Posts Tagged Drinking

Do You Know Your Martini From Your Martinez?

Today is “National Dry Martini Day” (who comes up with this stuff?)…another excuse to drink, but also an excuse to learn a little about the history of the classic American cocktail.

The Martini is the quintessential drink; full of history, legend, and most importantly liquor! There are almost as many versions of the origin of the Martini as there are ways to make it. Some say the drink was invented in San Francisco during the late 19th century. Others, say it was invented by a bartender in New York City in the early 1900’s. There is also documentation that the modern day Martini evolved from a classic cocktail called the Martinez (named after Martinez, California where it originated). Perhaps this is the original East Coast-West Coast rivalry?

The Martini, already popular, really took the drinking world by storm during Prohibition. Gin was easy to get and so the Martini was easy to drink. During the 1960’s, James Bond helped revive the drink by ordering a Vodka Martini (shaken, not stirred). This version of the Martini quickly outpaced the original Gin recipe. During the 1980’s, the Martini had another boom in popularity, but this gave way to the 90’s when people were ordering all sorts of jacked up versions of drinks that were called Martini’s simply because they were served in a Martini glass! (Chocolate or Apple-tini anyone?). Thankfully, the original Gin Martini is back in the good graces of drinkers/bartenders (due in part to the current cocktail renaissance and the rediscovery of some original cocktail ingredients that weren’t available until recently).

Aside from this long and undulating history, the proper preparation of the Martini  is also something worth noting. An original Martini is made with Gin and Vermouth. Period. If you order a Martini with vodka, that is considered a Vodka Martini and a completely different drink in my opinion-sorry Mr.Bond!

Historically, you ordered a Martini with sweet vermouth aka Martini Rosso, (made popular by the Martini & Rossi brand in 1863, the preferred brand of vermouth hence people asking for their Gin to be mixed with “Martini Vermouth” leading to the shortened name “Martini”). Those who wanted a dry Martini would request white vermouth, or Vermouth Bianco. The basic version of the drink called for 1 part vermouth to 3 parts gin. Today, the amount of vermouth denotes the dryness of the drink, rather than the type of vermouth used. The ratio has gotten so out of control some Martini recipes only call for a rinse of vermouth. You can also serve your Martini dirty, by adding olive juice. I prefer the dry to dirty, using a good quality Rosso/Rouge, a dash of bitters, and a garnish of lemon or orange.

Such feverous debate over the origin of a cocktail almost seems silly; the bottom line is the Martini a good, strong drink that gets the job done.

As Dorothy Parker says: I like to drink martinis. Two at the most. Three I’m under the table, four I’m under the host.

So, to celebrate National Dry Martini Day, here are the recipes for the Classic Martini, Dry Martini and my version of a Modern Martini.

Drinking is all about preference…drink what you like! I recommend trying all three and decide how wet or dry you like your Martini; but remember A Martini should never, ever, ever be shaken. Always stirred.



Original Martini

2 ½ oz Gin (Try Old Tom’s– it has a nice floral, slighter sweeter flavor which complements the dry vermouth)

1 oz Dry Vermouth

Lemon or Olive

Pour Gin and Vermouth into a glass filled with ice. STIR. Strain into a chilled cocktail/Martini glass. Garnish with olive or lemon.


Dry Martini

2 ½ oz Gin

2-4 dashes Vermouth

Lemon or Olive

Pour Gin and Vermouth into a glass filled with ice. STIR. Strain into a chilled cocktail/Martini glass. Garnish with olive or lemon.


Nina’s Martini

Equal Parts Gin and Sweet/Rouge/Rosso Vermouth (I like 2:2)

2 dashes Orange/Angostura Bitters

Orange rind for Garnish

Pour Gin and Vermouth into a glass filled with ice. STIR. Strain into a chilled cocktail/Martini glass. Add bitters and garnish with Orange.


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Get Drunk, Not Fat.

Summer is finally here (well, not officially but you get the point) and with the long days and warm weather come lots of opportunities for socializing…and drinking. In my circle, even a day at the beach isn’t complete without a bottle of vodka and a 12-pack of beer!

So, what’s a cocktail groupie to do when she wants to indulge in a tippling or three, without going overboard on the calories? You could workout while you drink, but that might be a little dangerous.


I  know that when you are out having a good time, and the drinks start flowing the last thing I want to do is count calories (or points), but at the same time a MGD 64 just isn’t going to cut it!

