This is just disgusting and wrong

This cocktail, called “The Kraken” by its purveyors at the Whitehouse-Crawford restaurant in Walla Walla, WA, is one of the worst abominations I’ve ever seen.

The Kraken

Here’s the description by the restaurateurs:

spicy, dirty vodka martini with tentacles

In other words, they take an innocent little cephalopod and mercilessly plunk it into a so-called “martini” made with [shudder] vodka, instead of with gin as is right and proper.

Truly these are dark times in which we live. I weep for our species. With dry, delicious, juniper-scented tears.

Sent along by a regular whose name I won’t share because of the whole “outing by locality” issue. (But thanks, and feel free to ‘fess up in comments if you like.)


  1. John Morales says

    I’m not that keen on pickled octopus, I admit the floaties are a tad worrisome — but booze is booze.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What? Vodka not gin? Oops, I mean not grog? nevermind….

  3. remyporter says

    Vodka? That’s a Kangaroo, not a Martini. And you can’t put an octopus in a Kangaroo. That’s just not proper.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ah, gin. The spirit which had to wait centuries for its only worthy partner, tonic. A sad story.

  5. Ulysses says

    A classic martini is made by putting a splash of dry vermouth in a class and swirling it around to coat the glass. If making a dry martini dispose of any excess vermouth. Put two jiggers of gin in a cocktail shaker half full of ice and shake vigorously for about ten seconds. Pour gin into glass and garnish with a rinsed olive on a toothpick.

    A dirty martini has half a jigger of olive brine added to the gin in the shaker. I have no idea what a spicy martini is.

    Make mine a classic martini, hold the cephalopod.

  6. says

    Well, it’s Walla Walla, that hotbed of uncouth barbarity and savage onion-pickin’ brutality. What else would you expect?

  7. Ulysses says

    Don’t be knocking Walla Walla. I was a door-to-door salesman selling back-to-back tape for wall-to-wall carpeting in Walla Walla. But I had to give it up. Business was only so-so.

  8. reasonbe says

    In the old atmospheric testing days for nuclear devices, we would put a bottle of vermouth on top of the tower, detonate, and stand outside the control room with glasses of gin raised high to get just the right amount of vermouth. Even Utah detected vermouth in cow’s milk.

  9. A. R says

    I tend to either wave the glass in the general direction of Italy, or whisper “vermouth” to the gin.

  10. Andy Groves says

    If you want to drink a glass of neat gin, drink a glass of neat gin. That’s fine. Just don’t call it a Martini.

  11. Ulysses says

    I agree with Andy Groves. If you want gin then drink gin. But if you want a martini you need a small but detectable amount of vermouth. Otherwise it isn’t a martini.

  12. hamilton says

    Gin belongs in bathtubs. Vodka, nice potato-based vodka, needs some glorious vermouth and some olives…GOOD ones, thank you. The octopus is a nice, though in this case, superfluous touch.

  13. DLC says

    My father taught me to drizzle a bit of vermouth into a glass, swirl it around and then pour it out. it left a small amount of vermouth in the glass, to which one then added gin, which had been shaken in a shaker with crushed ice. Top it off with an olive or cocktail onion, and you’re ready to drink.

  14. yazikus says

    Not to mention that the city recently painted over a be beloved octopus (google Walla Walla purple octopus) mural downtown, after a few years of legal battle with a local toy shop. They came in the pre dawn hours with an out od town crew, and painted it a shitty brown color. I definitely think that WW might have a problem with Cephalopods.

  15. BinJabreel says

    No! Dear god, no! Don’t shake a gin martini! You only do that with shitty cheap gin, James Bomd can go fuck himself. Quality gin gets bruised in a shaker, they should ONLY be stirred.

    Though personally I prefer a manhattan.

  16. Dunc says

    Am I the only one who drinks an old-fashioned 2:1 martini? (With dry vermouth.)

    Anyway, surely a drink called “The Kraken” should involve the black rum of that name?

  17. thumper1990 says


    Yes! Especially since The Kraken is definitely the best spiced rum I’ve ever tasted.


    I agree, a good Manhattan kicks Martini’s arse. The only problem is, the bar I usually go to doesn’t use bitters! I had to instruct them in how to make it properly. But they know now, so I don’t even have to ask :) I just wave at the barman and he makes one how I like it. I like being a regular.

  18. thumper1990 says


    James Bond drinks Vodka Martinis. Come on, it’s like his second most famous line!

  19. walla2 says

    and here i was thinking i was the only one in town who thought of PZ when i saw this drink

  20. bytee says

    I’m an Australian and I can tell you that Walla Walla is full of foul-mouthed, sheep-shearing, hairy armpitted lager louts. And the men aren’t much better…..

  21. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    a so-called “martini” made with [shudder] vodka, instead of with gin as is right and proper.

