Martinis: Classy, Yet Thrifty!

Want more bang for your buck at the bar? Take a cue from James Bond and order a martini. Alcohol-to-price, it’s the best value out there. Gin, dirty, up, with olives for me, please. Mmmm. (Photo: boyghost)


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  1. Vanilla5 says:

    Good timing on the Friday, Ben. :-)

  2. cynical_bastard says:

    I’ve always been a fan of the Manhattan…

  3. philmin says:

    I’ve always thought this… and people still complain about martini prices at 8 or 9 bucks. Its usually the equivalent of 2.5 to 4 shots, great deal.

  4. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Mmm. Dirty gin martini, very dry with olives. I may need one o’ those later!

  5. youbastid says:

    It depends on the bar, really. Some place’s martinis are just as small as their shots, and some places pour shots as big as martinis.
    My rule of thumb is, when I find a place where martinis are like $12, I’ll go with beer, which at a place like that is usually $6. I’d rather have 2 beers than 1 martini.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @youbastid: my rule of thumb is, drink the martini first & then i won’t have any trouble paying $6 for a beer. or the next one. or the second $12 martini. or the subsequent whiskey shots. or the…

  6. CyGuy says:

    A Bombay Sapphire Martini (dirty, 3+ olives, up) is always my first choice when someone else is buying at bar. Nurse that for about a half hour, and often I don’t need another drink. Plus it obviates the need to find a drinkable beer which most bars don’t feel are necessary to stock (Dofish Head anyone?).

    However, if I’m hungry I’ll sometimes go for a Bloody Mary as it has a little food value than just olives.

  7. menty666 says:

    I’ll usually go with a glass of red wine. It’s easier to taste if they’ve watered it down and the price of a single glass of the house red isn’t generally that bad.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @menty666: I’ve never heard of watering down a red wine (although cheaping out is fairly common). You’d be able to detect this instantly.

  8. jmhart says:

    For the thrifty ladies, I recommend a Black Russian…either they short you on vodka and give you more Kahlua, or they short you on Kahlua and give you more vodka……that’s a winnder every time.

  9. Darrone says:

    Think this outpaces a Long Island? Thats 4-5 shots and its usually cheaper than a martini (also, a bit less effeminate)

    • p322401 says:


      if im going for drink efficiency it will always be an AMF


    • lannister80 says:

      @Darrone: There’s nothing effeminate about a big bad-ass martini. So long as it’s not some fruity/chocolatey abortion of a martini, which should be called something else so as not to sully the name of true martinis.

    • johnva says:

      @Darrone: It’s also a drink that most people don’t drink after their early 20’s. And martinis are not “effeminate”.

    • selianth says:

      @Darrone: I’ve seen several of the chain restaurant bars (Chili’s, Friday’s, etc… don’t judge me) pre-mix their Long Island Iced Teas with the liquor and sour mix and everything, and then just add a little bit of coke on the top. You probably end up getting a lot less liquor that way.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @Darrone: Your bartender will be much less likely to keep you on the 86 short list if you order a martini. Every bartender I know (including this one, when I bartended for a living) is frightened by patrons who order LI teas.

  10. nakedscience says:

    Or, just go to a dive bar where strong Jack & coke’s are $3.50 each. Or, rather, Jack with a splash of coke.

    I am a whiskey kinda gal. Vodka is disgusting and tastes like rubbing alcohol, even super expensive vodka (which I have tasted). Gross.

    Give me something with flavor, any day! I prefer Knob Creek, but Jack or Jim is a nice, cheap alternative with soda.

    • drftjgoj says:


      exactly. i’ll take an old fashioned or manhattan any day. they have to have around the same booze/bucks ratio as a martini, but without the lame glass.

  11. nakedscience says:

    Oh, I meant Gin. Gin is nasty too.

  12. Maurs says:

    Long Island ice teas are less effeminate than a martini? Seriously? I’m going to have to go ahead and dispute that. Besides being the drink of choice of manly men like James Bond, it also has going for it the fact that it is not a mixed drink called a Long Island ice tea. Of course, this only applies to actual martinis – any drink with “-ini” in the name that is not gin and white vermouth is probably not very manly, with the possible exception of vodka.

