Mad Men Manhattan and Mushroom Pâté

April 3, 2015

Mad Men Manhattan and a Mushroom Pate from

I was sent a couple of gorgeous glasses from my cousin who had split up items from my Aunt Eddie and Aunt Patsy’s estate. Sadly one of them was broken in transit so of course I wanted it more than ever. I could tell the shape of the glass and it was unique so through some research I discovered that it was called a ‘champagne coupe’ and that one of the early uses was for serving Manhattans. The perfect opportunity was at hand to feature this storied cocktail during a ‘Mad Men’ party a group of bloggers decided to throw to commemorate the final season of the television show that starts this coming week. I wanted to make a traditional cocktail of the era and I wanted it in the right glass, doggone it! Nothing else would do for this Mad Men Manhattan and Mushroom Pâté!

Mad Men Party

I searched high and low; I went online and found some by Kate Spade, she of the overpriced designer category, and others by Waterford, still overpriced but a name that I would more proudly attribute to my stemware. I finally found the perfect reasonably priced glasses by Libbey (remember, I just wanted them for a couple of photos) but I was not interested in an entire case. Drat!! Finally, feeling a bit desperate, I decided to contact my favorite restaurant and see if they had one I could borrow. I can not deny that once I get it in my head that I want something done a certain way I am most definitely a woman on a mission!

I called YaYa’s in the Denver Tech Center, a restaurant I love that was near my old home. I consider YaYa’s my own personal Cheers where ‘almost’ everyone knows my name. When I talked to Scott, the manager, he said they didn’t have any in the restaurant but he thought he had some at home packed away. His own family artifacts that he didn’t want to get rid of but also didn’t use (haven’t we all been there?). Scott offered to check and let me know. The following morning his email was like a gift, he had found his cache and would drop off a package at YaYa’s for me to pickup. Tell me, how many restaurant managers will do that for you? YaYa’s will always fix mussels the way I like them no matter what the current menu offering is and I love that but this was over and beyond. So… many thanks Scott. What? I can keep the glasses too? All FOUR of them? I already thought you the best and now my readers know why.

The Manhattan is an elegant cocktail with a rich history; some of it fabricated to lend more glory to its name but all leading to it originating in Manhattan, one of the five Burroughs of New York City. By all accounts it originated in the later part of the 19th century and has seen a resurgence often attributed to the popularity of ‘Mad Men‘ – a television show that chronicles the lives and social mores of the 1960′s in America. I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect to be a fan. Let’s just say that my parents both enjoyed a Manhattan. They were a part of that 60′s generation that drank too much and partied too hard; there were affairs and a divorce and in a real soap opera twist; a re-marriage. By them. To each other. Watching that play out on the small screen hit a bit too close to home so I kept my distance from the show for the first couple of years until a friend insisted I do a marathon with her and doggone it; I was hooked. Truth is I had also kept my distance from a Manhattan all these many years for many of the same reasons and that was another error in judgement on my part.

This is no lightweight drink. Recognizing that my taste in wine has segued from Boone’s Farm to a nice Cabernet over the years, I’m quite certain that if someone had introduced me to this cocktail those many years ago; it would have been received less than favorably. This is booze, pure and simple. Despite some controversy over where it began, one area without controversy is the continued popularity of the drink. It is still considered one of the finest cocktails ever conceived and on every bar’s list of best cocktails.


Purists (who are these people anyhow?!!) presume that the only way to create a Manhattan is with Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters but there are those who cry sacrilege if not using Dry Vermouth. Most concede that Rye Whiskey is the liquor of choice and I love Templeton Rye but bartender choices run the gamut from Bourbon to Rye to Canadian Whiskey. For me it has to be Rye but I’m more forgiving with the Vermouth depending on tastes, personally preferring Sweet Vermouth. Bitters are seeing a huge boon in popularity right now and the choices are endless but this is a Manhattan and Angostura bitters are a must. Sometimes something is so good that you simply don’t need to mess with success!

Mad Men Manhattan
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 cocktail
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • ½ oz sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish (I’ve used my own version which are a combination of sour cherries and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
  1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with the cherries.

Classic Manhattan from Mad Men and a Mushroom Pate from

If the Manhattan is considered one of the finest cocktails ever conceived it deserves a great appetizer. While I am certain the characters in Mad Men would be enjoying a traditional liver pate, I decided to pair the cocktail with this Mushroom Paté; my take on an appetizer that I could imagine being served with a Manhattan all those many years ago when it first gained notoriety. It is rich and decadent but also something that would appeal to all of my friends including the vegetarians among them.