    I hear ya.

  22. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    The only problem is, the bar I usually go to doesn’t use bitters!

    Then it is most assuredly not a Manhattan and they aren’t making true “cocktails”.

    The traditional definition of a cocktail is that it include at least bitters, liquor, sugar. This definition of course has been beaten and abused and has succumbed to the modern definition which is “a drink”. A Manhattan has to include bitters or is it just not a Manhattan.

    I hope they’ve started making Old Fashioneds with bitters there. I frequent a bar that has this same issue.
    That’s why I drink whisk(e)y neat or beer when I’m there. Well, truth is that’s pretty much what I drink most all the time.

    /drinking pedantry

  23. Andy Groves says

    I like a nice Manhattan….. but I’ll risk derailing the whole thread by bringing up Campari and declaring my fave cocktails to be the Negroni and the Boulevardier. Cephalopods on the side.

  24. jnorris says

    Vodka and no olive = blasphemy
    Churchill, I am told, liked a very dry martini: he sipped gin while looking at a bottle of dry vermouth.

  25. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I do love vodka. Gin reminds me, unpleasantly, of my grandmother. Not because my grandmother is unpleasant, but because she liked the scent of juniper. Also, juniper is nasty. I wouldn’t call it gin, but there is gin out there without the nasty addition of juniper. What is gin if not perfectly good alcohol ruined with nasty juniper?

    Anyhow, totes agree on the condition of that glass and the composition of that ‘martini’. I’d rather just drink gin.

  26. thumper1990 says


    A Manhattan has to include bitters or is it just not a Manhattan.

    My point exactly. But like I said, they’ve got it now, bless ’em.

    I was unaware that was the definition of cocktail. I thought it just had to contain more than one spirit.

    @Andy Groves

    I see your horrible overly bitter orangey aperetif and raise you rum! Rum based cocktails rock. As do whiskey cocktails. And gin based cocktails are quite nice too, especially when it’s hot.

    … Let’s face it, I just like alcohol.

    That said, I made a nice cocktail at home: two measures of amber rum (i.e. not white, not dark, and not spiced. I used Mount Gay Barbados rum), a capful of Cointreau, and a drop or two of vanilla essence (the proper stuff), stirred. It was very nice, if I do say so myself; with or without ice, though I liked it with.

  27. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m an Australian and I can tell you that Walla Walla is…

    You are confused, is what you are.

    a so-called “martini” made with [shudder] vodka, instead of with gin as is right and proper.

    Shee-it. That horse is so fucking far out of the barn that they already remodeled it for condos. The barn, I mean.
    Me, I agree with you. (But who gives a shit, since I prefer tonic with my gin and can’t abide olives in any situation. But who gives a shit about that either.)
    The Truth is that a nightmarish array of concoctions is dispensed under the appellation ‘martini’ these days. All colors of the rainbow, all flavors of the, uh, available flavors (tending toward the fruits). I have had the conversation with probably a half-dozen bartenders. Apparently all it takes to call it a ‘martini’ is that it consist only of liquor (no mixers) and it gets served in a particular glass (at, a few have admited, ridiculous markup).
    It’s sad but true, today’s yout’ know it as reality, and all you traditionalist cocktail pedants will have to deal with it, perhaps retreating to the stuffier mahogany and burgundy-velvet establishments that still care about the Proper way to do things and the barkeep wears a bowtie.

    This silly thread of opinions about proper mixology makes me think of Jim Backus leaving the controls of the plane he was piloting to demonstrate how to corectly muddle the sugar and bitters to make a “proper Old Fashioned”. It’s a Mad…World, I think?

  28. howardpeirce says

    If you asked me to make a cephalopod cocktail, and I hadn’t already seen this, I would’ve done an Asian fusion cocktail with shoju, plum wine, and squid salad garnish. I think that would taste better, although it would be a bit sweet. Serve it with dried, shredded squid and umeboshi as an appetizer.

  29. carbonbasedlifeform says

    I agree that a martini should be made with gin, not vodka. The phrase “vodka martini” is evidence of the existence of Satan. The octopus that is drowned in the martini has come to a fitting end, since octopodes are well known as the scum of the aquatic world. Drowning is too good for them.

    As for Walla Walla, remember that the original script for Star Wars has Obi-Wan Kenobi saying, “Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy; except for Walla Walla, Washington.” The last bit was removed as being too obvious.

  30. movablebooklady says

    Yay, gin. I’m a Gimlet gal and am sad at the number of bartenders I have to instruct on how to make it. One of the things I like about it is that there aren’t any extraneous bits floating around in it, such as olives or onions or tentacled beings

    Here’s a nice blog on resurgence of glorious gin:


  31. shoeguy says

    I’m all in on the G&T with a side of calamari. Same core ingredients, but a much more pleasant experience.