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How to make a Dirty Martini

Gin or vodka, dry vermouth and olive brine

Salty and sharp

An American classic, this Martini calls for a healthy dash of olive brine giving it a salty twist

A Dirty Martini is simply a Dry Martini with a splash of olive brine to add a salty element to this classic cocktail.

The Martini has its origins in several cocktails and was first made with Old Tom gin (a sweet style of gin).

It’s unclear by whom, or exactly when, the first true Dry Martini was mixed, that is to say a cocktail using Plymouth or London dry gin with French vermouth and using no syrup of any kind. However it did happen and by 1900 the Dry Martini had managed to eclipse all other versions.

By the 1930s the accepted 5:1 formula was being sipped on in bars across the world, although during the 80s when the three Martini lunch took hold it became something closer to stirred down cold gin. Luckily those times are gone.

The addition of olive brine takes some of the sharp strength of alcohol away, making for a popular twist. Legends attribute this adaptation to Roosevelt, the American president who was an avid home bartender although most of his guests reported his concoctions where horrendous and there’s no evidence the Dirty Martini is one of these.

What’s more likely is the brine was added slowly once olives became an accepted garnish. Experiment with the amount of brine until you find your ideal Dirty Martini.

Make it at home:

Prep Time: 7 minutes   |   Serves: 1   |   Skill: Super easy

75ml gin or vodka   |   15ml dry vermouth   |   15ml olive brine   |   Cubed ice to stir   |   3  olives to garnish

Place the gin or vodka, cocktail glass and stirring glass in the freezer three hours before to chill

Cocktail stirring glass   |   Julep strainer   |   Cocktail glass

1. Pour the gin or vodka and vermouth into the chilled stirring glass
2. Fill the stirring glass half way with ice
3. Stir the liquid for at least 3 minutes. This doesn’t have to be constant stirring but the liquid needs enough time with the ice to reduce the temperature
4. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
5. Garnish with 3 olives on a cocktail stick