Quarantini – Surviving a Pandemic On the Road

Barra de Navidad, Mexico

We were in Cancun, Mexico, when we, like the rest of the world, were ordered to stay en la casa (indoors).

At first, we thought, “Wow!  What a great opportunity to be productive!” We envisioned  John snapping and crafting perfect National Geographic photos, while I was writing the great American novel and drawing a flawless comic strip worthy of syndication. We, like the rest of the world, thought that the pandemic would last only a few weeks and welcomed the short-lived quarantine conditions that would make us be disciplined and time management ninjas. Wishful thinking, huh?

Now, many weeks later (I’ve lost track of time—is it still 2020?), we are over our grandiose projections of productivity. Our outdoor adventures have been put on hold since everything is closed. We consider it a great day when we both brush our teeth, comb our hair (well, me), make the bed, shower, eat something, and spend most of the day not reading the news.

I cope with it all by run/walking each day and watching Jeopardy. John swims, rides his bike, practices Spanish, and most evenings, rewards himself with a cocktail before dinner. His drink of choice is the vodka martini.

So rather than make you do doom scrolling with information about the virus, distancing, travel restrictions, etc., we thought we’d enlighten you about what many people (John included) consider the to be perfect mixed drink, the Martini, better known in lockdown lingo as the “Quarantini.”


n. quar·an·tin·I   (kwôr′ən-tēn-nē)
A strong alcoholic beverage that is made when people are quarantined, or otherwise locked up or trapped in a location for an extended period of time. Partaking of a quarantini is always done alone.


The Murky History of America’s Favorite Cocktail

Actually no one really knows who invented the Martini. But one prevalent belief is that it came to being in Martinez, California during the mid-1800s Gold Rush. The story suggests that a miner struck it rich and decided to celebrate his good fortune in a local bar. He requested champagne, which they didn’t have, so the bartender concocted a drink from the spirits he had available: gin, vermouth, bitters, maraschino liqueur, and a slice of lemon. Thus, the “Martinez Special” was born. Miners began requesting it all over California and it’s popularity grew so that the recipe was published in the Bartender’s Manual of the 1880s.

Others believe that it originated in New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel. And still others assert that the drink was named after “Martini & Rossi” vermouth, which was created in the mid-1800s. Later, for the sake of brevity (or after having belted a few down) the drink was called “Martini.”

The popularity of the Martini grew, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, when the “three martini lunch” became the norm for business executives. (think Don Draper) Societal norms changed and the daytime drinking of the Mad Men era became to taboo. Today the icy concoction is consumed primarily in the evening hours…at least during the week!

Martini Facts to Impress Your Friends

  • The long-stemmed martini glass was invented to prevent the heat of your hand from muting the drink’s flavor and making it go flat.
  • Even though many, like James Bond and John, like their martinis shaken, it is generally believed that stirring blends the contents better.
  • June 19th is National Martini Day
  • The cone shape of a martini glass keeps the ingredients from separating, plus it looks cool.
  • Less vermouth or more olive juice makes a martini dryer.

The Drink of the Rich and Famous

JAMES BOND: “Shaken, not stirred.”

Everyone knows that the martini is a James Bond staple. In fact, when Ian Fleming produced his series of 007 stories, it boosted the drink’s popularity through the roof.

HOMER SIMPSON: “He knows just how I like my martini – full of alcohol.”

Along with Duff beer, Homer has a soft spot for a good martini.

WINSTON CHURCHILL: “The only way to make a martini is with ice-cold gin, and a bow in the direction of France.”

Though his favorite was whisky, Churchill loved a good martini made with a glass full of ice cold gin.

 DOROTHY PARKER“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.”

This popular quote from one of America’s wittiest bards nails it for any martini lover.

HUMPHREY BOGART: “I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.”

Humphrey Bogart’s love of booze was well known and this quote made him one of the most well-known martini drinkers.

Franklin Roosevelt: “Before dinner, we usually had martini cocktails made by the president’s own hands.”

Isn’t he the president that repealed prohibition?

FRANK SINATRA: “Let me fix you a martini that’s pure magic.”

