What is a Dirty Martini?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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Considered to be an acquired taste, the dirty martini is one of several variations on the popular cocktail. One of the distinguishing features of dirty martinis is the inclusion of olive juice or brine in the drink, giving the martini a slightly cloudy appearance. Aficionados of the dirty martini maintain that the successful preparation of the cocktail requires both attention to the preparation and the use of only the highest quality of ingredients.

A dirty martini requires the use of gin, dry vermouth, olives, and a small amount of olive juice or brine. Mixing a proper dirty martini begins with preparing the cocktail glass. This is accomplished by placing a single ice cube in the glass, along with a small amount of water. The glass is then placed into the freezer for a period of two to three minutes, allowing it to chill to just the right temperature.

As the glass chills to perfection, all the ingredients are placed into a shaker. Some people are surprised to learn that the olives are included in this part of the process, rather than being added later. However, experts maintain that the inclusion of the olives along with the vermouth, gin, and olive brine is absolutely essential at this point. The shaker is tossed, with the contents shaken with vigor three or four times. This is considered to be sufficient to mix the ingredients thoroughly.


Upon removing the glass from the freezer, the ice cube and water are removed from the glass. The contents of the shaker are strained into the cocktail glass, with a single olive placed in the drink. The dirty martini is served immediately, before there is a chance for the drink to warm to room temperature.

Martinis in general are considered to be a favorite cocktail option for persons who are thought to possess an appreciation for the finer things in life. Within this context, fans of the dirty martini consider themselves to be a rather elite group within this class, enjoying a variation of the martini that has its own unique flavor and appearance.


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Post 7

You don't need to seek out "olive juice", you need only purchase high quality olives (preferably of the sort especially for martinis--large, tart, dry olives rather than rich buttery olives) and use the juice in which they are packed to make the dirty martini.

If you like to experiment, you can also try capers (the big ones) and their juice for a dirty martini. A very different taste but complex and sophisticated (you either love it or hate it).

Post 6

Let's get it straight, folks. The "juice" of an olive is not what you commonly call juice, such as the liquid extracted from vegetables (carrots, beets) or fruit (apples, grapes). The juice so extracted from an olive is olive oil. A Dirty Martini is made with the brine (salt water) in which the olives are packed. It is not juice.

Post 5

can we get olive juice in india? thanks, raghu

Post 4

Well, they're not served in their *juice*. They're served in brine that has taken on a strong olive flavor.

Post 2

The olives are sold in their juice.

Post 1

I never knew of olive juice. I suppose you can get it in specialty stores.

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