I like to eat and I LOVE to drink. so I’ve found that applying the same principle to cocktails as food generally works- the fresher, and more natural the ingredients the better the flavors. Makes sense right? (Why do you think Puckers tastes like $h!t?). So, that being said once you have the basic alcohol base down you actually have a ton of great options for mixers that don’t over do it on the calories.

1. Pick Your Base

A light beer or glass of wine is always a good option for watching calories because of the built in portion control, but if you want a real drink there is a little more math involved. Most cocktails call for 1-2 servings of booze (a standard pour is about 1 1/2 ounces). Below are the calories for some common alcohols, based on the standard pour, you can be looking at 100 calories a shot (Is that going to stop me? Hell No!):

Vodka- 1oz 73 calories

Tequila- 1oz 65 calories

Rum- 1oz 65 calories

Gin- 1oz 70 calories

Whiskey- 1oz 65 calories

Bourbon- 1oz 69 calories

I believe in respecting a drink, and in my mind that respect is lost when you cover up the taste of the alcohol with crap! So, once you know what type of alcohol you want to drink (and assuming you aren’t just taking a shot or drinking it straight up/on the rocks) pick a mixer that compliments the alcohol.

2. Pick a Mixer

Some of my recommendations:

Fresh Grapefruit Juice- 76 calories for the juice of a medium sized fruit

Lime- 10 calories for the juice of a medium sized lime

Lemon- 13 calories for the juice of a medium sized lemon

Coconut Water- 8 oz. 46 calories

Watermelon (my current fav)- 1 cup about 46 calories

Green Tea (fresh brewed, unsweetened)- 8 oz 2 calories (yes, 2!)

Seltzer is a great option too- 8oz 1 cal

I don’t drink soda so I haven’t included it in my list, but diet soda is cool if that’s your thing.

Okay, now you have your base and options for mixers…time to get your (low-cal) drink on! How easy was that?

3. Make a Drink

Watermelon-Cucumber Aqua Fresca (<175 Cal)

1 1/2 oz Tequila, White Rum, Vodka OR Gin

1 medium cucumber, diced

1 cup watermelon, diced

Splash of honey/agave/simple syrup

Fresh Mint

Puree Cucumber, Mint and Watermelon in food processor or blender until liquefied and strain to remove seeds/pulp. Combine liquor, sweetener, and 3 oz juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a few sprigs of mint.

This recipe is great with just about any pureed fruit! Try strawberries, apple (really good with dark rum), cantaloupe, etc. Experiment with whatever you have on hand.

Paloma (<135 Cal)

1 1/2 oz Tequila Blanco

Juice from 1/2 Pink (or white) grapfruit

Soda Water/Seltzer


Pour tequila, and grapefruit juice over glass filled with ice. Stir. Top with seltzer and a splash of lime juice. You may need a splash of sweetener depending on the grapefruit used and your sweet tooth).

Gin and Tea (<125 Cal)

1 1/2 oz Gin

3 oz. Strong brewed Green Tea (unsweetened)

Slice of Lemon


Add gin, green tea, and honey to a cocktail shaker to combine. Shake well to dissolve honey, pour over iced filled glass and garnish with lemon.

Now you can go drink your skinny ass off. Cheers!


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Happy Anniversary Kentucky!

Happy Anniversary Kentucky!

A random bit of U.S. History trivia for you…which state was officially accepted into the Union 220 years ago today?


That’s right…good ol’ Kentucky! 

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Kentucky I think of many things…Fried Chicken, Horse Racing, the Judds…but most importantly I think of Bourbon!

Celebrate this historic day in History (hey, any excuse to drink right?) and make yourself one of the fine Bourbon cocktails below…and practice rooting on another famous Kentuckian in this weekend’s triple crown show down.

Summer Breeze

1 1/2 oz Bourbon

Splash Orange liqueur

Ginger ale

Orange wedge

Fill rocks glass with ice. Add Bourbon, a splash of orange liqueur and a squeeze of fresh orange. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Pink Bourbon Smash

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Try Maker’s Mark 46)

Juice from 1/2 pink grapefruit

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Rosemary Sprigs

Squeeze grapefruit into shaker,  add Bourbon, simple syrup and Rosemary. Add ice and shake to combine (this will release the flavors of the Rosemary). Pour over a tall collins glass filled with ice. Serve with a spring of fresh Rosemary for garnish.

Baker’s Brew

1 1/2 oz Baker’s Small Batch Bourbon

4-6 Blackberries

1 tsp Honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Muddle Blackberries, lemon and Honey in glass. Add ice and Bourbon. Stir to combine and garnish with a lemon wedge and 1-2 berries.

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