What Is A Dirty Martini
A dirty martini is a regular martini that is made dirty with the addition of olive brine. While most dirty martini recipes call for a little brine and some Vermouth, we opt to take out the Vermouth and add in more brine. The result is a very cold and flavorful cocktail that olive lovers will fall head over heels for.
What Olives To Use For A Dirty Martini
Good-quality briny, salty, green olives are your best bet for a dirty martini. Try green Cerignolas, Sevillanos, or even Castelvetranos for a sweeter taste. After that, it’s up to you. We prefer ours on the larger side and pitted, but this is a matter of taste.
We have also been known to use stuffed olives in a dirty martini when we’re feeling a little extra filthy. Garlic, anchovies, and blue cheese all work well if you like them. When we use stuffed olives, we don’t use their brine, which can be murky. Instead, we use a cleaner brine from a bottle, or from different olives.
How To Make A Gin Martini
This article was co-authored by Kady Richardson. Kady Richardson is a mixologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kady has completed the Comprehensive Bartending Training Program at The Cocktail Camp in San Francisco and specializes in creating approachable, at-home recipes for cocktails. Kady holds a BA in American Studies and an MA in Sociology from Stanford University.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 54,694 times.
A gin martini is a cocktail made up of gin and dry vermouth, which is sometimes garnished with lemon twists, olives, or even cocktail onions, and is considered by some to be the only acceptable type of martini.XResearch source By following a few basic instructions you can mix up the classic version of the drink. If you like you can make a few variations to make the perfect drink for you.
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The History Of The Dirty Martini
We always love the slightly suspect histories surrounding classic cocktails, and the martini is no exception. There are several theories about the origin of this drink . It may have been invented:
- In Martinez, California, during the Gold Rush, when a miner struck gold and requested Champagne at his local bar to celebrate. The bartender didn’t have Champagne and instead invented a cocktail containing gin, vermouth, bitters, maraschino liqueur, and a slice of lemon The Martinez Special. The miner loved the drink enough to order it again in San Francisco, thereby spreading the word. Over time, the drink lost its sweet elements.
- In San Francisco, when a miner requested a drink on his way to Martinez, CA.
- At New Yorks Knickerbocker Hotel.
- In honor of Martini & Rossi vermouth.
Regardless of its precise origins, we know that the martini has been around since the mid-1800s, and that it’s still hard to beat.
As for who put the dirty in dirty martini, word has it that a New York bartender named John O’Connor started muddling the olive garnish into a martini circa 1901, and that muddled olive was eventually replaced with a splash of olive brine.
Olive Garnish For A Dirty Martini
The classic garnish for dirty martinis are either unstuffed Spanish olives or blue cheese stuffed olives, although you may see other garnishes such as a lemon twist. Blue cheese stuffed olives add a spicy, sharp bite to the end of the martini as well as hitting your nose with blue cheese aromatics as you sip. Dirty Sue makes some of the best blue cheese stuffed olives around. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, you can try Dirty Sue’s feta stuffed olives, a pimento stuffed Spanish olive, or simply add your favorite pitted Spanish olive.
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This Northwest Brewery Has A Brilliant Side Hustle
Fast forward to the extra dry vodka martini, which has neither vermouth nor gin, and is in essence pure ethanol and water chilled and served with olives, said Caporale.
Caporale said this led to no flavor to offend, but also none to attract, with the sole exception being the olives and more importantly, their salty brine. Consumers continued to want the glass but still weren’t enjoying the actual liquid enough, and requests came in for more and ever more olives, until some intrepid customer must have told a barkeep, Cut to the chase, just pour some olive brine in there, said Caporale.
According to Caporale, that resulted in: The story of the dirty vodka martini, which is: The story of over a century spent systematically removing flavor from a still-classic drink , and then in desperation adding one the most common and addictive flavoring chemicals in the world: salt, said Caporale.
Maybe thats harsh. But for those of us who love the dirty martini just the way it is, there remains several directions to take it!
“As a bartender, as well as a consumer, I have always felt that a dirty gin martini was what the original creators of the dirty martini had in mind the first time they mixed gin and vermouth, said Jordan Johnson, lead bartender of The Register in Nashville.
This, said Johnson, makes it a difficult cocktail, but if you have a good basic recipe to lean on, it can make the process that much more attainable.