I’ve been making this pâté for a very long time; it was a hand me down recipe that I first enjoyed at a cocktail party I attended over a decade ago and all I could get from the hostess was that it was a combination of sautéed mushrooms and cream cheese.  I’m sure I’ve made a revision to it each and every time I’ve put it together but I must say, I think this was the best. Maybe it was that extra clove of garlic?

It’s easy to prepare and can be held in the refrigerator overnight so it’s a great appetizer if you want to make something ahead of time. I actually think it’s best if given some time for the flavors to meld so try this next time you’re having a get together and want to make it easier for you…anything you can make a day ahead is a bonus.

Classic Manhattan from Mad Men and a Mushroom Pate from

The television saga of Mad Men is almost over and while this might be a celebration of the final season which starts April 5th, it’s sad to see it go. The Mad Ad Men and the delicious John Hamm. Truth be told I’ve become such a fan girl that I look beyond his rascal ways and just concentrate on that beautiful face. Both Don Draper and I have in common the love for a great cocktail. Well,  his might have turned to lust but still, the recipe for a Dan Draper Manhattan is superb. That he likes rye, sweet vermouth and a cherry garnish too; oh Don…you really are a man after my own heart! Combined with this luscious appetizer? Perfect for that era and for your own party today!

Don Draper - Mad Men

Mushroom Pâté
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 12-16 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Medium Dry or Dry Sherry
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1tsp fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the green onion, garlic and Sherry and saute for 3-4 more minutes til the garlic is cooked but not browned.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Put herbs, cream cheese and mushroom mixture into food processor and pulse gently until mixed thoroughly but not completely smooth.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Pack into 2 serving crocks and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and service with crackers or toast points. With a Manhattan!


In keeping with the era and our celebration; our group has rounded up a couple of gift items for a Giveaway for our readers.  Make sure you join the Giveaway below for a chance to win a gorgeous martini glass (provided by yours truly!), an adorable vintage piece of Pyrex (from Carrie Burrill/Bakeaholic Mama) or a $100 gift certificate to ModCloth; an online fashion boutique with some fantastic retro chic! Come on people; let’s party like’s it’s 1960!!

Join us for a #‎MadMenBlogParty‬!




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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer R. April 19, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Those glasses are gorgeous. The mushroom pate recipe sounds delicious! I think I could actually get my mushroom-hating husband to eat this since the texture is changed.


2 Creative Culinary April 19, 2015 at 8:10 pm

I had a comment on the dish that one guy’s wife loved the pate and she doesn’t like mushrooms. There is hope!


3 Jamie April 9, 2015 at 7:29 am

Believe it or not but I have wanted to make mushroom pâté since I first saw a recipe for it in Vegetarian Epicure. I love the way yours looks and I might just finally make it!! That martini glass is really gorgeous!
Jamie Most Recent Post: Cocoa Espresso Almond Sponge Cake for Passover (Gluten-free)


4 Creative Culinary April 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

It is so good I never make liver pâté anymore; I know everyone will eat this. Did you see the comment from the fellow whose wife does not like mushrooms but loved this? No greater testimony right? :)


5 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 8, 2015 at 2:15 am

I love those glasses and I have to say I got a bit sniffly at the thought of your aunts’ glass getting broken. Then when Scott said he’d look, I was feeling better. Then when he found them I was even better. But… when he said you could have them AND I saw the photos, I got sniffly again. So often we focus on the few bad things in the world and forget about so many good people.

I make a good mushroom pate but my goodness, mine isn’t as good as this. Once I looked at the ingredients list, I knew yours was better and I must have it.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Sous Vide Garlic Confit


6 Creative Culinary April 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

He made me sniffly too; I am a total sucker for those unexpected acts of kindness, of being reminded of the goodness of people that is so often hidden behind the constant news of the bad ones. A reader left a comment that his wife loved it and she doesn’t like mushrooms so bet you would love it!


7 PPriscilla | She's Cookin' April 7, 2015 at 11:51 am

Wow, Scott is definitely a great friend to have! Wish I’d known you were having a Mad Men party! I participated in a virtual one with the author of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook and had a few friends over last night to watch Sunday’s episode again. Everyone contributed popular appetizers from the ’60s and I mixed Don Draper’s go-to cocktail – the Old Fashioned. Your Manhattans look fabulous! Cheers, Barb!