  13. nakedscience says:

    So James Bond is effeminate, Darrone?

  14. AlexTNOA says:

    Same thing goes for up Manhattans, and I far prefer bourbon with a dash of sweet vermouth to what amounts to straight vodka. Olives = ick.

  15. edwardso says:

    @cyguy: I second the bloody mary with absolut peppar and extra horseradish, after two with extra olives i usually don’t feel like ordering bar food (after 3 I start a fight with the husband)

  16. philmin says:

    Just because I see random “replies” scattered in this post, Ill ask: Are many people no longer able to reply within a post? I cant.

    • johnva says:

      @philmin: There have been bugs in this website for ages that seemingly randomly disconnect replies from the posts that they were replying to.

  17. vildechaia says:

    All well and good – who doesn’t like a martini? BUT, if you go to Sole Mio restaurant in downtown Nashville, and you want a martini on the rocks, they’ll charge you $2 extra for the ice cubes! Needless to say, we now order them straight up – at least it looks like you get more vodka that way, and it doesn’t get all diluted.

  18. camman68 says:

    I just moved to a small farm town. (pop 821). There are 3 bars hers.

    Nightly Special from 7-10:

    2-Domestic Bottles for $3.00
    2-Well Drinks $3.00
    2-Jack & Coke (or Tanq & Tonic)- $4.00
    They have a great selection and they also have a liquor store next door – just in case.

    I’ve drank more in the past 3 months than I did in the past 5 years.

  19. RodAox says:

    Pregame a tad at home, get your ass to a bar and drink 1 or 2 of whatever, compared to drinking crappy drinks at a bar to save money is dumb when you can drink whatever you like at home and enjoy the perfect drink afterward while socializing…..

  20. sarabadara says:

    I make my martinis with vodka and Godiva white chocolate liquor. When I’m not in the mood for sweets, it’s Bloody Marys for me. I cannot wait to have this baby. It’ll be just in time for the summer brews, too…

  21. jcargill says:

    Just bring a flask of vodka and you can drink the same martini all night long. My uncle, who was a priest living on a vow of poverty, did this when he was invited out for drinks.

    Why am I typing this? Every post gets deleted. Crap, I am talking to myself in a blog post.

  22. rpm773 says:

    I was at a bar in Wrigleyville once and was ordered a gin martini. The greenhorn bartender made it with sweetened vermouth and served it in a 12 ounce plastic cup with ice.

    It was a rough one.

  23. MeOhMy says:

    Really any of the classics “all (or mostly) booze” cocktail should work – Martini/Gibson, Manhattan/Rob Roy, Negroni, Old Fashioned, Sidecar…they are probably not listed as on the frou-frou drink menu so they are usually in the same price class as other non-specialty cocktails and they are still all liquor with very little other mixers.

    And most of them are really tasty. There’s a reason people have been mixing these up for as long as they have been…some of these cocktails can be traced back over 100 years.

  24. merekat says:

    Two of my favorite poems ever:

    A Drink With Something In It by Ogden Nash

    There is something about a Martini,
    A tingle remarkably pleasant;
    A yellow, a mellow Martini;
    I wish I had one at present.
    There is something about a Martini,
    Ere the dining and dancing begin,
    And to tell you the truth,
    It is not the vermouth–
    I think that perhaps it’s the gin.

    I like to have a martini,
    Two at the very most.
    After three I’m under the table,
    after four I’m under my host.
    — Dorothy Parker

  25. failurate says:

    I like ordering martinis at bars that don’t usually serve them. Usually get some gigantic martini glass, six or so ounce of gin and vermouth all for around $5.

  26. emona says:

    I used to order gin on the rocks, now I order a gin martini dry with a lime dropped in. More liquor at a better price!

  27. TGT says:

    I like to order my martinis with a little pop culture.

    Gin martini, dirtier than Betty Paige and dryer than Oscar Wilde.

