Sterling Cooper Draper Rumaki & Gimlet

Darlings, it really does seem as though it were yesterday that we were reintroduced to the goings on of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. And here we are, already at the end of another season. I really hope that I don’t have to wait another entire year for the show to return. I could be dead by then. Although if I do die at least I go out with the image of Roger Sterling’s bum in my head. I cackled when that happened. I guffawed to Brian.

But anyway, the finale gave me another reason to try a couple more recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook. First up, the Vodka Gimlet.

A Gimlet is an “& drink.” And by “& drink,” I mean a drink that is one ingredient AND another. You know, your gin & tonic, a scotch & soda, and any of the other “& drinks” that have names but are just two ingredients–Cuba Libre, Screwdriver, Greyhound, etc. These are the workhorses in the cavalcade of cocktails.

The Gimlet, according to this cookbook, is 2 oz (4 tbsp) vodka shaken in a cocktail shaker with 1 oz (2 tbsp) Rose’s Lime Juice. Strain. Drink. Drunk.

Could that be any easier? Nope. But it is insanely sweet. Which could be why Betty Draper liked them so much. It’s a girly drink that goes down easy but before you know it you’ve got your pretty, little made-up face and bouffant face down in a toilet somewhere.

I, for experimental purposes, had my first one as-is but then changed it up–2 oz vodka, 1 oz. Rose’s lime juice, on the rocks and topped off with a healthy glug of club soda. Not as sweet and the strength of the vodka was a little tempered. But it tastes like a Margarita that is slightly off. You rim the glass with some salt and you’re almost there.

As for the Rumaki–the book gives a whole story on the muddled history of the dish (it involves 2 warring Polynesian restaurants).  But simply put, Rumaki are water chestnuts wrapped in chicken livers and bacon.

This was a frugal dish. I had some turkey bacon in the fridge, both chicken livers and canned water chestnuts are cheap, and since I was only using a small portion of the chicken livers, I am going to try my hand at traditional chopped liver later this week. So. Damn. Excited.

Here is the Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook Rumaki recipe:

  • 6 chicken livers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • 9 bacon slices cut into thirds
  • 9 scallions, slicked thin and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
Wrap bacon and scallion around liver and water chestnut. Secure with toothpicks, marinate in soy sauce mixture for 1 hour, cook drained kebabs in broiler for 5 minutes, flipping frequently.

Damn, these suckers were hard to put together. And I don’t know in what universe a 1/3 or a slice of bacon would be enough to wrap itself around both a sliced water chestnut and a chunk of liver. It took so many toothpicks in the first batch to attach water chestnut to liver to bacon that the Rumaki looked like Sputnik. But then I adjusted it to 1/2 slices and it was much easier to secure the Rumaki.

I didn’t have any scallions so those were omitted, but after consulting a few other recipes I added some Shaoxing wine (sherry) and a sprinkling of brown sugar to the marinating liquid.

Here they are marinating:

Instead of broiling, I put the marinated rumaki on some cooking racks in a cookie sheet and cooked them at 400 degrees for, well, I don’t know exactly how long. I kept just peeking at them and turning them so they got all brown.

So here are the Rumaki, alongside some frozen spring rolls left over from my New Year’s Eve Chinese Banquet and some dipping sauce I threw together (2 tbsp spicy blackberry syrup, 1/2 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tbsp chopped pimento, 1 tbsp currant jelly, a dash of Cayenne and 1 Chinese take-out packet of hot mustard). My sauce was boss.

The Rumaki were REALLY salty. All that soy sauce, I suppose. But it had to have been something more than that. The addition of the Shaoxing wine and brown sugar wouldn’t have made them saltier. Maybe it’s because I used turkey bacon?

Well, in theory I liked this. I liked it texture-wise–the crunch of the water chestnut against the soft chicken liver–but the Rumaki were just way too salty.

I would totally try this again. But with real bacon and less soy sauce.

I am totally bummed that Mad Men is over but it’s not like I don’t have other shows to follow. My summer will be full of this:


And this:

I love you Bravo and Lifetime. I really, really do.

Gifs from

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22 Responses to Sterling Cooper Draper Rumaki & Gimlet

  1. I’m not really feeling the love of Mad Men this season. Maybe I will reconnect with SCDP next season…but we’ve got cocktails galore until then my friend.

  2. I love Don Draper and i love watching anything on Bravo. Shame on me! Great post!

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  18. Just A. Grandma says:

    To reduce the saltiness, marinate only the water chestnuts and liver in the sauce. Before wrapping, coat the inside of the bacon with brown sugar. Wrap, then chill for 20 minutes before baking. For a simple dipping sauce, add water and brown sugar to the marinade to taste. Reduce by heating in a saucepan.

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