Dirty Martini Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Classic Cocktail

If you’re a fan of classic cocktails, you’ve probably heard of the dirty martini. This popular drink is a variation of the traditional martini that includes olive brine, giving it a salty, savory flavor. While the exact origins of the dirty martini are unclear, it’s been a staple in bars and restaurants for decades. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the dirty martini and provide you with a simple recipe to make your own at home.

The dirty martini is a simple cocktail that combines gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and olive brine. The key to a good dirty martini is finding the right balance of flavors – not too salty, not too dry. Some people prefer their dirty martini shaken, while others prefer it stirred. Regardless of your preference, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients to ensure that your drink is as delicious as possible. In the next section, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step recipe for making a perfect dirty martini at home.

History and Tradition of the Dirty Martini

The Dirty Martini is a classic cocktail that has been around for over a century. Its origins are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have been invented in the early 1900s. The cocktail is a variation of the traditional Martini, which is made with gin and vermouth.

Over time, the Martini has evolved to include other variations, such as the vodka Martini, the dry Martini, and the 50/50 Martini. However, the Dirty Martini remains one of the most popular variations of the classic cocktail.

Traditionally, the Dirty Martini is made by adding a small amount of olive brine to the Martini. This gives the cocktail a slightly salty taste and a cloudy appearance, hence the name “dirty.” The olive brine also adds a unique flavor to the Martini that sets it apart from other variations.

Despite its popularity, the Dirty Martini has not always been well-received by Martini purists. Some argue that the addition of olive brine detracts from the flavor of the Martini, while others believe that it enhances it.

Regardless of its detractors, the Dirty Martini has become a staple of the cocktail world. It is often served as an aperitif or as a nightcap, and is enjoyed by Martini lovers around the world.

Ingredients Required

When it comes to making a Dirty Martini, the ingredients are just as important as the technique. Here are the primary ingredients and garnishing essentials you’ll need to make a delicious Dirty Martini.

Primary Ingredients

The primary ingredients of a Dirty Martini are gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and olive juice or brine. Some recipes call for a combination of gin and vodka, while others use only one or the other. If you prefer a drier Martini, use less olive juice or brine.

For the gin, you can use any brand you like, but a high-quality gin will make a better-tasting Martini. Similarly, the vermouth can be any brand, but Noilly Prat is a popular choice.

Garnishing Essentials

The garnishing essentials for a Dirty Martini are olives and extra-virgin olive oil. Green olives are the most common choice, but you can use any type of olive you like. Some people prefer to stuff their olives with blue cheese or garlic for added flavor.

To garnish your Martini, you’ll need a cocktail pick or skewer. Simply thread one or three olives onto the pick and place it in the glass. If you like, you can also add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the top of the drink for a finishing touch.

In addition to the primary ingredients and garnishing essentials, you’ll also need ice and a shaker to mix your Martini. With these ingredients and tools, you’ll be well on your way to making a delicious Dirty Martini.

Choosing Your Spirits

When it comes to making a dirty martini, your choice of spirits is crucial. You want to select high-quality ingredients that will elevate the flavor of your cocktail. Here are some things to consider when choosing your spirits.

Gin Vs Vodka

Traditionally, gin is the spirit of choice for a dirty martini. London Dry Gin is a popular choice due to its juniper-forward flavor profile, which pairs well with the briny taste of olive juice. However, if you prefer a milder taste, vodka can also be used. Keep in mind that vodka will result in a less complex flavor profile than gin.

Vermouth Varieties

Vermouth is a fortified wine that is used to add depth and complexity to a martini. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet and dry. For a dirty martini, dry vermouth is the way to go. It has a drier taste than sweet vermouth, which complements the briny flavor of the olive juice.

When selecting your vermouth, look for high-quality brands such as Noilly Prat or Dolin. These vermouths have a more nuanced flavor profile than cheaper brands, which can be overly sweet or bitter.

In summary, when choosing your spirits for a dirty martini, select high-quality gin or vodka and dry vermouth. Experiment with different brands and find the combination that works best for your taste buds.

