Those Preppy Cocktails – Can You Say Madras on Ice?

Hello-Hello and Happy Friday. Are you ready for a weekend?

In the spirit of a little relaxation and rejuvenation, we begin with Sunday’s New York Times Magazineit will feature a piece by Rosie Schaap titled Preppy Drinks Never Go Out Of Style. Ms. Schaap writes the monthly “Drink” column for the paper, and is always an enjoyable read.  In Sunday’s story she reminisces about time she spent enjoying The Original Preppy Handbook back in 1980, and her recollections from the book during a recent trip to Nantucket.

I went sailing. I ate heaps of steamers and lobster and corn. I took long walks in the dunes and made up rotten limericks the whole time. No one would mistake me for a preppy, but I did wear pink one night.

Then Ms. Schaap talks about a drink she only had once:

And on my final afternoon, I stopped into a bar and asked for a drink I hadn’t had in decades: a madras. It was the drink of choice for one of my closest college friends, a true prep, and I only ever had one when we drank together.

Accompanying the piece, this picture of a MadrasSea Breeze and Brighton Beach breeze.

William Brinson for the NY Times (Stylists: Ed Gabriels & Susan Brinson)

William Brinson for the NY Times (Stylists: Ed Gabriels & Susan Brinson)

(Those links take you to the recipe for each, I’m not sure I’d be able to choose among the three, they all look that good.)

Back to the story:

But it’s fun, and easy, to upgrade preppy staples.

I suspect a true prep wouldn’t want to mess with tradition. This summer, he can just avert his eyes and stick with a G. & T.

Ms. Schaap also shares a “Preppy Summer Reading List” in her column:

  • “Collected Stories and Other Writings,” John Cheever

  • “Commencement,” J. Courtney Sullivan

  • “Losing Mum and Pup,” Christopher Buckley

  • “Seating Arrangements,” Maggie Shipstead

  • “Selected Poems,” James Merrill

In a blog post about the column we read about Ms. Schaap meeting Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements.

I devoured the novel — set on a fictional New England island, populated by preppies, during a wedding weekend — and naturally it wound up on the reading list accompanying the column.

By e-mail, I asked Shipstead what drinks she considers preppy classics. ‘‘There are the obvious ones like G. and T.’s and Cape Codders and whatnot,” she told me. “I would also put forward Mt. Gay and tonic. For the hardcore, there’s the bullshot: cold beef bullion and vodka.”

This one was a fun read. Click here for the story and here for the blog post.  A quick note, if you look for this piece in Sunday’s Magazine, the headline is “I’ll Have a Sea Breeze Dahling“.

One added note, in a comment on Wednesday’s post Lauren mentioned another classic, Tipsy in Madras – A Complete Guide to 80s Preppy Drinking , dating back to 2004. (I remain baffled as to how someone like myself, who has consumed enormous quantities of alcohol an occasional cocktail, could have forgotten the book.)

Image via Barnes & Noble

Image via Barnes & Noble

From Publishers Weekly:

What defines a preppy cocktail? Archaism (the drink must have existed pre-80s), character (nothing cheap or easy), understatement (nothing with an umbrella) and, of course, Anglicanism (if it’s exotic, it ain’t preppy). Beginning with an insightful essay on the demise of preppy culture in the early 1990s, this book goes on to chronicle the how-tos of drinking for the Lacoste set.

I was also reminded of another treasure among prep mixologists and cooks, Alexandra Wentworth’s The WASP Cookbook from 1997.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

This is another one also packed away years ago when we thought we were moving (someone-who-shall-remain-nameless-but-you-know-him-by-the-initials-TC thought there were too many cookbooks on the shelves in the kitchen for prospective buyers to fully appreciate the room, cough-cough), but easy to spot because of its resemblance to the Social Register. It is a delight, described as a “A Perfect Little Cookbook for Muffies” in a Baltimore Sun review:

In conversation she simply calls WASPs “my people.” She has the credentials.

Her mother is a Muffie. Her mother’s full name is Mabel Cabot (as in Henry Cabot Lodge) Wentworth. Muffie is a graduate of Smith College and a former social secretary for the Reagan White House.

Her father, “Daddy,” Eric Wentworth, is a Harvard man and a former reporter for the Washington Post.

Many thanks to @Queen P on Twitter, and Elizabeth (who left a comment on Wednesday’s post), they reminded me about this one.


We leave you with something from the other end of the spectrum, an early look at a fall fashion accessory. With apologies to those who have already seen this on our Facebook page, I just couldn’t resist sharing it with our treasured blog readers.  It is referred to by Swank Atlanta this way: “THIS IS THE MUST-HAVE BAG FOR FALL!!!!

CC Skye The Shredder at Swank Atlanta

CC Skye The Shredder at Swank Atlanta

That is the Shredder Hobo Bag in honey leather:

This FAB bag is a slouchy, casual, edgy yet elegant handbag. This bag is a favorite among stylists and Hollywood elite.

The Facebook comments on the post were fabulous:

  • Rachel noted that “It looks like something cave-women would have toted their primitive tools in. Meat carver, mortar and pestle, large club for when the Hubs is out of line….”
  • Leslie said makes a good point: “My black lab could do that.”
  • Maria asked “Did they rip it right off the cow?”

The Shredder bag is $695. (Really.)

On that wacky note, goodbye until next time. May you enjoy a splendid weekend!



Filed under Friday Fun, preppy, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People

6 Responses to Those Preppy Cocktails – Can You Say Madras on Ice?

  1. Pnk&Grn4evr

    I’m ready to have our housekeeper make a run to the package store in the sturdy family Volvo for a Countess-sizes bottle of Tanqueray, a fresh bag of ice (I loathe fridge ice!) and local Key limes! I’ll ask her to stop early & mix us some g & ts those handy Lilly good-for-camoflauging-what-one’s-drinking cold drink tumblers with the screw-on lids and convenient straws. I haven’t had a good, stiff drink in years but I sure do remember my g & t-soaked teen, college (sort of) and young married years in south Florida (barely) where gin & tonics are served all year. By then, I had switched to vodka; the punitive effects of a gin hangover were well known to me. But one studied look at that bag is enough the send anyone reaching for a bottle, it fits in the category of fashion I call: “How Stupid Do They Think We Are?” I’m happy I saw the price before starting to drink so I didn’t choke on it. I know a lot of smart cookies read this blog: I won’t waste your time with my silly adjectives I would use to describe this abomination. Thank you, Princess, for providing us with a huge laugh and early, lazy start to the hot, humid weekend to come! After Pat came back & fixed us some libations, we enjoyed a game of competing “You want to see ugly? Check this out” comparing websites she’d never seen and showing me sites I’d never seen. We were laughing until we needed tissues in fewer than 15 minutes! Thank you again for a wonderful start to the weekend.

  2. I started drinking Mt. Gay & Tonic in college and have never stopped… oh, maybe when i lived in the UK and couldn’t get Mt. Gay, but otherwise, tis my drink of choice.

  3. Little Red

    Are sidecars preppy?

  4. That bag is another example of the fine line between Hollywood and homeless. That is honestly the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.

  5. Love a seabreeze, that is my go to drink, easy fresh and very light, perfect for summer. Cookbook looks cute, may have to get that. That bag? Not so cute…seriously did anyone actually buy it? Happy Sunday to you.

  6. Haha, that bag! It will never get old (because it already looks it?). :)

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