Stirring is key
Choosing Your Liquor: Gin Or Vodka
Like much in the world of cocktails, your spirit of choice largely comes down to your personal preference. But, a dirty vodka martini will taste much different from one made with gin. Since vodka is a neutral spirit, the olive brine and salinity will be more predominant in a vodka martini, explains Jose Pereiro, beverage director of Storico Vino in Atlanta. A dirty martini made with gin will be more complex because the botanicals can open up sweet notes on your palate, which pair nicely with the olives.
If youre going for a dirty vodka martini, try incorporating a potato vodka, like Chopin , into your martini, says Will Patton, the beverage director of Michelin starred Bresca and Two Michelin starred Jont in Washington, D.C. The full-bodied, earthy flavor of these vodkas isnt bullied by the assertiveness of the olive brine, he says.
For dirty gin martinis, Darron Foy, bar manager at The Flatiron Room in New York City, recommends Hendricks Gin , which has notes of cucumber that plays well with olive. Or, for something more herbaceous and floral, opt for a bottle like The Botanist , Foy suggests.
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My Favorite Dirty Martini
I have always loved olives, of any kind, and the idea of a dirty martini just sounded good. It wasnt until I had a good one that I was hooked.
A great dirty martini relies on the quality of its very simple ingredients. Your olives, the vodka, and the vermouth. If you shop quality in these departments then you already have gone more than halfway to a perfect dirty martini.
How To Make A Dirty Martini: For The Olive Lovers
The martini may quite simply be the most personal cocktail you can make.
I mean, take another classic cocktail like the negroni. Sure there are some slight variations, but generally speaking most negronis are going to taste the same and have pretty close to the same ingredients and ratios.
The martini however, is all over the map.
Do you use vodka or gin? Both? Shaken or stirred? Olive or no olive?
And dont even get me started on ratios. Even once you nail down the basic ingredients and garnish of choice, how much booze you prefer and the ratios of each can vary wildly.
But this is also one of the things that makes a martini great.
At its heat a traditional martini is just gin and a little bit of vermouth. Because of that, there isnt much to hide behind. This also means that subtle changes and tweaks can make a big impact.
And today, we add olive brine to give you the perfect dirty martini recipe.
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Gin And Vodka Dirty Martini
This dirty gin and vodka martini is always a great option.
So you may be wondering about the name of this martini: Dirty fifty-fifty martini. Well.. let me explain.
About 6 or 7 years ago, I decided I wanted a martini. This wasn’t something I had often.. maybe once or twice in my life before. Josh started making it, and asked “gin or vodka?” I drew a blank. I didn’t know the difference! I didn’t really know what gin tasted like compared to vodka. They both looked the same to me.
He described the tastes of each, but I still didn’t know. “I guess whatever people typically order?” He responded with “How about I do half and half?”
So that’s what this dirty martini is. Half gin, half vodka martini, dirty, with a splash of vermouth. I’ve shared this recipe with a few people, and have come back and told me what a winning combination it is. So it’s not just me who loves it! This is a martini for everyone!
A warning though… this is a drink that contains almost all alcohol. So know your limits. I know I can drink two over the course of a few hours and be fine. But I usually shouldn’t go for three martinis!
This dirty martini is easily one of my favorite cocktails and is a go-to of mine. Try it, and it may become your go-to drink as well!
The Best Dirty Martini With Gin
Theres an ages old argument over whether a martini should be made with gin or vodka. Heres our two cents on how we think the perfect Dirty Martini should be made:
- A martini should be made with gin. Period. In our taste taste of a gin martini vs vodka martini, gin won hands down. Why? The flavor is intriguing and botanical, perfectly balanced with the subtle tang of the dry vermouth. You cant save a vodka martini with olive brine, either.
- Dont waste your time on a vodka martini! Because vodka is almost flavorless, a vodka martini tastes a bit like bitter water with a spicy, boozy aftertaste. Advocate for it all you like . But to us, you might as well just drink straight vodka.
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What’s The Best Gin For A Dirty Martini
We’ve been almost reflexive fans of Bombay Sapphire since we started drinking gin. It’s a smooth, super-drinkable midpriced London Dry gin that thrives in a wide variety of cocktails, to be sure. But most likely our affinity has to do more with timing than anything.
Diageo sold the brand to Bacardi in 1997, and we graduated from college and moved to NYC in 1998. Sapphire was everywhere and felt fancy to us then. The rest is history.
We also seem to have Tanqueray on hand at all times and often use it in a dirty martini. And a brand collaboration resulted in our being shipped a bottle of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, which did NOT last long in this house and would also make a great choice.
