Afternoon status: Successful, but exhausting. I’m wiped out and so dehydrated. I contemplated bringing the water cooler over to my desk and attaching a hose to my face.
The results of my experiment were clear.
I can’t say my boozy lunch wasn’t at least somewhat successful. After all, I received a distinct boost to my charisma, my creativity was flowing, and my overall positive attitude infectious.
On the other hand, my productivity was dismal. So much easier to let my future-self tackle the legwork come Monday.
But I guess in that sense, I really did reach Don and Roger status – because they never did any work on the show anyways.
Conclusion: If people drank three martinis at lunch everyday, overall productivity probably wouldn’t change all that much.