jess-virgin-drinkWhen I was 15… I mean 21 (unless the statute of limitations are up, in which case, I was indeed 15), I drank ¾ of a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps, got really sick and said, “I’m never drinking again!” I’ve been the designated driver ever since… which has made me enormously popular in high school.

Living in New York until I was 24, I experienced a lot of peer pressure to drink. People just couldn’t understand my disinterest in getting drunk. In fact, some people told me flat out that they felt uncomfortable drinking when I wasn’t and I stopped getting invited to parties.  You may be thinking, “But Jess, one drink wouldn’t get you drunk,” to which I’d reply, “You’ve never seen me on half a glass of wine. Trust me, I shouldn’t drink.”

I had a different reaction when I moved to Los Angeles.  When I told people I didn’t drink, instead of peer pressure, I would get two thumbs up, or a pat on the back, and in most cases an, “I support you.” Support me in what, I wondered. Until after a few weeks I realized they thought I was in AA. Hey, whatever keeps them off my back when I order water.

For many years, I lived among the California drinkers with no incident, and then I relocated to Florida. At this point I was well over the legal drinking age and the Floridians made the New Yorkers look polite! Drinking seemed to be a way of life in Florida and people got very upset with me when I refused an alcoholic beverage. I got lectured constantly! Then there were those who would try to muster a promise out of me that I would drink on a special occasion with them like their birthday or New Years… since when is me getting drunk a gift to someone?

I had a decision to make:

I could stop going out socially, for meals, to the beach, to dog park (no joke!), on a boat of any kind, or to the movies.


I could find a solution that would put everyone at ease.

The later seemed the logical decision, and so birthed the creation of my Dirty Virgin Martini. The recipe was simple for bartenders: water with a dash of olive brine and olives to garnish.  The bartender gets a tip and I “look like a party without a party in my glass.”

Not everyone likes the taste of olive juice and water, but lots of people liked my “look like a party without a party in your glass,” solution to the peer pressure they too were experiencing. And it wasn’t just the peer pressure. Many of my friends as they put it were “Getting too old for this,” and it was stressing them out. According to (originally published on “Yes, alcohol can relieve stress when consumed in limited amounts, for certain people in specific situations. In virtually all other cases, it makes stress worse. Here’s what’s really happening: Alcohol reliably reduces the body’s physiological stress response. But you may need to get drunk to get that benefit every time, so it’s… uh, not a good de-stressing strategy for the long run. Plus, alcohol isn’t metabolized like other foods and drinks. The amount of energy it takes to metabolize large doses of alcohol causes more stress to the body, even if you feel relaxed.

However, moderate doses of alcohol can also reduce stress… under the right circumstances… for some people. That last bit is important, because for other people it can cause stress, easing it momentarily even as it’s increasing chronic stress levels.”

I wanted to create a fun solution, so I met with a mixologist to create 19 more Dirty Virgin Drink recipes so my friends and I would be covered for brunch, weddings, Girls Night Out, and various adventures that tend to have “signature drinks.” Here are 10 FREE recipes for you!
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Dirty Virgin Drinks have not only changed my life, they’ve changed some of my friends’ lives and perhaps they’ll change yours. 

Here are some situations where you would normally feel the pressure to drink and my solution:

  1. You are at a baby shower and everyone is drinking pretty pink champagne filled drinks. The schedule on your iPhone makes it clear that from the moment you leave the shower you have to be on you’re A-game. Solution: You and the momma-to-be enjoy Dirty Virgin Kir Royales.
  2. It’s happy hour and the whole office is going to the upscale bar up the block to blow off some steam AKA get trashed. You have an early client meeting in the morning, but don’t want to seem like the office “stick-in-the-mud.” Solution: Ask for a Dirty Virgin Manhattan. You will look so chic and no one will know it’s non-alcoholic but you and the bartender who only charged you for a soda.
  3. There’s nothing better at a ski lodge than a mug of something hot with a “kick” unless you are the odd one out who doesn’t want a “kick.” Solution: For you, the Dirty Virgin Hot Toddy.
  4. Holiday brunch and everyone is getting blasted on Bloody Marys and you don’t want to look like a buzz kill with your freshly squeezed OJ. Solution: Dirty Virgin Bloody Mary. I actually consider this one a health drink when prepared correctly.
  5. Yay! A college friends reunion. It’s going to be a Sex in the City blast from the past, only you’re a mom who has to be home in two hours and can’t deal with a hangover in the morning. Solution: Dirty Virgin Cosmo… there’s a good chance all of your friends are drinking them because they read this blog too and also have a big day tomorrow.

I’d be happy to share my recipes with you, just ask. It’s fun to be a Dirty Virgin Girl! 

Join the movement to say yes to drinking Dirty Virgins!

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