Mad Men Recipes: Shrimp Canapes and a Whiskey Sour

Mad Men Recipes: Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes and a Whiskey Sour

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Mad Men Recipes: Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes and a Whiskey Sour

Party Like a Mad Men with this Retro Happy Hour Menu

I’ll admit, I’ve been avoiding writing this for a while now. I’ve been in denial about the end of Mad Men. It’s always hard to say goodbye to a beloved tv show, but Mad Men? The best show ever? How can it possibly just be over?

Whiskey Sour

To celebrate the return of the final episodes, we here at we heart this decided to #PartyLikeAMadMan and have a little retro cocktail hour. We served some Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés straight out of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook with some classic Whiskey Sours to wash them down. Shaken in the perfect retro shaker, natch.

Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes

Canapés sound so fancy, but really they are just tiny toasts topped with something.
Modern canapés are often overwrought amuse-bouches covered with mousse and emulsions, but back in the 1960s they were more utilitarian affairs. These little bits of finger food were there to help soak up the booze.

And as party food, they were supposed to be easy to eat while mixing and mingling. These shrimp curry butter canapés added a little flair with the spices and chives, although we will warn you that the yellow of the curry does tend to linger, so keep an eye out for your party dress!

Mad Men Final Season Cast

Watching the world of Sterling Cooper turn into Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and then…wherever it’s going now has been quite the journey. Don of course is the ultimate anti-hero. From the very beginning he did such despicable things that you knew logically you should despise him, but he was just so magnetic.

Every so often we would get a glimmer of a good human being in there, but then he would inevitably slide back into his old ways. As the seasons progressed Don showed bits of growth and real attempts to change, but always at the root he remained his flawed self. I can’t wait to see where he ends up at the conclusion.

Mad Men Don and JoanOne of our favorite scenes

And then there’s Joan. The office matriarch was pretty frosty in the early years, but she was tough because she had to be. Joan went through more than I would wish upon my worst enemies on her path to achieving her goals, but come hell or high water she was going to get there.

Not only did she fight long and hard for her position of power and respect, but she made peace with what she had to do to get there. Every tiny moment of camaraderie between her and Peggy feels so gratifying knowing how far they’ve come.

Mad Men Don and Peggy DanceWas there a dry eye in the house when this aired?

Peggy’s journey has been my favorite to watch. You couldn’t help but cheer her on from her very first day in the secretarial pool when she was just so…earnest. She struggled to get ahead in an unconventional way in a world not welcoming to her.

And my how far she’s come! You would think that her story would have been the most obvious to us, knowing the trajectory of the (continued!) struggle of the American woman in the workplace from the benefit of time. Peggy’s story has been anything but obvious though, alternating between victories and frustrations, making her feel real, and oh so satisfying to watch.

Mad Men Pete fallsAnd to break up all this mushiness

So raise a glass to Don, Joan, Peggy and the gang, and let’s toast to a time that was at once much simpler and much more complicated…


Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés

Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés
Adapted from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook‘s adaptation of the Playboy Gourmet By Thomas Mario (Crown, 1961)

Closer look of Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled (approximately 30 shrimp)
Salt, for water and for sprinkling
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Ground white pepper, for sprinkling
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for sprinkling
30 melba toasts


Raw shrimps inside a container

1. Boil 2 cups water. Add shrimp, salt, and lemon juice. Cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Drain and chill.

Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés recipe

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, curry powder, and coriander.

White bread in a shape of circles on the tableMaking melba toast is easy, all you need is a small juice glass and a whiskey sour in the wings!

3. Make the melba toast by using a small juice glass to punch out circles of white bread, then toast until nice and brown. (We used Julia Childs’ recipe.)

Closer look of Shrimp Curry Butter Canapés

4. Top each toast with a shrimp and use a basting brush to generously brush each canapé with the butter mixture. Top with a sprinkle of salt, white pepper, and chopped chives.

Whiskey Sour
Adapted from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook‘s adaptation from Playboy’s Host & Bar Book By Thomas Mario (Playboy, 1971)

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

2 ounces blended whiskey
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lemon wheel


Squeezed lemon for the juice

1. Squeeze fresh lemon(s) for the juice.

2. Combine whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar to ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well.

Whiskey sour cocktail recipe

3. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Note: For a more tart drink, reduce the amount of sugar.

Virtual Mad Men Finale Party cookbook

we heartsters – Join us and the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook site and Party Like A Mad Man on Sunday, April 5, during the Mad Men final season premiere. Follow the hashtag #PartyLikeAMadMan to find pics, tips, tricks and recipes for hosting your own Mad Men celebration.

photos: we heart this

Heather is a midwesterner living in Los Angeles and enjoys concocting weird flavor combinations and exploring delicious ethnic foods. She blogs at foodforfunandpleasure and knows her way around the spice cabinet like nobody’s business.

10 thoughts on “Mad Men Recipes: Shrimp Curry Butter Canapes and a Whiskey Sour”

  1. I am just so sad that it’s all going to be over soon. Of course I adore the writing and acting but it is also such a visually appealing television show. Gorgeous makeup, hair, clothing, and sets. The total package!! Great ideas for a final premiere party!!!This is gonna be hard…maybe a whiskey sour will help!

    1. Seriously @kellie76 – I feel like we’ve waited FOR-ever for these final episodes but I kind of don’t want them start cause then it is almost over! I’ll join you for that cocktail!

  2. Love this little duo to celebrate the final episodes. And you are so right about canapés sounding fancy (and intimidating to make) – but anyone can top some pieces of toast with something yummy! And who know you could make your own Melba toast with some bread and a juice glass? Not me.

    Also? I am so glad Mad Men helped to bring the Whiskey Sour back in vogue. It’s always been a fave of mine.

  3. Try not to salt up your Whiskey Sours with those tears! What is going to fill the huge painful void in our hearts/viewing schedules?! What, pray tell, will have such perfectly built in snacking opportunities? I demand canapes with all of my regularly-scheduled programming going forth!

  4. I never dreamed of making homemade melba toast! How clever is that! I only see one problem with this recipe: I would be tempted to eat them all myself. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  5. Such a great way to celebrate (mourn?) the end of a Mad Men era! I’m not sure what makes me happier–the thought of whipping up the canapes and whiskey sours, or that gif of Pete falling down the stairs.

  6. The first and only time I had whiskey sours was when my now hubby and I brought a pitcher of the stuff to a friend’s party after a particularly brutal finals week. That night ended with us swimming in a fountain on campus and submerging to hide from campus police. I think the whiskey sours played a strong part in that evening’s festivities. I think I need to make another pitcher soon :P

    1. @krista it would take a lot to live up to such a fabulous memory, but if anything is worth it it’s definitely Mad Men! :) What a great story!

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