Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | June 9, 2011

48 Ounces of Stupid

Via DCist I see that a DC bar just a couple blocks from me is now serving 48 ounce cocktails (three pounds a quart and a half of cocktail). The bar’s name, Dirty Martini, gives some indication about the sort of poor decision making their management makes. They describe this behemoth:

It’s said that everything is bigger in Texas. Not necessarily. In DC, we work hard, we play hard. We need big leisure time. For those intrepid cocktail lovers, Dirty Martini debuts the ‘Big Dirty,’ the largest cocktail in DC. This 48 ounces of any cocktail on the menu from the signature classic dirty Martini to concoctions like the refreshing A+A=T – Absolut Wild Tea, fresh lemon juice, honey, homemade pomegranate gomme, egg whites and lemon bitters or the ITIS – a smoky blending of Bulleit, homemade smoked peach puree, sweet vermouth, tabasco vanilla syrup and old fashioned smokehouse bitters.

I haven’t been to Dirty Martini, though it’s only a block away from my work. And this does not make me want to go for a first time. One of the biggest problems with ordering cocktails at most bars is the tendency to take drinks that should ideally served in 2 to 4 ounce servings and make 8-12 ounce versions of them. The Martini is a perfect example. It’s meant to be drunk icy cold and be a crisp drink. It’s not possible (or at least not healthy) to drink a 10 or 12 ounce Martini in the time before the cocktail becomes undesirably warm. Now think about trying to power through a 48 ounce Martini. Unless it’s served with straws and is envisioned like a Scorpion bowl-style drink for sharing, it’s just not possible. Odds are even the most aggressive drinkers will end up with at least 24 ounces of lukewarm Martini French vodka. To which I say: yuck.

Now I’d say if Dirty Martini was serving these three pound quart and a half cocktails in a punch bowl, with a solid block of ice to keep them cool, and lots of straws for sharing, there might be some merit to it. Kooky, but not absurd. But I don’t get the impression that this is the direction they’re going in. Instead it looks like they just want to serve some stupid big cocktails.



  1. I actually went in their for the first time earlier this week, and they had one of those on display.

    We asked the bartender about it and he said, “It is the stupidest idea ever!” He described it, and we all discussed how a regular martini gets too hot by the time you finish. I said the only way that thing would make sense was, as you described, as a party drink/favor for a bachelorette party, with 8-9 girls sipping on it out of straws.

    So luckily, the bartenders themselves see it is a cheap marketing gimick, and are not pushing it (though, if management had been in there that night, it likely would have been different)

  2. I agree. I personally wouldn’t order a cocktail that big.

  3. Sometimes the bigger is better attitude is not only classless, it’s downright stupid and dangerous.

  4. Thank you, thank you, for recognizing what a travesty this is. When we go to a bar we order one martini–not dirty–split into 2 glasses, not because we’re cheap but because that’s the size they should be. Maybe I need to revive my Jigger of Gin blog now that I know I’m not such a lone voice.

  5. 48 ounces of liquid isn’t three pounds – it’s a quart and a half. A measure of volume, not weight. Sheesh…

    • Oy. Good catch, I can’t believe I made that mistake. I’ll update the post now.

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