This Dirty Martini Recipe has a pleasant saltiness due to the olive juice, which is where the cocktail inherits its name. You can add a bit of olive juice or as many olives and you would like. Martinis and olives go together perfectly.
If you prefer to add more olive juice, like I do, add as much as you would like. I love that saltiness taste that olives have. You may need to try making this a couple of times until you can find the right balance for you, whether that be less vodka, more vermouth, or more olive juice. You should you good quality alcohol for this.
- What is a Dirty Martini?
- Where did the Dirty Martini come from?
- Why you will love this recipe
- What you will need
- How to make a Dirty Martini
- What Is The Difference Between Olive Juice and Olive Brine?
- How to make a Dirty Martini ahead of time
- How to store a Dirty Martini
- Top tips for making a Dirty Martini
- Dirty Vodka Martini Recipe
- Food safety
What is a Dirty Martini?
A dirty martini is a variation of the classic martini cocktail, made with gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and olive brine, which gives it a "dirty" appearance and a salty flavor. The olive brine is added to the drink to give it a cloudy or murky appearance and enhance its flavor. The amount of olive brine used can vary depending on personal taste. The drink is typically garnished with a green olive or two, and sometimes a slice of lemon or a cocktail onion.
A regular Martini uses gin or vodka, a splash of vermouth, and an olive or an orange peel. A dirty martini is just a regular martini but you add olive juice into it. The brine gives the drink a scummy color, which is how it gets the name dirty martini. This dirty martini is best served with olive inside it and a nice martini glass.
Where did the Dirty Martini come from?
The origin of the dirty martini is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the United States sometime in the early 20th century. Some sources suggest that it was first made by a bartender who added olive juice to a traditional martini at a New York City bar. Others claim that it was created by a bartender in San Francisco who was looking for a way to make a martini more appealing to customers who preferred savory flavors.
Regardless of its exact origin, the dirty martini has become a popular cocktail and is now served in bars and restaurants around the world. It is often enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink or as a nightcap, and its salty, savory flavor makes it a favorite among martini lovers who prefer a more complex and flavorful cocktail.
Why you will love this recipe
Versatile: You can add as much or as little alcohol or olive juice as you want. There is no set measurements so feel free to adjust the way you like.
Great for any weather: I love drinking Dirty Martinis on a nice hot summer day, although I love having them inside on a cold day by the fire.
What you will need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Gin or Vodka
- Olive juice
See recipe card for quantities for this Dirty Martini Recipe.
How to make a Dirty Martini
- Pour the vodka or gin, vermouth, and olive juice in a mixing glass or shaker. Fill with ice.
- Stir well or shake (if you are James Bond).
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or drink on the rocks.
- Garnish with 1 to 3 olives.
Hint: Feel free to adjust as you like.
Gin or Vodka: There is much confusion whether to use gin or vodka for a dirty martini. The answer is simple: you can use either one! I love using Tito's vodka or Hendricks gin.
Vermouth: Vermouth is a fortified wine that gives the cocktail a nice kick and makes it even stronger. Dry Sherry is as close as you can get for a vermouth substitute when making a martini.
Olive brine: This is the juice that can be found inside an olive jar. I love making mine extra dirty by adding more olive brine.
What Is The Difference Between Olive Juice and Olive Brine?
Olive juice and olive brine are related to each other, but they are not exactly the same thing. Olive juice is the natural liquid that comes from the olives themselves. This juice is often used to make things like olive oil or olive paste. It is typically less salty and more mild in flavor than olive brine.
Olive brine, on the other hand, is made from the juice of the olives as well, but it is mixed with water, salt, and vinegar or citric acid to create a salty and acidic solution. It is commonly used as a marinade or a brine for pickling other foods, particularly cocktail garnishes like olives, onions, and peppers.
So, while both olive juice and olive brine come from olives, they are processed differently and have different uses. Olive juice is the natural liquid from olives and is used to make other products, while olive brine is a mixture of olive juice, salt, vinegar, and water used for pickling and marinating.
How to make a Dirty Martini ahead of time
If you want to make a Martini ahead of time: combine the gin or vodka, vermouth and olive juice in a mixing glass. Using a funnel, transfer the mixture into a glass bottle. Seal the bottle and store in the freezer overnight. When mixture is fully chilled, pour into a chilled cocktail glass. There is a chance the cocktail will begin to solidify in the freezer because of the olive juice. If the drink appears slightly slushy when you remove it from the freezer, give the bottle a slight shake and let it sit for a minute or so before pouring.
How to store a Dirty Martini
A dirty martini is typically served chilled and fresh, so it is not recommended to store it for later consumption. The ingredients, particularly the olive brine, can quickly lose their flavor and freshness if not kept properly.
If you must store a dirty martini, you can pour it into a tightly sealed glass bottle or jar and store it in the refrigerator for a few hours. However, note that the drink's quality may deteriorate over time, and the olive brine may settle at the bottom of the container, making it difficult to re-mix properly.
It's best to make a dirty martini fresh and consume it immediately to enjoy its full flavor and complexity. If you need to make a larger batch for a party or gathering, mix the ingredients in a pitcher or container just before serving and keep it on ice to ensure that it stays chilled and fresh.
- Filthy martini: made with extra olive brine and garnished with several olives.
- Perfect dirty martini: made with equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth in addition to the olive brine.
- Smoky dirty martini: made with mezcal instead of gin or vodka to give it a smoky flavor.
- Spicy dirty martini: made with spicy olive brine or a splash of hot sauce for a kick.
Note that some people may prefer their dirty martini with more or less olive brine, so it's essential to adjust the recipe to your personal taste.
Check out my Spiked Lemonade if you love this recipe.
To make a dirty martini, you will need the following equipment:
- Cocktail shaker - A shaker will allow you to mix the ingredients thoroughly and chill the drink.
- Jigger - A jigger is a small measuring tool that will help you measure the exact amount of ingredients needed for your cocktail.
- Bar spoon - A long-handled spoon will help you stir the ingredients in the shaker and also allow you to layer the ingredients when you pour them into the glass.
- Martini glass - A classic V-shaped glass is perfect for serving a dirty martini.
- Ice - You will need ice to chill your cocktail shaker and your martini glass.
- Olives - For a dirty martini, you will need some olives to garnish your drink.
- Olive brine - The key ingredient in a dirty martini is olive brine, which is the salty liquid that comes from the jar of olives. Make sure to have a jar of olive brine ready to go.
With these tools and ingredients, you will be ready to make a delicious dirty martini.
Top tips for making a Dirty Martini
- Use good quality gin or vodka: A dirty martini relies heavily on the quality of the alcohol used. Choose a good quality gin or vodka to ensure a smooth and flavorful drink.
- Use fresh ingredients: Use fresh vermouth, olive brine, and olives to make your dirty martini. Old or stale ingredients can significantly affect the taste of the drink.
- Adjust the olive brine to your liking: Some people like their dirty martini with a lot of olive brine, while others prefer just a hint. Start with a small amount and add more as needed to find your ideal balance.
- Shake the drink properly: Shaking the drink with ice is crucial to achieving the right temperature and dilution. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds to ensure the drink is well mixed and cold.
- Don't overdo the garnish: A few olives are all you need to garnish a dirty martini. Adding too many olives can overpower the drink and make it difficult to drink.
- Experiment with different variations: Don't be afraid to experiment with different variations of the dirty martini to find your perfect mix. Try using different types of olives, adding hot sauce or other spices, or using a different type of alcohol to create a unique twist on the classic recipe.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove