Dirty Martini

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Cocktail Type


Great for

After Work



Dirty Martini garnished with olives

A Dirty Martini is a must-have savory trick to have up your hosting sleeve — simple, yet undeniably glamorous. This unique cocktail has a lovely saltiness that draws the flavors of vodka and dry vermouth into a fresh, firm focus. It’s a total classic and also easy to whip up, making it ideal for those occasions that call for something a little different.  

It is said that the Dirty Martini recipe had its origins in New York in 1901, when bartender John O’Connor decided to take the olive garnish of the Classic Martini one step further. At first, the olive was muddled into the drink, but these days we go a little further by adding a splash of olive brine or olive juice.  

How to make a Dirty Martini

Here’s our go-to recipe for a Dirty Martini that comes out perfectly every time.  



A nice cool glass sets the stage for your Dirty Martini to take the limelight


Replace your vermouth at least once every three months


Bartenders believe it’s bad luck to garnish with even numbers of olives so use either 1 or 3



1 Person

2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

0.5 Oz

15 Ml

0.5 Parts

0.5 Oz

15 Ml

0.5 Parts

olive brine or olive juice 
green olives to garnish 


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Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice


Strain into chilled coupe/cocktail glass


Garnish with three olives on a skewer

Secret tips to making the perfect Dirty Martini

Here are a few top tips to help you make the perfect Dirty Martini every time:  

Keep your olive jar in the fridge. Keeping your olives and olive brine refrigerated is the best way to make a good Dirty Martini. Some bartenders have been known to use warm brine from a garnish tray, but we would advise against that for sure. First of all, it’s not very sanitary, and secondly, the cooler ingredients make for a smoother drink. 

Stir rather than shake. Even though 007 was partial to a shaken martini, certain drinks of this kind work better when it is stirred. The Dirty Martini, for instance, works far better when stirred, since this is a gentler way to combine the olive brine with the rest of the cocktail ingredients.  

Olive brine or olive juice?

Ah, the age-old Dirty Martini debate: olive brine or olive juice? It all comes down to convenience. 

See, olive juice is something that comes straight from the fruit of the olive tree. This juice yields olive oil and other components that are used, among other things, to make the brine for cured olives. As such, bottled olive juice is definitely a purer product, but also a little harder to get hold of, and far less likely to be a pantry staple.  

Olive brine, on the other hand, is the liquid that comes in the jar of olives you buy at the store. Since olives spend quite a while curing before it’s ready to use, this liquid is heavily infused with the flavor of its contents. This means you will still get that ‘olive-ey’ taste when you use the brine rather than the juice. It’s also a more affordable alternative to olive juice.  

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A classic Dirty Martini contains vodka, vermouth, and a splash of olive brine or olive juice. This makes it a moderately strong drink. 

Adding olives to a cocktail takes the drink into a delightfully savory space. Because most cocktails tend to be on the sweeter end of the spectrum, a drier, more savory drink can be a tasty change of pace.  

A London Dry gin is a great option for a Dirty Martini. This type of gin is infused with botanical flavor through re-distillation. It has a minimum strength of 37.5% alcohol, so a little goes a long way.  

With so many types of martinis to choose from, keeping them straight can be a challenge! Happily, the Dirty Martini is an easy one to remember, since it comes down to a 'spill' of olive brine or olive juice. So, the short answer is: a conventional martini contains gin and martini vermouth, while a Dirty Martini contains gin (or vodka), vermouth, and a splash of olive brine or juice.