Friday Cocktails: The Classic Dirty Martini

dirty martini

There are some things in this life that just make me so happy. An expertly made dirty martini is one of them.

For those who don’t know, a dirty martini is one in which olive brine has been added. It gives it a salty flavor that can’t be beat. My husband hates olives. which I find so hard to understand. He likes capers, so I feel like eventually, like maybe when he’s 50, he might suddenly realize he actually likes olives too? This is psychological thing that probably isn’t worth pursuing.

Some people shake their martinis, some stir them. Some (like me) order them “extra dirty” which means lots of olive brine. You can make them with gin or vodka (I prefer Tito’s vodka). At any rate, I don’t think I’ve met a dirty martini I didn’t like. They are very simple to make, but quite elegant. If you want to knock the socks off of someone, make them a martini. They will marvel at your sophistication.

Another thing about a simple martini is that it’s free of added sugars. A lot of cocktails have simple syrup or liqueurs which are so tasty and I love them, but they have lots of sugar. If you are trying to cut back on your sugar consumption (which, frankly, is a good idea for just about everyone), then a martini is a really good bet. If you hate olives, you can also just order a vodka or gin martini “with a twist” which means it comes with a twist of lemon rather than olives. You can also order them with onions! It’s like a snack in a glass.

Here’s your basic recipe. It’s already perfection so I don’t recommend messing with it.



  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces vodka (I like Tito’s) or gin (I like Prairie Organic)
  • 2 teaspoons olive brine (4 to 5 teaspoons for extra dirty)
  • Splash of dry vermouth
  • Green olives (you can use blue cheese olives if you’d like)


Add vermouth to cocktail shaker first. Swirl to coat the inside. Fill the shaker with ice. Add vodka and olive brine; shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lots of olives. ENJOY!

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Friday Cocktails! The Pomegranate Moscow Mule

Can we talk? It’s Friday, but it feels like three days ago should have been Friday. You know? There is 11″ of snow in the forecast and Saturday morning’s wind chill is supposed to be -35. MINUS THIRTY FIVE DEGREES. Let that sink in. I’ll wait.

Tonight, though, is family movie night. Kevin McCallister will be brilliantly foiling the Wet Bandits at every turn as they repeatedly try to break into his house. Meanwhile, his family tries (and except for his mom, they are not trying that hard, if we are being honest) to reunite with him back in the suburbs of Chicago.

There will likely be Thai takeout and decorating of gingerbread cookies and my grandma’s Chex Mix.

And then there will be a cocktail. It’s Friday night after all. A simple glass of red isn’t going to cut it.

Fun background note: Recently my friend Mimi and I were playing paddle (It’s like a shorter game of tennis/raquetball played outside in the winter) and I commented that she had a crazy good return shot that I dubbed “The Mimi Zinger”. Then we decided that sounded like the perfect name for a cocktail. I told her I would come up with a cocktail named after her and she requested it have pomegranate juice in it. I think this is a good fit.

If I can get to the store in the blizzard that I will buy the ingredients for this twist on a Moscow Mule (which is one of my all time favorite cocktails. I even have the copper mugs). Then we will settle in and hunker down until tomorrow morning.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule (i.e.: The Mimi Zinger)


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. pomegranate juice UPDATE: a bottle of pure pomegranate juice cost $11 at Whole Foods so I bought cranberry pomegranate blend for $4 and it was delicious!
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 c. ice
  • ginger beer


  1. In a cocktail glass stir together vodka, pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, tbsp. lime juice, honey, and ice.
  2. Top off with ginger beer (I like Reed’s, which I buy at Whole Foods)

*Adapted from a recipe retrieved from

Have a favorite cocktail recipe to share with me? Please leave it in the comments!

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Friday Night Cocktails! Tonight: The Moscow Mule

moscow mule

I think I’ll start featuring a new cocktail or mixer recipe each Friday to celebrate the end of a busy week.  I love trying new flavor combinations and recipes, so I will share them with you and we can have a digital cocktail party together 🙂

The Moscow Mule is hands down my favorite go-to cocktail, especially when the weather turns cold.  The concoction of vodka, ginger ale (or my preference, ginger beer) and lime juice is easy to make at home.  The spiciness of the ginger is hearty and warming.  And I like to believe the fresh lime juice gives me the Vitamin C I need to keep my immune system strong during cold and flu season.  Shhhh.  Don’t say it.  My favorite vodka is a local brand called Prairie Organic.  I keep it in my freezer so it’s always cold.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I first learned of the Moscow Mule by watching Oprah’s camping adventure with her best friend Gayle.  Apparently the Moscow Mule is a traditional camping drink, although the origins of the name are disputed.  Well anyway, thanks Oprah for introducing me to my favorite cocktail!

Here’s the recipe.  Traditionally the Moscow Mule is served in a copper mug but any glass will do.

4 oz Ginger beer (my favorite is Reed’s.  It’s the real deal)
1 1/2 oz Vodka (I use Prairie Organic because it’s local and has won awards!)
Juice from 1/2 lime
Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice.

Weekend Cocktails–the Blueberry Balsamic Liqueur is ready! 

I pulled out the Blueberry Balsamic Liqueur that’s been brewing/marinating/getting delicious in my cabinet for the last week. The directions said it should smell strongly of blueberries. And it did. So, I strained it through a mesh sieve and promptly tasted a bit. It was heavenly. I patiently waited until evening to settle in with a proper cocktail. A bit of the liqueur and some tonic with a few fresh blueberries thrown in for health reasons (antioxidants).

The verdict is that it’s totally fresh and delicious and would taste amazing in mojitos, lemonade, or with simple club soda and muddled oranges. Click the link above for the recipe!


Weekend Cocktails –Blueberry Balsamic Liqueur 


Last year for my birthday my good friend Angie gave me a cocktail “cookbook” called Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits. She knows me so well. I love a good cocktail. You know, antioxidants and resveratrol and all.  I had a lot of free time today with my 10 year old being in camp and so I decided to try my hand at the Blueberry Balsamic Liqueur.  What I love about making my own is that I know exactly what’s going in there.  Did you know that liquors aren’t required to have labels with their ingredients or any nutritional information?  They can put whatever they want in there and you wouldn’t know.  So, sometimes it’s nice to make your own.  I have more blueberries than I can handle right now (see my previous post about my kiddo going on a produce strike) so the Blueberry Liqueur seemed like a great choice.  The following recipe is inspired from the original in the book.  You take the blueberries, muddle them with the simple syrup, and then add in the vodka, wine and balsamic.  Put the lid on it, store it in a cool dark cabinet for a week, and when you take it back out, strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean container. Seal it up, store in a cool dark cabinet, and use within 1 year (if it lasts that long).

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries OR 1.5 lbs. frozen blueberries, thawed
  •  2 cups simple syrup (2 cups sugar stirred together with 2 cups water in a sauce pan over medium high heat, brought to a boil and then let to cool)
  • 2 1/4 cups vodka (I absolutely love Prairie Organic Vodka made right here in Minnesota)
  • 1 cup fruity red wine like Merlot or Cabernet
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar