Dirty Martini is one of the most classic cocktails there is. It’s as classic as the martini itself and has been enjoyed for decades. This vodka martini features three simple ingredients and is made dirty from olive brine. Choose your favorite, good quality vodka and shake it up!
Let’s first establish that yes, I know the purists out there are going to rally against me for calling a vodka cocktail a martini, but I love it so much! While most martinis are made with gin, I find that this vodka version is even better. It’s all up to what your preference may be. If you prefer vodka in most other drinks over gin, then you’ll likely enjoy sipping on this classic martini.
And yes, I still do refer to this vodka martini as a classic! A martini is one of the most classic cocktails you can make, whether it’s vodka or gin, and a dirty martini is probably the most well known and popular of the numerous martini variations. While I do like the array of dessert martinis the world has to offer (like my favorite Espresso Martini), there is something so enjoyable about shaking up a classic dirty martini, olives and all.
If you’re looking to impress your guests at your next dinner party or just need something sophisticated to sip on as you watch your favorite James Bond movie, this is the easy recipe for you! This tried and true cocktail recipe is easy to make and calls for only the most simple, essential, and perfect dirty martini ingredients. Also, since you’re making this at home, feel free to toss in a few extra olives… You know you’ll want them!
How to Make a Dirty Martini
Ingredients You Need:
- Dry Vermouth – This recipe calls for dry, not sweet vermouth. Double check the label before you make your purchase! Also, coating the glass with vermouth is an old trick that a seasoned bartender taught me. I find that it makes a delicious difference, but if you’re out of vermouth, you can skip it.
- Vodka – Use a good quality vodka! Nothing will ruin a martini faster than bad tasting vodka. It’s the star of the cocktail, so make sure it’s not a bottom shelf.
- Olive Brine – I highly recommend using a jar of classic olives that are either stuffed with pimentos or unstuffed for the brine. As for your garnish, you can play around with different stuffed olives like blue cheese or bacon, but they shouldn’t be used for the brine.
Prepare the glass.
For the best martini experience, first add a few ice cubes to the glass and fill it with cold water. Let the glass chill while you prepare the cocktail. Chilling the glass is a simple yet effective way to elevate your martini.
Add some more ice to the cocktail shaker. Then, pour in the correct amounts of vodka and olive brine.
Close the shaker tightly so you don’t make a mess and shake vigorously for a few seconds.
Pour and enjoy!
Discard the ice water from the now chilled glass. Add a splash of dry vermouth to the glass. Swirl the vermouth all around the glass, then pour it out.
Pour the cocktail into the prepared glass through the strainer. Garnish it with some olives of your choice, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of the dirty martini?
It is believed that the first ever dirty martini was created by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City in 1901 by a man named John E O’Connor. He originally served the martini with muddled olives and then played around further by adding olive brine. This is what inspired the fun name “dirty martini!” The drink has a noticeably cloudy consistency.
Early on, this cocktail was made with either gin or equal parts of gin and vodka. As time passed, it started to lean more towards using just vodka. The drink gained massive popularity over the years and was even a favorite drink of President Franklin D. Roosevelt!
To this day, it is one of the most requested martini cocktails at bars, besides the fruity “tinis” that are incredibly popular these days. If you prefer gin, try it with equal parts of gin and vodka or just gin! It’ll be classic either way.
Why add olive brine to a martini?
If you love dirty martinis as much as I do, you already know that the olive brine is the best part! The salty brine compliments the vodka perfectly and even helps to create a nice aromatic element to the cocktail. It pairs just as well with gin, too, if that’s your liquor of choice for this classic cocktail.
If you notice that you don’t like the taste of olive brine in this drink and find it overwhelming, you can certainly reduce it. Just keep in mind that this dirty martini is meant to be cloudy and taste of delicious salty olives!
- splash dry vermouth
- 3 oz good quality vodka
- 3/4-1 oz olive brine from the jar of olives
- olives as garnish
- ice to shake
- To chill the glass: Add a few ice cubes to a martini glass and then fill it with cold water. Let the glass chill while you prepare the cocktail.
- Add some ice into the cocktail shaker and pour in vodka and olive brine. Close the shaker well and shake vigorously for a few seconds.
- Discard iced water from the martini glass and add a splash of dry vermouth to the glass. Swirl the vermouth around the glass and pour it out.
- Pour the vodka cocktail into the glass through the strainer and garnish with some olives.