Army Staff Meetings and their Corresponding Cocktails

We’ve all been there. It’s 1700 on a Friday and you’re still stuck in a meeting that began at 1300, and the S-3 still has twenty more slides to brief. What you could really use right now is a good stiff drink. Your mind wanders off to consider your options, as the monotonous drone of the Good Idea Fairy buzzes on in the background.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. In fact, there are even cocktails that are paired for each type of staff meeting. After a scientific* study, here are the results. Stock your Camelbak accordingly.

*No science was used in this study.

Commander’s Update Brief – Bloody Mary 

Depending on your command, this might be the meeting that kicks off the day and lets you know what you’re in for. As sure as the commander is going to find something in the current ops slide that will create more work for you, this vodka and tomato juice combo will be get life flowing in your veins. The Tabasco sauce might make your eyes water if you are weak of heart, but your excuse can always be that the slide transitions were so beautiful that they moved you to tears. As an added bonus, you can use the vodka-soaked celery stick as a pointer if you have to brief the boss. Chin up, the day is better already.

Training Meeting – French 75

Training meetings are a marathon, not a sprint. As you listen to the executive officer argue with the S-4, take heart knowing that this drink’s namesake was the 75mm field gun, the warhorse of the French army from 1914-1918 during World War I. If that’s not a marathon, I don’t know what is. You can use this liquid courage to take people to task when they insist that mandatory training comes before mission essential training. If necessary, steal their copy of Army Regulation 350-1 and beat them with it. The French 75 will make sure that you won’t remember it for your 15-6 investigation later.

In other words, fire for effect.

Command and Staff Call – Old Fashioned

Ah, command and staff. So formal. Much importance. Very long. When you sip your bourbon-based deliciousness, you will feel all the old sentimentality of the old garrison Army coming back to you. You may even feel classy. Regardless, it will ensure a feeling of benevolent resolve as commanders harangue your boss for not reigning in his or her staff officers. If you’re lucky, you may even get lulled off to sleep with this drink’s loving embrace. Just remember to wear your dark eyepro; all bets are off if someone with a sharpie catches you sleeping.

Maintenance Meeting – Dirty Martini

There’s nothing fun about maintenance meetings, unless you really like reading down a list of things that are broken that you have no spare parts for. Luckily, unless you are a company executive officer or got tagged to be the unlucky one in the S-4 who attends these meetings, you may miss out on these all together. However, if you do end up staring at the battalion executive officer down a long table wondering what life choices you made that brought you to this point, here’s your salvation. The martini is a classy drink, and a dirty martini is what classy maintainers drink. The salty taste will keep you focused on the long lines of text on the O26 report in front of you. And if you get too annoyed with someone, the olive serves as a good long range projectile.

Shift Change – Margarita

Tequila is said to make people’s clothes fall off, but in this case, try to keep them on. This is for those who are coming off shift, and the joy in being able to dump all of your problems into someone else’s lap and get the hell out of the operations center calls for a celebration. The margarita is definitely a celebration, and is sure to leave you giddy as you rattle off the long list of things that are no longer your concern to the new shift leader. Hopefully you can still find your way back to your billets without trying to accost random strangers by singing them showtunes.

Military Decision Making Process Course of Action Brief – Gin and Tonic

Ah, MDMP, how do we love to hate you. There’s nothing like the smell of a good course of action brief in the morning…it smells like….alcohol? Yes, that’s right, if you’ve got to brief a course of action to the boss, it would be best if you were imbibing with some liquid courage. A gin and tonic is light enough that it won’t feel like you’re getting tipsy, and since it is clear colored it will just look like water. So when the operations sergeant major says something like “hydrate or die,” flash him a wink and down the whole thing. You’ll feel great, I promise.

Incidentally, the G&T is the author’s go-to drink for domestic contingency operations.*

*Real life.

Operations Synchronization – Long Island Iced Tea

This last one is for those poor few, those unhappy few, those bastards stuck in S-3 operations. We raise our glasses to you, you poor souls, who wander the halls of the operations center like blind mice in a maze. For you, the operations sync meeting is a small piece of Dante’s Inferno all rolled up into a Kafka-esque nightmare. Therefore, you’re going to need the drink with the most alcohol in it per square liter. And for that, we turn to none other than the long island iced tea. The staple of drunk white people everywhere, two stiff long islands at the beginning of an ops sync act like anesthesia before a major surgery: you won’t remember a thing. 

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