It’s no secret that Frank Sinatra liked to drink, especially martinis.

JACKIE GLEASON: “A man must defend his home, his wife, his children, and his martini.”

Jackie Gleason was well known for his love of booze. “To the moon, Alice!”

GEORGE BURNS: “I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini.”

The American actor and comedian lived a lifestyle full of booze, cigars and pretty girls. He was rumoured to wake up at 4.30pm – after his afternoon nap – drink two martinis, and then go to dinner. Oh, he lived to be 100, too.

RODNEY DANGERFIELD: “I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.”

Even though he ” got no respect” he loved a good “extra dry” martini.

Did you hear the one about…

Giggles or groans?

What did the bartender say after Charles Dickens ordered a martini?
“Olive or twist?”

Where are the best martinis served?
In the Gulp of Mexico!

What doesn’t kill me, makes my martinis stronger.


Dear Martini, Olive you.


And finally…

A snake slithers into a bar

The snake winds it way up to the counter, coils its loops over the bar stool, and orders a double martini. The bartender places it before the snake, who extends a scaly coil, only to knock the drink off and dash it to pieces on the floor.

With deliberate patience, the bartender pours a second martini for the reptilian patron. Once again, the snake is only able to shatter the glass and waste the alcohol.

Growing frustrated and impatient, the bartender slams another glass in front of the snake, only to see it slip once again through the slithering coils.

“That’s it, I’ve had enough,” the bartender cries. “You’re not welcome in here if you can’t hold your liquor!”

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” — Voltaire

We believe that a good joke (no matter how corny) can heal a lot of hurts. We hope we have lifted your “spirits” a bit with this discourse. We wish you abundant happiness, good health, and the bountiful joy that only a great martini can provide.

So we lift our “spirits” to you dear readers and say:

Cheers!  Salud!  Skoal!



  1. Place your glasses in the freezer to chill or fill them with ice. Everything should be very, very cold, including your gin, vodka, and vermouth.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice.  I like to use a metal shaker.
  3. Add 2 or 3 ounces of vodka to the shaker, then a splash of vermouth (I like mine extra dry), an olive or 2 and, a splash of olive brine. This Quarantini will be slightly “dirty.”
  4. Allow the ingredients to meld with the ice for a few minutes. Gently rotate the shaker and listen to the soothing tinkling of the ice. Anticipation builds.
  5. NOW COMES THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Shake the shaker until it’s so cold you can barely hold it. Your hands should actually hurt a bit. That’s right, making a perfect quarantine involves some pain. If you really want to push it, wrap the shaker in a towel and go at it until the cold gets through the towel. In any case, keep a towel handy to enable you to hold the shaker when you pour the cocktail. No matter what, don’t stir! And don’t even worry about “bruising” the cocktail. Go ahead, shake the crap out of it. It’s okay to make a disturbing shaker noise. In our house we do a little hip wiggle while shaking. It’s our martini happy dance at happy hour.
  6. Allow the cocktail to rest for a few seconds before straining. Then pour it into the glass, with circular motion. You should have a thin, sheen of ice of the surface of the drink.
  7. Drink. After a few sips, eat the first olive, which will now be Quarantini flavored. You can add another olive at this time, if you like. Repeat until the drink is finished.

Each sip of this Quarantini should deliver a range of flavors and, because you were so committed to shaking,  a smooth mix of the vodka (or gin) and vermouth. You may also get a bit of nutrition from the olives.

This will also be the coldest Martini you have ever drunk. And it should remain cold. If you’re a slow sipper, in a warm climate, add an ice cube to keep the drink chilled. (I learned this from Martha Stewart.)

And if you want to skip the olive brine, be my guest. But to make a true Barefoot Diary Quarantini, the olives are a must.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.” — A.A. Milne


Story Categories:

2020,House Sitting,Mexico

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5 Responses

  1. Like John im an avid vodka martini fan, usually done as Described above. I prefer original potatoe vodka vs grain vodka.
    You have a typo in paragragh 7, last line should Repeat until bottle is finished! Lol

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