Home Cocktails Best Dirty Martini (Easy Cocktail Recipe)

Best Dirty Martini (Easy Cocktail Recipe)

Are you looking for a classic cocktail that isn’t too sweet or fruity? You can’t beat the dirty martini. It has all the crisp, dry flavor of the traditional martini but with a twist. 

It’s made with gin or vodka plus dry vermouth. And adding 1/2 ounce of olive brine makes all the difference. 

Dirty Martini in a Martini Glass Garnished With Olives
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It takes the refreshing martini and makes it savory and salty. If you use gin for the base, you still get notes of herbs and botanicals. 

However, the dirty martini is mostly about salt, olives, and a robust brininess.

What Is a Dirty Martini? 

The dirty martini is a twist on the classic martini cocktail made by adding olive brine

Some recipes keep all the same ingredients as a regular martini. They simply add olive brine. Others also allow the substitution of vodka for gin. 

Some skip the vermouth and add extra brine for an exceptionally salty drink. 

No matter which recipe you use, one thing is true for them all. You have to appreciate olives to enjoy this drink. Because with or without vermouth, it’s an extremely olive-heavy drink.  

Glass of Dirty Martini Garnished With Olives on Stick

Ingredients 

Here’s what you need for this cocktail: 

  • Ice – You need ice for the mixing glass but not the cocktail itself. Traditionally, martinis don’t come on the rocks. 
  • Gin or vodka – When you think of martinis, you probably assume they contain gin. While gin is used in traditional martinis, many argue vodka’s neutral character allows the olive brine to shine. So, pick your poison! 
  • Dry vermouth – Use a good, high-quality dry vermouth. Avoid sweet vermouth, as it WILL NOT pair well with the olive brine. 
  • Olive brine – You can purchase olive brine at most liquor stores. However, I always use whatever brine my olives come packed in. It’s fresh, cold, and convenient.
  • Olives – Add a few plump green olives as a garnish for your dirty martini. 
Boozy Dirty Martini Cocktail with Olives

How to Make a Dirty Martini 

Follow these steps to make a classic dirty martini: 

1. Mix. Combine the gin (or vodka), vermouth, and olive brine in a mixing glass full of ice. 

2. Stir. Stir it briskly for 20 to 30 seconds or until the outside of the glass feels cold to the touch. 

3. Strain. Strain the drink into a chilled glass. 

4. Garnish it and serve. Add the olives directly to the drink or stick them on a skewer. Serve it, and enjoy! 

Fun fact: According to bartender lore, adding an even number of olives to a cocktail is bad luck. Always use a single olive, three olives, or another odd number to avoid the dreaded olive curse. 

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Tips and Tricks 

Looking for a few tips to make this recipe even simpler? Keep these in mind: 

  • Stirred, not shaken. Contrary to the James Bond phrase, martinis are traditionally stirred, not shaken. Stirring creates a clear cocktail, while shaking makes it cloudy. 
  • Shaken, not stirred. However, many bartenders shake a dirty martini for better brine integration. The choice to stir or shake is yours.
  • Chill the glass. Freeze your cocktail or martini glass for several minutes. Or fill it with ice water as you prepare the cocktail.
  • Play with the ratios. Not all dirty martini recipes are the same. Some leave out the vermouth entirely, and others use more olive brine. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ratio of ingredients. Add more booze for a stronger drink or more brine for a saltier one.
  • No olives or olive brine? Use replacements. Caper brine also works well in the drink. And you can substitute cocktail onions for the olive garnishes. 
  • Quality is key. A drink only tastes as good as the ingredients you put in it. Don’t sacrifice taste to save a few pennies. Use high-quality ingredients.
Top View of a Glass of Dirty Martini Cocktail Garnished With Olives

What Is Vermouth? 

Vermouth is a fortified wine. Usually flavored with botanicals, it’s often added to cocktails for extra flavor. 

You can also enjoy it by itself as an aperitif. It’s a nice complement to antipasto platters and other appetizers

There are two types of vermouth: 

  • Dry vermouth
  • Sweet vermouth

As you can guess from the names, sweet vermouth is typically sweeter than dry vermouth. 

Dry vermouth is always a fortified white wine. Sweet vermouth is typically red but can occasionally be white, as well. For the dirty martini, go with dry vermouth. 

Best Dirty Martini (Easy Cocktail Recipe)

Servings

1

serving

The dirty martini is a classic cocktail people have loved for ages. This easy recipe features gin or vodka, dry vermouth, olive brine, and olives for the perfect finish.

Ingredients

  • ice

  • 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka

  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth

  • 1/2 ounce olive brine

  • 1-3 olives, for garnish

Instructions

  • In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour the gin (or vodka), dry vermouth, and olive brine. Stir it well until the outside of the glass is very cold, about 20-30 seconds.
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail or martini glass.
  • Drop in the olives or skewer them on a cocktail pick and lay it across the rim of the glass.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Dirty Martini

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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