8 Creative Culinary April 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

You would sure have been a perfect fit! I wanted to do the old fashioned but someone else had tagged it and I had already posted one not that long ago. The Manhattan was sure tasty but it’s definiitely a ‘big girl’ drink! Cheers back at ya!


9 Doug (the kitchen professor) April 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm

My wife doesn’t usually like mushrooms but she liked this pate. Maybe it was the manhattan!
Doug (the kitchen professor) Most Recent Post: History of Wagner Cast Iron


10 Creative Culinary April 7, 2015 at 11:24 am

Love hearing that Doug; maybe it was the booze but I’m thinking cream cheese and garlic didn’t hurt either. :)


11 Kelly @ Kelly Bakes April 4, 2015 at 7:23 pm

I have to say, I’m normally a purist about things, but since I started making bitters a few years ago, I’m always excited to try new varieties and use them when I can in cocktails. Admittedly, though, I think the bitters boom is a little out of control at the moment; there’s a tiny corner store in my (admittedly kind of hipster) neighborhood that sells organic produce and has an entire shelf dedicated to different kinds of bitters. I guess they know their audience! Anyway, I love Manhattans; your glasses are gorgeous! I need to bookmark this mushroom pate too!


12 Creative Culinary April 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

I’ve done some homemade bitters too Kelly and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the out of control; fads tend to do that don’t they? I get asked all the time to feature a specialty cocktail from some major ‘mixologist’ and the ingredients often include bitters I’ve never heard of. I won’t do those for the blog; I want to create a cocktail or share classics that people can actually make in their home! Still, for this Manhattan; I know Don’s drink would have included Angostura! Whatever or however; yes the pate is worth making!


13 Aimee Seavey April 4, 2015 at 4:53 am

I love this post! I always want to know the history behind everything, so this was great, and both the cocktail and pate look amazing. I recently tracked down my own pair of coupe glasses at an antique store after admiring the way Betty sips her gimlets. As a semi-veggie (fish, no meat), I LOVE the mushrooms, too. Happy Made Men viewing on Sunday!


14 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:47 am

I post a cocktail every Friday and often include ones I call ‘Classics.’ Those I like to delve into the history of; it’s amazing how many of them have really interesting stories and characters involved. The pate is so good; I might have had nothing but for dinner last night. Maybe. OK, I did. :)


15 nicole @ i am a honey bee April 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm

man, that manager is the nicest!!!!
I want that mushroom pate. Sounds so yummy!
nicole @ i am a honey bee Most Recent Post: Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a #MadMenBlogParty


16 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:45 am

It is yummy! And so is Scott. :)


17 MaryB April 3, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Love this blog party! I love your glasses, too. This pate and the drink are must makes for me. Love all the characters, really, in their own way they are great but gotta say Peggy, I guess.


18 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:45 am

Thanks Mary and I love them too. I would love them without their reminder of someone’s generosity but that sure does add to the value for me! Hope you do try them; thanks for stopping by.


19 Carrie @ poet in the pantry April 3, 2015 at 6:06 pm

The last time I tried to order an Old Fashioned, they said they couldn’t make one and offered me a Manhattan instead. Not knowing the difference between the two, I accepted–and was nearly knocked over by that **this is all liquor** feeling. My dad, who was at the same event, told me that’s what you order when you’re trying to do some serious drinking. Ha! Still, they have their moments.

I love your story of how you acquired the glasses for this photo shoot! You have a great relationship at that restaurant!
Carrie @ poet in the pantry Most Recent Post: Mad Men and an Old Fashioned #MadMenBlogParty


20 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:44 am

Yes, it takes the right time and place; especially time to not be rushed and be able to sip it. Oh, and yes…a really good bourbon helps! :)


21 Deanna Segrave-Daly April 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm

K – first off, GENUIS blog party – love love it. Those glasses are gorgeous and my neighbors always bring over a pitcher of Manhattans when we have them over for dinner or happy hour. Admittedly, they are a bit strong for this gal but they are a beautiful cocktail sure! And loving this mushroom pate as I’m not big on the real deal :)


22 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:43 am

I like chicken livers cooked with stock for a long time and used in a gravy at Thanksgiving but even then I have to make a separate batch for everyone else so I don’t think you are alone…and I sort of figured as much. Besides, this is REALLY good. Any leftovers? I put it in an omelet. OH MY GOOD!


