Tails from the Cockside – Volume 1: Dirty Martini

I’m a lot of things. I’m a Dad. I’m a dork. Someone recently left a comment on this website to let me know that I’m an idiot.

You know what thing I’m not? Sophisticated!

I like to play at being some kind of a beer hipster, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to win any big accounts down at the marketing firm by taking prospective clients out for a bunch of hazy IPAs. Also, I don’t work at a marketing firm and I haven’t seen anyone in person in like 10 months.

The bottom line is that there’s a classier way to get shitfaced, and I’m starkly ignorant as to how all of that works. I know you put the wet stuff in the face hole, but… cocktails? What makes a good cocktail? Would I even like cocktails? How do you even get cocktails if you can’t go out to a bar and have some mixology grad fix you up something with a nonsensical and confusing name?

After musing for awhile that I would like to get into making and drinking cocktails, my wife began enthusiastically using every gift-giving opportunity to get me started. It’s almost as if she were waiting for some sign that I was ready to magically morph into some continent-hopping, suit-wearing executive. Joke’s on her! I just like drinking!

We both really love Mad Men, and the folks on that show drink a lot of cocktails. Drinking all of those cocktails seems to really work out well for the folks on that show, and never causes any problems at all.

I love having no problems, so I invite you to join me on a journey of drinkscovery. I’m going to try to make some fancy drinks and then I’ll let you know what I think of them. If we happen to become better and more successful people along the way, who’s going to complain?

The Dirty Martini

The first drink that I’m going to tackle is a real classic: The Martini.

James Bond drinks ’em! He’s as suave as he is deadly! This is the drink for me! Look at this very funny GIF!

The Wikipedia page for Martini has all kinds of great information to offer. My favourite part is that some arsehole called the martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet”. I didn’t even have to Google that guy to know that he was a writer. Most important for our purposes, Wikipedia offers information on the variations of Martini that exist and lets us know that the most recognizable incarnation of the Martini was more or less agreed upon by 1922. So… Happy almost centennial to the classic Martini, I guess!

I’ve decided to just plug my drink ideas into Google and decide on whatever recipe page looks easy. So I Googled a recipe for a DIRTY MARTINI. I did this partially because it seems funnier, and partially because I only started liking olives about a year and a half ago and I’m dying to find something that will put me back off of them.


According to the recipe that I followed, one can make a dirty martini using the following ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Dry vermouth
  • Olive juice (lol what)
  • Olives

People may rightly say “Hey, a martini is made with gin!” Yes, probably. This particular recipe called for vodka, though. And we happened to have some, so I went along with it.

Vermouth, I have now learned, is a kind of fortified wine. There is also a “sweet” variety of vermouth.

Olives are olives. I actually don’t really love these stuffed olives, and I think that you’re supposed to use special cocktail olives perhaps. But again, we had these.

Step one:

Add two shots of vodka to your cocktail shaker thing.

Then add half of a shot of vermouth to your cocktail shaker thing.

Then add half of a shot of olive brine from the jar (sick!) to your cocktail shaker thing.

Add a pile of ice to your cocktail shaker thing.

Step two:

Put the lid onto your cocktail shaker thing, and shake it all up until it gets very cold and your hands start to hurt. Then grab a towel to protect your hands and shake it some more.

Step three:

Pour whatever liquid is in the cocktail shaker through the little strainer part on top into the funny glass that your wife bought you.

Step four:

Throw some olives into the bottom of the glass, because cocktails often have just chunks of food floating in them. I didn’t have any of those little olive-kabob sticks, so mine just sit at the bottom like little turds.

Step five:



The first thing that I noticed about the martini is that it is basically just a pile of straight liquor. The fumes coming off of this thing don’t seem like they’d be safe around a candle, so I don’t know why people think cocktails are romantic.

The drink gets very cold in the shaker, and that’s a big plus.

But it’s also, like, the saltiest thing I’ve ever tasted. This is obviously the olive juice at work, and I have to be completely honest: It really torpedoed my enjoyment of the drink. I didn’t know how to reconcile the fact that it was very cold, crisp and refreshing, with the fact that it was like dumping a salt shaker into my mouth and chasing it with straight vodka.

Perhaps it would have been better to go with a standard dry martini rather than the dirty variety, but it’s just so fun to say “dirty martini”. Eating the olives at the bottom was satisfying, so I think that I would keep the olives (not the juice) were I to make another martini-style beverage.

One big bonus of the cocktail thing is that they basically go straight to your head and you feel tipsy immediately. This wears off quickly, which I think is usually the cue to make another cocktail, but I just drank some water and went to bed early instead.

You don’t build a Don Draper in a day, dudes.

The Verdict

Making a cocktail was very entertaining, even if the cocktail itself was just kind of like licking the salty tears off of a drunk’s face in the middle of a North Bay cold snap. I don’t feel any classier, but I do feel as though I’ve learned something.

Specifically, I’ve learned how to make what I’m sure is the world’s lousiest dirty martini.

Given our balmy summer weather, please look forward to my next installment where I attempt to make a mojito, or (just as likely) please look forward to me giving up on this as a series immediately after publishing.

Author: markmeeks

squid goals

2 thoughts

  1. Getting into cocktail making is a very slippery slope, and I can’t wait to read more!! I hope you end up down as deep a rabbit hole as I did, as it will be ever so fun to read about!!


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