Dirty Martini Preparation and Mixing Techniques

When it comes to making a perfect dirty martini, the preparation and mixing technique play a crucial role. In this section, we will discuss the two most popular mixing techniques: stirred and shaken, and the process of straining and dilution.

Stirred Vs Shaken

The decision to stir or shake your dirty martini depends on your personal preference. Stirring is a gentler technique that results in a smoother cocktail, while shaking creates a more diluted and frothy drink. If you prefer a stronger and less diluted cocktail, stirring is the way to go. On the other hand, shaking is ideal for those who like their cocktails to be colder and more diluted.

To stir your dirty martini, fill a mixing glass with ice, add the gin or vodka, vermouth, and olive brine. Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds using a bar spoon, and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. Shaking a dirty martini involves adding the same ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shaking it for about 15-20 seconds, and then straining it into a chilled cocktail glass.

Straining and Dilution

After you have mixed your dirty martini, it’s important to strain it properly to remove any ice chips or fruit pulp. Double straining through a fine mesh strainer is the best way to achieve a smooth and clear cocktail. This technique also helps to control the amount of dilution in your martini.

Dilution is a crucial factor in making a perfect dirty martini. Too much dilution can result in a watery and bland cocktail, while too little dilution can make the drink too strong and overpowering. To achieve the perfect balance, use cold ingredients and stir or shake the cocktail for the appropriate amount of time.

In summary, the key to a great dirty martini is to choose high-quality ingredients, use the right mixing technique, and control the amount of dilution. Whether you prefer your martini stirred or shaken, make sure to strain it properly to achieve a smooth and delicious cocktail.


Choosing the right glassware for your dirty martini is important to achieve the perfect drinking experience. The classic glassware for a martini is the martini glass, which is a stemmed glass with a wide, cone-shaped bowl. The shape of the glass allows the drinker to enjoy the aroma of the cocktail while sipping it.

Another option for serving a dirty martini is a coupe glass, which is a shallow, wide-mouthed glass with a stem. This glass was popular in the 1930s and 1940s and has recently made a comeback in the cocktail world. The coupe glass is suitable for drinks that are served without ice, like the dirty martini.

When choosing martini glasses or coupe glasses, make sure they are made of high-quality glass. The thickness of the glass should be consistent, and there should be no visible seams or bubbles. The glasses should also be free of any chips or cracks.

If you don’t have martini glasses or coupe glasses, you can still enjoy a dirty martini. Any stemmed glass with a wide mouth will work, such as a wine glass or a margarita glass. The important thing is to choose a glass that will allow you to enjoy the aroma of the cocktail while sipping it.

In summary, the classic glassware for a dirty martini is the martini glass, but a coupe glass or any stemmed glass with a wide mouth can also be used. Choose high-quality glassware that is free of chips, cracks, seams, or bubbles.

Dirty Martini Variations

If you’re a fan of the classic Dirty Martini, you might be interested in trying out some variations to mix things up. Here are a few variations that you might enjoy:

Gin Martini

The Gin Martini is a classic cocktail that’s been around for over a century. To make a Gin Martini, you’ll need gin, dry vermouth, and a garnish of either a lemon twist or an olive. The ratio of gin to vermouth can vary depending on your preference, but a good starting point is 2:1 (two parts gin to one part vermouth).

Vodka Martini

The Vodka Martini is a popular variation on the classic Gin Martini. To make a Vodka Martini, you’ll need vodka, dry vermouth, and a garnish of either a lemon twist or an olive. The ratio of vodka to vermouth can vary depending on your preference, but a good starting point is also 2:1.

Dry Martini

The Dry Martini is another classic cocktail that’s been around for over a century. To make a Dry Martini, you’ll need gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and a garnish of either a lemon twist or an olive. The key difference between a Dry Martini and a regular Martini is that a Dry Martini has less vermouth. The ratio of gin or vodka to vermouth can vary depending on your preference, but a good starting point is 4:1.

50/50 Martini

The 50/50 Martini is a variation on the classic Dry Martini. As the name suggests, the ratio of gin or vodka to vermouth is 1:1. This results in a cocktail that’s less strong and more refreshing than a regular Dry Martini.

No matter which variation you choose, be sure to experiment with different garnishes and ratios until you find the perfect Dirty Martini for your taste.

Taste and Balance

When it comes to a dirty martini, taste and balance are key. The salty and briny flavor of the olives, combined with the complex and umami flavors of the gin or vodka, make for a delicious and satisfying cocktail. However, achieving the perfect balance can be tricky, as too much olive brine can overpower the other flavors.

One factor that can affect the taste of your dirty martini is your personal preference. Some people prefer a classic dirty martini, made with gin, while others prefer vodka. Experiment with both to see which you prefer. Additionally, you can adjust the amount of olive brine to suit your taste. Start with a small amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired level of saltiness.

To achieve the perfect balance, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients. Use a premium gin or vodka, and choose olives that are of good quality and packed in brine. Be sure to use fresh lemon juice and a good quality vermouth as well.

When making your dirty martini, keep in mind that it is a spirit-forward cocktail. This means that the focus is on the gin or vodka, rather than on mixers or other ingredients. As such, it’s important to use the right proportions of each ingredient to achieve the perfect balance. A good rule of thumb is to use a ratio of 2:1 gin or vodka to vermouth, and to add just a splash of olive brine.

In summary, achieving the perfect taste and balance in a dirty martini requires a combination of personal preference, high-quality ingredients, and careful attention to proportions. With a little experimentation and attention to detail, you can create a delicious and satisfying cocktail that is sure to impress.

Nutritional Information

If you are watching your calorie intake, it’s important to be aware of the nutritional information of a dirty martini. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional values of a typical dirty martini recipe:

NutrientAmount Per Serving
Total Fat1.42g
Saturated Fat0.193g
Trans Fat0g
Polyunsaturated Fat0.14g
Monounsaturated Fat1.04g
Total Carbohydrate0.66g
Dietary Fiber0.2g

As you can see, a dirty martini is relatively low in calories, with only 161 calories per serving. However, it does contain a moderate amount of fat, with 1.42g of total fat and 0.193g of saturated fat. Additionally, it’s important to note that a dirty martini contains a small amount of sodium, with 43mg per serving.

If you are looking to increase your dietary fiber intake, a dirty martini may not be the best choice. It only contains 0.2g of dietary fiber per serving. However, it is a good source of monounsaturated fat, with 1.04g per serving.

Overall, a dirty martini can be a tasty cocktail to enjoy in moderation. Just be aware of its nutritional values and drink responsibly.

Dirty Martini Frequently Asked Questions

What makes it a dirty martini?

A dirty martini is made by adding olive brine to a classic martini. The brine gives the cocktail a salty and savory flavor, and also gives it a cloudy appearance.

Do you put vermouth in a dirty martini?

Yes, vermouth is still a key ingredient in a dirty martini. However, the amount of vermouth used is often less than in a classic martini, since the olive brine adds a lot of flavor.

What makes a dirty martini different from a regular martini?

The addition of olive brine is what sets a dirty martini apart from a regular martini. The brine adds a salty, savory flavor and a cloudy appearance to the cocktail.

Best olive brine for martinis?

The best olive brine for martinis is the brine that comes from the jar of olives you are using. If you don’t have access to olive brine, you can purchase it at specialty food stores or online.

Belvedere vodka dirty martini recipe?

To make a Belvedere vodka dirty martini, combine 2 1/2 ounces of Belvedere vodka, 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth, and 1/2 ounce of olive brine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a skewered olive.

Hendrick’s gin Dirty Martini recipe?

To make a Hendrick’s gin dirty martini, combine 2 1/2 ounces of Hendrick’s gin, 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth, and 1/2 ounce of olive brine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a skewered olive.

Website | + posts

Leave a Comment