A Filthy Twist on a Classic Cocktail

5 months ago

This weeks COTW is The Dirty Martini - A Filthy Twist on a Classic Cocktail

The dirty martini puts an adventurous spin on the traditional smooth and refined martini. This “filthy” version of the cocktail amps up the flavor with the addition of olive brine. The salty, pungent olive juice cuts through the botanical gin and makes the drink delightfully funky.

The origins of the dirty martini are uncertain, but it likely rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s as vodka surpassed gin in martini recipes. The cosmo and other fruity martinis also reigned during those decades, so the dirty martini’s briny taste offered an alternative for seasoned cocktail lovers.

While the classic martini is clean and crisp, the dirty is unapologetically bold and savory. The olive brine provides a welcome savory umami pop. Just a splash of olive juice makes the drink deliciously dirty.

Some credit New York City’s Joe’s Pier 52 as the birthplace of the modern dirty martini in the 1980s. However, the idea of olive juice in martinis dates back decades earlier. In the 1920s and 30s, drinks writer Bob Pettigrew recommended adding olive brine to gin martinis for “extra flavor”.

So how did this salty riff on an iconic drink become so popular? America’s love affair with the martini and its many variations certainly helped. But the dirty martini also satisfies our craving for umami flavors. A sip of this drink makes tastebuds tingle with its pleasant saltiness.

While a dirty martini rocks traditional martini drinkers to their cores, those looking for a bolder gin or vodka cocktail can’t get enough of its savory twist. Try one the next time you crave a stiff drink with a kick of flavor.

How to Make the Perfect Dirty Martini



Step 1: Fill shaker with ice
Add ice to your cocktail shaker until it's heaping full. The extra dilution is needed for the salty olive brine.
Step 2: Add gin or vodka and vermouth
Pour in 2 oz of your preferred gin or vodka. Add 1⁄2 oz dry vermouth to balance the flavors.
Step 3: Splash in olive brine
Add around 1⁄2 oz of olive brine from your jar of olives. Start small, you can always add more to taste.
Step 4: Shake vigorously
Close the shaker and shake hard for at least 10 seconds to fully blend and chill the drink.
Step 5: Fine strain into chilled glass
Double strain your martini through a fine mesh strainer to remove any shards of ice or olive bits.
Step 6: Garnish with olives
Spike your dirty martini with 2 or 3 green olives for a perfect salty finish.
Step 7: Taste and add more olive brine if desired

Sample your martini. If you want more funk, splash in a touch more olive juice to your liking.

Ice cold with a savory kick, the dirty martini is bold new twist on a classic drink. Play with different gins or vodkas and olive juice ratios until you craft your perfect filthy martini.

As always I am open to hear your take and your input. You can reach me at [email protected]

Brian Certain

Published 5 months ago