In season three of the hit show Mad Men, Joan Holloway references Emily Post while setting the table for a dinner party for her husband’s co-workers. And what could be better than hosting a Joan-worthy viewing party all your own? To that end, The Emily Post Institute thought it appropriate to lend all of you Bettys, Joans, Peggys, Dons, Rogers, and Petes a helping hand.


Following is a game plan for a 60s style soirée that both Joan and Emily Post would approve of. First, get oriented with a little advice from Emily herself on hosting. Then browse our recipes for drinks and hors d’oeuvres taken from the 1951 edition of The Emily Post Cookbook by Emily Post and the recently released Great Get-Togethers, by sisters and Mad Men fans Anna Post and Lizzie Post. Looking to make it a sit down affair? Read below for the courses Emily recommended serving at a “Friendly Dinner Party”.

To sound the part, review Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s blog Mad Men Unbuttoned or pick up a copy of her book of the same name to be up on Mad Men-era small talk. Best of all, tune in to Pandora’s Mad Men radio station to set the mood. Then smile like Trudy, pour drinks like little Sally, and keep the lawn mower locked up!

First, a word on hosting from Emily Post herself on the manners of a hostess, from Etiquette:

“First of all, a hostess must show each of her guests equal and impartial attention. Engrossed in the person she is talking to, she must be able to notice anything amiss that may occur. No matter what goes wrong she must cover it as best as she may, and at the same time cover the fact that she is covering it. To give hectic directions merely accentuates the awkwardness.

“Both the host and hostess must keep the conversation going, especially at an informal dinner. It is at the small dinner that the skilful hostess has need of what Thackeray calls the ‘showman’ quality. She brings each guest forward in turn to the center of the stage.”

Courses for Emily Post’s “Friendly Dinner Party”:

Should you wish to make a more formal affair of your viewing party, take some notes from Emily on the recipe for a dinner party in the 1950s. Notice that salad is served after dinner!

(1) Any soup your kitchen can best provide

(2) Any dish of fish or meat that you think good

(3) Any meat except corned beef and cabbage, or pork chops, or hamburgers

(4) Any salad

(5) Any dessert

Cocktail Party Recipes



3 ounces dry gin (classic) or top-quality vodka

1 teaspoon dry vermouth

Ice, for shaking

Lemon twist or olive, for garnish

Pour the gin or vodka and vermouth into a shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish.

From Great Get-Togethers

Old Fashioned

2 ounces of Bourbon or rye whiskey

½ lump of sugar

2 shakes of Angostura bitters

½ tablespoon of water

Slice of orange (a slice of lemon may be added to the orange, as may a maraschino cherry, which should be impaled on a toothpick if it has no stem)

Crush sugar in the water and bitters in the bottom of an old fashioned glass with a muddler. Add 2 ounce jigger of Bourbon whiskey, a slice of orange, a thin slice of lemon peel, 1 large or 2 small pieces of ice, and a teaspoon or other instrument for stirring the drink.

From The Emily Post Cookbook


1 cocktail glassful of Cuban or Puerto Rican white rum

1/3 cocktail glassful lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Shake well with cracked ice and serve with a cherry in each glass. Makes two cocktails.

From The Emily Post Cookbook

Uncle Mac’s Cosmo

Lime wedge

2 ounces Ketel One Citron Vodka

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce Rose’s lime juice

1½ ounces cranberry juice

Ice, for shaking

Squeeze the lime into a martini glass and leave the squeezed lime in the glass. Pour the vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice into a shaker. Add the ice and shake. Strain and pout into the glass over the lime.

From Great Get-Togethers

Hors d’oeuvres:

Pâté of Chicken Livers

Boil 2 dozen well-washed chicken livers in salted water for 5 or 6 minutes. Drain off all the liquid, and set livers aside to cool. When cold, mash through a sieve. Put 2 tablespoons butter into a frying pan. Add 2 teaspoons chopped onion, and fry to a light brown. Remove from the fire, and add 1 truffle, chopped fine, and the chicken livers and 1 chopped hard-boiled egg. Add salt and pepper and stir into a smooth paste. Put into a glass dish, and set in the icebox until cold. Serve with toast and butter.

From The Emily Post Cookbook

Melon and Ham [read: Prosciutto]

Cut cantaloupes or other melons into sixths and remove the rind and any of the melon too hard to eat. Serve with Italian-type ham sliced very thin.

From The Emily Post Cookbook

“Crunch Sirs”

This is the delicious titbit known in Europe as a Croque Monsieur.

Cut the crust from four slices of white bread and brown one side of each in 4 tablespoons of butter. Place a thin slice of Swiss cheese the size of the toast on the browned surface of each of the four pieces of toast. Then put a slice of boiled ham on two of them and cover by turning the other two upside-down, making two sandwiches. Now brown the outside surfaces of the sandwiches, heating the ham and partly melting the cheese. Serves two.

From The Emily Post Cookbook

Easy to prepare, no-recipe-needed hors d’oeuvres ideas:

Top crostinis with:

  • Goat cheese and olive tapenade
  • Cream cheese and chutney
  • Blue cheese and toasted walnuts
  • Prosciutto and fresh figs
  • Butter, radishes, and sea salt (we recommend Maldon)
  • Avocado and cilantro with lime
  • Ham and honey mustard butter

From Great Get-Togethers