Other easily available, excellent choices of gin for a dirty martini include:
Why Add Olives To A Cocktail
How did adding olives to a dry cocktail happen in the first place? According toSipsmith, the first martinis were actually sweetened with syrups and garnished with cherries. In the 1880s there was a trend in savory garnishes, so bartenders started to use them. But why add olives? The salt and brine compliment the aromatics in the gin and the tang in the vermouth, taking the drink to new heights.
It wasnt until the 1930s where this trend caught on. Allegedly, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hosted Winston Churchill and introduced him to the Dirty Martini, adding both olives and some of the brine to the drink. There are several variations to the story, but all that to say: this classic cocktail has a place in history!
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What’s The Difference Between Olive Brine And Olive Juice
In the cocktail world, olive juice and brine tend to mean the same thing, but there is a difference. Olives produce juice, which is pressed out of the fruit to make products like olive oil and the brine for cured olives.
Many people prefer to use the brine that is in a jar of olives for dirty martinis. And why not? If you have olives, you have salty juice right there. It is a very convenient and cheap addition to the drink. Plus, with all the gourmet olives availablestuffed with everything from the standard pimento to blue cheese or jalapeñoeach brine brings a slightly different taste to the martini.
There are also many olive juices available that are designed specifically for the dirty martini. They can vary quite a bit in taste, though they’re interesting to explore. It may take some time to discover which bottled olive juice you like best, so keep trying. Dirty Sue is a favorite for many dirty martini devotees. You might also try the cocktail-worthy olive juices from Boscoli, Fee Brothers, Filthy, Fragata, or Stirrings.
Do You Shake Or Stir A Martini
Weve all heard the iconic James Bond line shaken, not stirred.
In pretentious the cocktail world, shaking a martini is about as sacrilege as it gets. Right up there with adding club soda to an old fashioned.
It will ruin the drink!
But the dilution ratio!
Fortunately over here were only slightly pretentious.
So my take? You do whatever you like.
Remember, the martini is a personal drink so theres no right or wrong way when youre making drinks at home.
As long as you enjoy it, thats what matters.
Personally I do stir my martinis, and if were being technical I believe thats the correct way to make one.
But for instance my mom likes hers as freezing as possible and swears by the shake.
Do what you want, I wont judge you for it.
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Great Vodka For Dirty Martinis
It helps to know a bit about your vodka if you want to make a great martini of any sort. We can get into gin martinis another time because that is a whole other topic. But, for vodka martinis, just like gin, the quality of the alcohol makes a big difference.
This is a cocktail where you are meant to taste the alcohol, not bury it. Use cheap booze in some sort of sugary and syrupy mixer meant to hide it. For cocktails like dirty martinis, you want to taste the spirit, not conceal it.
These days, there are so many varieties of vodka to choose from. There are great domestic vodkas and of course the ever popular Russian, Polish, Swedish and French vodkas.
Lets just say it isnt hard finding a good vodka. The hard part is picking one among so many!
How To Make The Gin Martini
Forget what you hear every time you watch a James Bond movie. Even though the British secret agent drinks vodka martinis, the very fact he asks for his to be shaken and not stirred is one of the most sacrilegious sentences ever uttered in the history of the human race.
To make your gin martini in this case, a dry one the right way, following these simple steps.
If you want to make a wet martini, simply add more dry vermouth to the mixture. Most common recipes call for a 50/50 ratio.
A dirty martini adds olive brine or olive juice into the mix, and olive to garnish. Again, youll want to experiment with measurements until you find the best tasting gin martini for you.
Alternatively, you can follow Hayleys twist below.
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Dirty Gin Martini With Olive Brine
This dirty gin martini is served with an olive garnish in a chilled martini glass, and is undoubtedly the best version of this classic drink.
If you love olives and slowly sipping a flavorful drink, a dirty gin martini fits the bill. The botanicals in the gin, acidity of the vermouth, and salty umami flavor of the olives blend together marvelously for this spin on the iconic martini.
Prefer a lighter, brighter gin drink? A Gin Fizz might be more up your alley, and my version includes thyme simple syrup, which pairs wonderfully with the botanicals and sweet lemon.
Dirty martinis are best served ice cold, but without ice. The best way to do this is chill your martini glasses in the freezer while you prepare the drinks, and serve them immediately after mixing.
As you sip, the olives will absorb the flavor of the gin and vermouth and you’ll have a boozy olive to pop in your mouth after the last sip of the drink. Perfection! The go-to martini olive is red pepper-stuffed olives, but garlic olives or one of the other varieties of stuffed olives are sure to please.