Dirty Martini


Published: 01/19/24

dirty martini
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The Dirty Martini, a captivating and flavorful twist on the classic martini, has emerged as a beloved cocktail among enthusiasts seeking a more complex and savory martini experience. Comprising gin, dry vermouth, and a generous dash of olive brine, this cocktail offers a tantalizing deviation from the traditional martini, capturing those who appreciate a nuanced and briny flavor profile.

The roots of the Dirty Martini can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century, with the first inklings of its existence believed to have surfaced in 1901. Often attributed to the ingenuity of New York bartender John O’Connor, the Dirty Martini found its inspiration in the olive garnish that adorned the classic Martini. O’Connor, a skilled mixologist, decided to take the iconic cocktail a step further by introducing the bold and salty notes of olive brine.

One notable establishment where the Dirty Martini gained early prominence was the illustrious Waldorf Astoria in New York, where John E. O’Connor plied his trade. It was here that O’Connor served his innovative creation – the Dry Martini with muddled olives. The Waldorf Astoria, known for its opulent atmosphere and commitment to culinary and mixological excellence, provided the perfect stage for the Dirty Martini to make its debut and capture the imaginations of cocktail enthusiasts.

While the concept of adding brine to a Martini-style cocktail gained traction in the early 20th century, the first documented instance appeared in G.H. Steele’s 1930 “My New Cocktail Book”. Steele’s recipe for the ‘Dirty Martini’ specified the inclusion of a teaspoon of olive brine, elevating the traditional Martini by introducing a subtle yet distinct saline element. This written reference marks a pivotal moment in the cocktail’s history, as it solidified the Dirty Martini as a distinct and innovative variation of the classic.

The key components of a Dirty Martini are the same as those in its predecessor: gin and dry vermouth. The choice of gin imparts a botanical and juniper-forward flavor, while the dry vermouth adds a touch of herbal complexity. What sets the Dirty Martini apart is the inclusion of olive brine, a seemingly simple yet transformative addition that introduces a briny, umami-rich dimension to the cocktail.

Dirty Martini Recipe

  1. 75 ml gin

  2. 15 ml dry vermouth

  3. 15 ml olive brine

  4. Ice

  5. Garnish: 3 olives

dirty martini cocktail

How to Make a Dirty Martini

  1. Add the gin, dry vermouth, and olive brine into a cocktail shaker.

  2. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Double strain into a martini glass.

  4. Garnish with 3 olives on a cocktail pick.

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