The dirty little secret behind the dirty little secret martinis

Dirty little secret martini/Wikimedia CommonsI have a dirty little secret. It’s so dirty I don’t even add commas between adjectives.

It starts out innocently enough. I poke around the fridge and come across a jar with a few floaty thingies and a bunch of brine. And I realize the fridge is full of jars with a few floaty thingies and a bunch of brine. And then I determine to do something about it.

“Honey, are you thirsty?”


“We have too many floaty thingies.”

Mr. Scatter gives me that look through his eyebrows. He mildly shakes his head.

“We have a problem here!” I get a little defensive. I’m a bit sensitive about My Issue and I’m looking for some sympathy. Mr. Scatter knows I have a dreadful disability. Making fun of such an acute condition is not humane.

I’ve been harboring this dirty little secret for a long time. It’s really weighing on me, and I know honesty is the first step to getting help. It’s time to finally come clean. To tell the world. To bare my soul. So, the truth of it is – well – I simply cannot throw out good brine.


Why should I when there are perfectly good dirty little secret martinis to make?

“We have only TWO olives left. That’s just pathetic. They can’t just sit here. We have to do something about it!”

“We have only TWO?” Mr. Scatter wrinkles his brow.

“Don’t worry, we have other floaty thingies.” I fetch the familiar geometric glasses from the built-in cabinet in the dining room. “But then, you know I’m going to have to do something about all that brine.”

Mr. Scatter grins. I’m already reaching for the extra long toothpicks.


A not so dirty little secret: Portland Opera is having a martini contest! They’re my marketing heroes.

The Portland Opera Studio Artists are performing Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, which is set in the martini-loving 1950s, and two Monteverdi one-acts. The opera is giving away a pair of tickets for opening night, March 26. What do you have to do to enter the drawing? Have a drink and snap a pic. It’s almost that easy. Follow these instructions on the opera’s Facebook site:

Change your profile picture to one of you drinking a cocktail, then make a comment to this note. If your martini has an umbrella in it, your name will be entered twice to the drawing!

You can also send a pic to Contest ends 3 p.m. Friday, March 19.

You, too, could be added to the Tahiti Tiki Party Album.

Full disclosure: Third Angle New Music Ensemble is the backup band for this gig, gut strings and all. I have a day job with Third Angle. You could say I’m shamelessly promoting my peeps. You could also say I’m shamelessly promoting alcohol, but that would be a lie. I’m all about the salt and vinegar.


Through the help of a supportive husband and a 12-step program, I’m recovering slowly. I know I will always be a brine hoarder, but I’m getting better. Sometimes when I’m feeling really brave and a little sneaky, I leave a present on the kitchen counter and wait patiently for Mr. Scatter to discover it. I wipe down the stove, taking a long slow time. I refill the salt shaker. And I wait. Eventually, Mr. Scatter meanders in.

He gasps. His jaw falls to his knees. His eyes get really big. He looks at me in wonder.

And then, without saying anything, he swings open the fridge and peers in. It has big wide spaces.

He looks back at me. He looks back at the counter. Nearly a dozen empty canning jars are lined up in a row.

Mr. Scatter finally recovers from his gobsmackedness. “Whadja do with the brine?”

I smile, more than a little proud. “I combined some and tossed the rest.”

“What are we going to add to our drinks now?”

“We still have several quarts in the fridge.”