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Jun 19, 2019

The Dirty Martini

The Dirty Martini is a controversial member of the martini family. For some, it is actually desecration of the purity of the gin martini. 

The Dirty Martini

Some folks like their martinis with a twist of lemon. Some folks like their martinis with olives. Then there's the Gibson martini, which is garnished with pickled onions. I usually order mine with olives. 

Then there's that whole "very dry" thing, where you just add a thimbleful of vermouth to the pitcher or shaker before pouring. This I don't understand. 

As Michael Ruhlman says, "If you can’t taste the vermouth, the martini hasn’t been made right." I'm partial to Dolin vermouth, and like to make a martini with a 5 to 1 ratio, but sometimes I'll make one with a 4 to 1 ratio because I like the flavor of vermouth. 

The Dirty Martini Cocktail

Then there is the dirty martini. This cocktail is a variation of the traditional martini with the addition of liquid from a jar of cocktail olives to give it a slightly briny taste. To purists, this is pure blasphemy. For me, it's kind of a guilty pleasure. 

After using up all of the olives, I'll keep the jar of leftover "juice" in the refrigerator for when I have a craving for a dirty martini. Sometimes they just hit the spot. I'm not apologizing. 

If you'd like to try a dirty martini, make it with Beefeaters or a similar nice gin, but nothing extra pricy. 

Shaken or Stirred?

I like martinis prepared either way. If it's an extra hot day, I kind of like the ice shards that float on top of a shaken martini, but preparing martinis in a pitcher is great when you are making batches. 

Whatever method you use, be sure to shake or stir for at least 60 seconds, and then let the mixture sit for about 30 to 60 seconds before pouring. This will very slightly dilute your cocktail (in a good way) while chilling it. 

P.S. Don't you love these martini glasses? I had to own a set after being served a martini at hotel bar. It took a while to find them, but I was relentless. I also "needed" the coupe version

Pretty much the only time we have cocktails at a bar is when we are on vacation, but this is not the first time I've been on a quest to find a specific cocktail glass after having a drink at a hotel bar. My last obsession was this cocktail glass. It's a very good thing that I don't go to bars very often. 

The Dirty Martini Cocktail with olives

Today is National Martini Day! Liz of Books 'n' Cooks has organized a roundup of amazing sounding martini-style cocktails for the this special day. We pretty much have a recipe for every Friday cocktail for the summer and and a few more to carry you into the fall.

Check out these other fun martini recipes for #NationalMartiniDay:

The Dirty Martini Recipe

Yield: 1 cocktail
Author: Karen Kerr


  • 2 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 to 2 T olive brine (to taste)
  • Cocktail olives


How to cook The Dirty Martini Recipe

  1. Chill a martini glass in the freezer
  2. Fill a glass or a shaker with ice.
  3. Add all of the ingredients except the olives
  4. Shake or stir until all of the ingredients are chilled
  5. Strain the ingredients into the chilled glass
  6. Add the olives
Martini, olives, Dirty Martini
Created using The Recipes Generator

Would you like to comment?

  1. My favorite martini. I always order mine extra dirty, and they are typically a little cloudy, but oh so delicious!

  2. I do love those Martini glasses. That was going to be my comment when I saw the first photo without seeing your question. So very pretty.

    1. I actually found them at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Nevada!

  3. I'm a dirty girl! Meaning, I'm a dirty martini drinker. LOL It's my fave! I love the flavor the brine brings to the table. And that drink pick is AWESOME!

  4. Put a dozen mustard seeds in the shaker and the results are amazing!


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