Our favorite dirty martini recipe and the history of this classic drink! We’re sharing all of the details about making this cocktail shaken and stirred!
If you love to entertain, you may be continually on the prowl for new recipes. However, there’s more to dinner than food and dessert. Liven up your next party (or Sunday evening) with a dirty martini using our foolproof recipe. In the meantime, we’re also going to unwrap this drink’s dirty secrets!
History of the Dirty Martini
There are many theories about this. Here are two of the stories that may hold the secret of the dirty martini’s humble beginnings.
The story goes that a New York bartender created the martini variant in 1901 by muddling the olive and eventually adding olive brine.
Or…perhaps it was famous 19th-century bartender Jerry Thomas who first mixed in a little olive brine to spice up his signature drink.
What Is the Dirty in a Dirty Martini?
Dirty martinis have a kick of olive brine in the mix. Olive juice adds acidity and salt for a more powerful flavor that drink sippers world-wide savor. It also changes the color of a clean, clear martini, making it “dirtier.” Traditional martinis come with an olive garnish, but many bartender add two or more to a dirty martini.
How to Make a Dirty Martini
- Olive Brine (use what you have in the olive jar)
- Vodka or Gin
Add the ingredients into a tall cocktail glass for stirring OR in a cocktail shaker for shaking. We go into the difference about shaking and stirring below. It’s fully your preference and we actually prefer shaking!
Stir or shake with ice so the ingredients become very cold. That is the key, to get them cold and let the water subtly dilute the cocktail.
Strain into a coupe or martini glass and serve with 3-5 olives! Personally, the more olives the better.
Most people will use the olive brine in the jar of olives. However, if you make a lot of dirty martinis you might want to buy or make your olive brine. Here are a few options:
Another quick tip for making extra dirty martinis is to muddle a few olives in the glass, then shake. It’s SO good and creates even more of an olive taste. Again, personally preference but I like my dirty martinis extra dirty!
Do You Put Vermouth in a Dirty Martini?
Martinis, including dirty martinis, typically contain vermouth. However, like many mixology recipes, there are many variations. Why should it be simple, after all?
The secret, if you go out for drinks, is in how you order. The bartender follows directions provided by the customer. Here are the different ways you can order a dirty martini:
- Dry: This means you prefer little vermouth.
- Extra dry martinis: This variation involves swirling vermouth around a chilled glass and pouring off the excess, so just the slightest flavor comes through.
- Extra dirty: Extra dirty martinis have equal parts of olive juice and gin or vodka.
- Not very dirty: You also can order a martini with extra olives and no brine.
What Is the Best Vodka for a Dirty Martini?
The key to making a great dirty martini is to use high-end vodka (or gin if you prefer). You may already have a favorite vodka, but here are two to consider for your homemade dirty martinis:
- Grey Goose: Made from wheat and natural ingredients in France, this vodka uses naturally filtered water that runs through Grande Champagne limestone. It has a fresh, crisp taste that you can taste even in mixed drinks.
- Ketel One: Prepared in small batches since the 1600s, this vodka has fruity and a smooth taste. Ten generations of the Nolet family have tested every batch. It elevates dirty martinis and other mixed drinks with its consistent production process.
- Titos is also a good, affordable choice for Vodk.
What is the Best Gin for a Dirty Martini?
- Tanqueray: This London dry gin is perfect for sipping martinis!
- St. George: Has notes of sage and woodsy Douglas fir.
What Does a Martini Taste Like?
When served cold and in a chilled glass, a martini has a clean, crisp taste that celebrates the spirits used to produce it, rather than muddling them with too many ingredients.
Is Martini Made With Gin or Vodka?
Traditionally, martinis are made with gin. However, many people prefer vodka, which has a less herbaceous taste than gin. Truly, this is up to you and your preference!
Shake or Stir?
Mixologists typically stir cocktails and martinis. Stirring gently and smoothly blends the ingredients. However, shaking a dirty martini can help circulate the olive brine. It’s really a matter of customer preference.
If you’re anything like James Bond, you’ll want your martini shaken, not stirred. The main thing is getting the martini very cold, it makes it more enjoyable to sip.
More Cocktail Recipes You’ll Love!
Now that you know a bit more about dirty martinis, try your hand at our recipe and amuse your friends with some dirty talk on the history of this popular drink.
Dirty Martini Recipe
- 2 ounces vodka , or gin
- 1/4 ounce vermouth
- 1 1/2 ounce olive brine
- Add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker or glass.
- Stir or shake for 20 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into a martini glass or a coupe.
- Garnish with plenty of olives!