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 don’t 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 isn’t 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.
What is a Dirty Martini?
A dirty martini is simply a gin martini that adds olive brine to the cocktail. It can be a polarizing drink because if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like olives? This is your worst nightmare.
But if you put olives on everything? There may not be a better drink in the world.
What’s the Best Gin for a Martini?
If you google “best gin for a martini” you’ll find a wildly varying array of gins to choose from. Every blogger or drinks writer has a different preference.
So I’m not even going to go there.
Start with what you have. Chances are you might have something standard like a Bombay Sapphire or a Tanqueray. Great, use it.
Better yet, if you have a couple different gins – make one with each and then see which one you like better.
Personally, I have a thing for Aviation (I mean, how can you not like Ryan Reynolds). If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, the Botanist is also fantastic.
But generally speaking any decent gin will make a good martini – there will just be subtle flavor differences when comparing.
It’s also worth noting that you’ll notice the subtleties of the gin a little bit less in a dirty martini than you would a typical dry martini. This is due to the fact that olive will take more of a leading role in the drink, depending on how much you use.
Do You Shake or Stir a Martini?
We’ve 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 we’re only slightly pretentious.
So my take? You do whatever you like.
Remember, the martini is a personal drink – so there’s no right or wrong way when you’re making drinks at home.
As long as you enjoy it, that’s what matters.
Personally I do stir my martinis, and if we’re being technical I believe that’s 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 won’t judge you for it.
How to Make a Dirty Martini
Because a martini cocktail is so personal, that this is just a starting point. This is how I make a dirty martini, but you might like more olive…or less.
You may go the Vesper route and use both vodka and gin.
Or perhaps you like just a hint of vermouth rather than the half ounce called for.
Start here, and then adjust to your tastes.
You don’t have much to hide behind with a dirty martini as there are generally only three ingredients: gin, dry vermouth, olive juice.
Fortunately, it’s a very simple drink to make.
- 2.5oz gin
- .5oz dry vermouth
- .5oz olive brine
Add to a mixing glass, stir for 30 seconds until very cold.
Strain into a martini glass or coupe.
Garnish with 3 olives. I like to use castelvetrano or blue cheese stuffed olives personally.
So, how do you make your martinis? Drop a comment and let me know!
Dirty Martini Recipe (For the Olive Lover!)
- Mixing Glass
- Bar Spoon
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Cocktail Pick
- 2.5 oz Gin I like Aviation
- .5 oz Dry Vermouth
- .5 oz Olive Brine
- 3 Olives For garnish
- Combine all ingredients except olives into a mixing glass
- Stir for 20-30 seconds until very well chilled
- Strain into martini glass
- Garnish with 3 olives on a cocktail pick
Other Cocktails You Might Like
- Atlas Martini – This is my personal favorite martini. It’s more delicate and a little more approachable if you’re new to martinis. And perfect for those of your who hate olives 🙂
- Last Word – Want a gin drink that is much less spirit forward and a little bit friendlier for the person who isn’t a martini drinker? Try a Last Word. Herbal, fresh – and very unique.
- Aviation Cocktail – Another gin drink that uses lemon, maraschino liqueur as a sweetener, and creme de violette to give it a mesmerizing purple hue. You might have to buy the bottle of creme de violette – but don’t worry, it will last you years.
- 25+ Great Cocktails to Make at Home – Not seeing any you’re into? Here are a couple dozen more you may like.