If your father (or grandfather) ever said that he just read Playboy for the cocktail recipes, you might have looked at him questioningly but actually, there was a fair chance that he was telling you the truth.
Saturday marks the anniversary for the first issue of Playboy (you know the one where Marilyn Monroe was on the cover) but especially in the early days of the publication, they had quite the reputation for their knowledge of food and especially booze.
While Hef was no cocktail connoisseur in his private life, it is said that his go-to cocktail was Jack & Pepsi, he was one of the first proponents of the cocktail conscious man. Hef is famous for saying, he always saw playboy as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.
In 1954, a year after Playboy launched, Hef brought on a food and drinks editor named Thomas Mario who remained on staff for the next 30 years or so. His early stories were discursive, 2,000-word think pieces on every permutation of gustatory and alcoholic pleasure.
Mario had a flair for setting the scene: “You pour a few dry martinis from a thermos and your appetites are sharpened into definite focus,” he wrote in 1954.
In 1953, when Hugh Hefner debuted the first issue of Playboy, alcohol advertisements and drink coverage immediately became popular fare within the magazine’s pages, subtly marketing drink (cocktails, specifically) as one key to attaining status.
Hugh Hefner not only placed liquor beside nude women, but he also branded the two together, selling liquor as an ingredient to that desirable Hugh Hefner lifestyle: money, Martinis, naked girls, cigars.
Playboy had the most liquor ads, the best booze features, published the biggest, most popular drink book
In an advertising circular to whiskey distillers, Playboy said: “85.9 per cent of all Playboy households drink or serve alcoholic beverage. 76.4 per cent drink or serve whiskey. Both of these figures are the highest reported for any magazine.”
And so, after Marilyn Monroe bared her breasts in 1953, bourbon distillers advertised in Playboy.
Jim Beam, I.W. Harper, Old Crow, Antique, Bourbon Supreme, Walker’s Deluxe, Early Times, Yellowstone, and eventually many others found a venue of pure marketing bliss in the nudie magazine, which became quintessential corporate reading material…. for the articles, of course.
One of the better cocktails that appeared in Playboy’s Host and Bar Book is The Bunny Mother
But then what would the evening without the talents of a playmate mixologists, we, therefore, present Playboy’s Playmate of 2007, Sara Jean Underwood, showing us how to make a lesser known but incredibly delicious drink, the Rearbuster.
Now we are not going to suggest that you recreate the Playboy Bunny Clubs of the 1960s or any sort of Gentlemen’s Club for that matter (really, in this day and age it would just make everyone uncomfortable).
And let’s face it when Hugh Hefner died last year, the last of the playboys died with him.
Instead, we thought it might be fun to run through some of the old episodes of Playboy Penthouse. Started in 1959, the show was a variety cocktail party presented by Hugh Hefner himself. So instead of you putting on the cocktail party, let’s see how Hef would do it …
Hef was not really a gourmet either, preferring simply prepared dishes, from grapefruit to lamb chops. With this in mind, we thought we would turn to Playboy’s own Indulgence Channel for some tasty treats.
Very American and super easy to make we thought we’dm look first at a Philly’s Cheesesteak (which you can cut up for guests)
And then who could go past Tequila-infused Ice Cream
These are 10 of Hef’s favourite song (a playlist that he released just before his 91st birthday)
If you are unsure what you’ll talk about, then we have a few articles that can provide some fun facts for you and your guests.
How Hugh Hefner Invented the Modern Man
Queer actor Ezra Miller is the hero we need right now. Even Playboy gets it
Holy Cottontail! The Playboy Club Is Back Again
Hugh Hefner’s famous pipe, Playboy-branded slippers, trademark red dressing gown and a bronze statue of Farrah Fawcett’s torso to all go under the hammer
Canadian filmmaker shows how Hugh Hefner used TV as a social platform