  28. tripnman says:

    Went on a blind date once. She arrived first and had ordered her drink before I got there. When I sat down and ordered a Grey Goose martini, up, dirty – she grinned. It was the exact same thing she was drinking. I told her that I like my martinis the same way I like my women – just a little dirty.

    We’re married now.

  29. wallspray says:

    This article sucks… It’s only 10:21 am and I already want a drink.

  30. 44 in a Row says:

    Tanqueray martini, up, with a twist. Works every time.

  31. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    I’m so having one of these when I get home tonight.

    BTW try the gin, vodka 50/50 split, heaven, just heaven.

    /AA Meeting tomorrow.

  32. Chairman-Meow says:

    Since my spousal unit hates gin with a white-hot passion, its Vodka Martinis for the FTE home base.

    We keep the Vodka in the freezer at all times. When you make your Martini, its nice-n’-frosty. Drop in a whisper of Dry Vermouth, 3 Olives, and/or 2 Pearl Onions and you will be living large!

  33. nakedscience says:

    Yes, James Bond is make believe, 5h17h34d, I am not a moron. He still drinks martinis. And he’s not effeminate.

  34. hairyseaword says:

    Whisky + Glass + Mouth = Efficient, effective.

  35. bovinekid says:

    Until I read this thread, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a martini or a Manhattan that was not “up.” It seems redundant to me.

  36. cozynite says:

    It’s a damn good thing I work at a martini bar. I hope all of my patrons see this!

  37. RandomHookup says:

    Dang. I was hoping Meghan had written this post cause I was going to send her over a drink.

  38. heltoupee says:

    First, Bond drank _vodka_ martinis (a crime against nature if ever there was one).

    Second, knowing the history and origins of gin, this comes as absolutely no surprise. Gin was originally distilled from grain that was of too low quality to brew beer from. It became infamous as a drink of the poor class around the turn of the century or slightly before as many ‘Gin Joints’ cropped up to meet the demand of the poverty stricken. For awhile, in fact, you didn’t have to have any sort of license to distill gin, but you did have to have one to brew beer. Thus, the price became very cheap, the quality became very poor, and gin’s reputation was cemented. Phrases such as ‘gin joint’ and ‘gin-soaked’ were coined. After awhile, it’s popularity declined.

    Things have changed nowadays, and beer is the new curse of the working class, but gin remains quite cheap to produce, and gives quite a kick for your buck.

    • SexCpotatoes says:

      @heltoupee: I remember reading a book about alcohol (it’s chemical makeup, history of, etc) and it covered the english gin explosion. People were literally piled on the street outside of bars passed out drunk on Sunday mornings. It was so bad that the church-goers had to walk through the garbage and poo filled gutters to get around the piles of comatose humanity. Thus began the social backlash against gin. I think you used to be able to get like, a pint glass of gin for a half-penny.

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    The only downside to this plan is that it requires you to drink gin. (the 17th century’s crack)

  40. TheSurlyOne says:

    Regardless what the pursists say, gin martinis aren’t nearly as good as a vodka martini! And don’t waste any space with those olives!

  41. Charlene McBride says:

    A martini made with vodka is not a martini.

  42. MylesMDT says:

    Manhattans beat a Martini any day.

    To whoever thought a Long Island Iced Tea was not effeminate: I have been a bartender for 15+ years. LITs are the mark of an amateur or a frat boy. 2 1/2 oz of liquor in an LIT. 2 or 3 oz. (depending on the glass) in a Martini or Manhattan.

    To the person complaining about “paying for the ice:” Most computer POS systems will ring in a “double” or 2oz. pour as a “Rocks” pour. It’s not the ice they’re charging you for, it’s the double shot of liquor. Or you could pay the base price, twice, if the bartender doesn’t like you.

  43. John Gough says:

    I hear ya. Bourbon good. Anything good enough for James Bond’s new boss is good enough for me.

  44. John Gough says:

    @nakedscience: I hear ya. Bourbon good. Anything good enough for James Bond’s new boss is good enough for me.