23 Lisa | The Viet Vegan April 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm

That mushroom pâté is styled with fineesssee. If only my chunky french onion dip looked as stylish. I’m glad you gave Mad Men a second chance. It’s just too good of a show not to love <3
Lisa | The Viet Vegan Most Recent Post: Vegan French Onion Dip


24 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:41 am

Well I WAS in my home studio so I had no excuse; it’s all about the other stuff bring some color into play and of course topping it with enough parsley that the brown sludge underneath is not quite so evident. Trust me, your French Onion Dip looked far better than mine would have if I hadn’t been able to do that. Mushrooms + Cream Cheese = Grayish Brown Dip. :)


25 Yankee Kitchen Ninja (Julianne) April 3, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Wow, that Scott is a PRINCE — I love those glasses! And I’m cray cray for pate, can’t wait to try yours. (And that pic of Don is HYPNOTIC…)


26 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:40 am

Agreed, Scott really is. I was totally verklempt. I know; Don is now my desktop image. :)


27 John@Kitchen Riffs April 3, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Champagne coupes are pretty, aren’t they? I think (though I’m not positive) they were also the original martini glasses (before the v-shaped “martini” glass evolved). The Manhattan is one of my favorite drinks. I prefer a 2:1 ratio, but your 4:1 ratio is also quite nice. Sweet vermouth for me, although sometimes I like a Perfect Manhattan — half sweet vermouth, half dry. Good post — thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: The Rosita Cocktail


28 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

So pretty; of course new ones are etched so these were so perfect to mimic something from another era. I had heard that about martinis too John! I have another post on the site about the Perfect Manhattan and it is different. This is certainly not an everyday cocktail; it’s a slow sippy one…something I seldom have time for! :)


29 Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily April 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

Wow, that was really nice of him! Such pretty vintage glasses! I’m just really digging that mushroom pate, I adore all things mushroom so these will be a perfect appetizer. I’ve never been a fan of whiskey but now I know what to order when I’m feeling adventerous. btw, I too have grown my apertifs from Boones Farm to a good Cabernet ;)
Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily Most Recent Post: Fried Green Olives Stuffed with Blue Cheese for a #MadMenBlogParty ModCloth #giveaway


30 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:36 am

He is such a nice guy Gwen but this was unexpected and truly a sweet gesture. The pate is divine and if you’re interested in trying some bourbon/whiskey cocktails let me know; I would probably suggest something a bit more lightweight to start. I have a friend who has often said, ‘I hate bourbon’ and then I’ll make her a great bourbon cocktail and she’s can’t believe she likes it!


31 Kate | Food Babbles April 3, 2015 at 11:39 am

I love Manhattans! Such a classic, tasty drink and mushroom pate. Yum! I want to come hang out, nosh and sip with you with these two fantastic recipes. As for my favorite Mad Men character … Shh … I’ve actually NEVER watched! Gasp! It’s been in my Netflix queue for quite some time. I just have very little time for television. But one of these days I truly do want to start watching it.
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Almond Poached Pear Brioche Cake with Red Wine Caramel


32 Creative Culinary April 4, 2015 at 8:35 am

I would seldom watch TV either except for insomnia. So thankful I can DVR shows I want to see and have them available from 2-4am. Well, not thankful I’m awake but as long as I am at least I’m not laying there trying to count sheep! :)


33 claire @the realistic nutritionist April 3, 2015 at 9:58 am

This pairing is just perfect!!


34 Creative Culinary April 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

Thanks Claire; it really is! Trying it all out on a Wednesday night? Decadent too!


35 Angela April 3, 2015 at 8:53 am

My grandmother asked for a Manhattan with Southern Comfort a few years ago for her birthday, so I did some research on the internet and bought the appropriate ingredients. She enjoyed the drink – maybe a bit too much. The family still gives me a hard time for getting her tipsy with one drink!


36 Creative Culinary April 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

Real life out loud chuckle; thanks for sharing Angela!


37 Jennie @themessybakerblog April 3, 2015 at 8:13 am

What a gorgeous cocktail and delicious pate recipe. Those glasses are stunning. I can’t wait to make this boozy beverage. Pinned.
Jennie @themessybakerblog Most Recent Post: Classic Negroni ~ #MadMenBlogParty


38 Creative Culinary April 3, 2015 at 11:15 am

Thanks Jennie; the glasses are so precious I’m nervous using them but hey, they do me no good in a chine hutch!


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