The Mad Men Guide to Drinking at the Office

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Mad Men returns for its fourth season this Sunday, July 25, and while devoted fans can't wait to see how the show resolves the shocking end of its third season -- no worries: no spoilers here! -- others simply look forward to returning to a time when men still wore hats, everyone smoked and drinking at the office was not merely acceptable but encouraged.

Gut Check can't offer much advice about bringing men's hats or cigarettes back in fashion, but drinking at work is something we know a little about. Here, gleaned from careful observations of the show's first three seasons, is the Mad Men Guide to Drinking at the Office.

Always Keep a Well Stocked Bar

If you keep one bottle of liquor at your desk -- or, more likely, hidden away in a drawer of your desk -- you are a sad, lonely drunk and it's only a matter of time before HR bounces your ass to the curb. If you keep a wide selection of liquor and mixers, ideally arranged with glassware and a bucket of ice on a tabletop, you acquire an urbane charm that you'd otherwise need to read the entire archives of GQ's "Style Guy" to achieve.

Know Your Cocktails

By "know," we don't mean have a copy of The Bartender's Bible handy. We mean know the recipes for classic cocktails by heart. Mad Men itself offers a handy guide. If you really want to impress your colleagues, clients or the hot new intern, learn a few forgotten cocktails and whip them up from time to time. As a corollary to this step: Never entertain a request for a cosmo or other frou-frou drinks. Always remember: Office drinking is serious, sophisticated business.

Always Be Drinking Already or Making a Drink When You Offer Someone Else a Drink

It's essential to shatter the notion that drinking at work is taboo. If you are already enjoying a cocktail or mixing one or even just pouring whiskey over ice, it becomes far easier for others to accept the offer of a drink. Conversely, if you don't have a drink in hand, and your guests decline to have one, you'll feel obligated not to have one yourself, and the unfortunate taboo will remain.

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Lunch Should Always Be Counted in Number of Martinis, Not Minutes

The martini is a vital component of the business lunch. It's a sort of shorthand: a four-martini lunch involves matters of greater urgency, thus requiring more gin lubrication, than a three-martini lunch. And so on.

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