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Dry, Up, and Dirty: Beginner’s Guide to Crafting a Classic Dirty Martini

Updated on October 1, 2013

"Happiness is...finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry."

-Johnny Carson


Oh, the martini. To some a mystery and to others a creature comfort, but to all a quintessential piece of Americana. Of all the elegance and celebrity that surrounds the world of cocktails, the martini is truly the ultimate classic.

Several conflicting stories place the birth of the martini anywhere from Martinez, California to Great Britain, but all agree it at least dates back to the late 1800’s. Originally, the martini was comprised of equal parts gin and vermouth with a dash of bitters. This has changed quite distinctly over the years. Modern martinis feature far more gin than vermouth, and bitters rarely makes an appearance at all. In addition to these core changes, countless variations on martinis have sprouted up in bars the world over, including sweeter versions such as cosmopolitans and appletinis.

But no version has been quite so widely accepted and beloved as the dirty martini. One of a small handful of savory cocktail options, the dirty martini features the brine of green olives, which adds a salty, tangy edge to your typical martini.

5 stars from 1 rating of Dirty Martini


  • 3 ounces Gin (or Vodka, if preferred)
  • 1/2 ounce Olive Brine
  • a splash of Dry Vermouth
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 2 Green Olives


  1. Begin by chilling your martini glass: fill the glass with ice and water, then set aside.
  2. Add 1 cup of ice to your martini shaker.
  3. Pour gin, vermouth, and olive brine into the shaker.
  4. Place the strainer and cap on your cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  5. Dump the ice water out of your martini glass.
  6. Remove the cap of the cocktail shaker, leaving the strainer on. Pour the contents into your martini glass.
  7. Garnish with 2 olives.

Extra Dry?

If you like your martini extra dry (meaning with very little vermouth), try “rinsing” the glass with vermouth instead of adding it to the shaker. Pour a splash of vermouth into your martini glass after it's been emptied of ice water. Swirl it around to coat the glass, then pour the excess vermouth out.

Other Classic Variations on the Martini

The Martinez: This is the original martini recipe, which is said to date back to 1849. It contains 2 measures of gin, 1 measure of sweet vermouth, a dash of Angostura bitters, a dash of maraschino, and a lemon twist.

The 50-50: Use equal parts gin and vermouth. The heavy use of vermouth makes this martini very “wet”.

The Churchill: Winston Churchill’s idea of a martini is basically a glass full of ice-cold gin, no vermouth or garnish. Alfred Hitchcock agreed, declaring his recipe “5 parts gin and a quick glance at a bottle of vermouth”.

The Gibson: This is a variation in garnish - it replaces the olive with a cocktail onion.

The Vesper:This is the original James Bond martini. The recipe is specified in the first Bond novel – Casino Royale, published in 1953. The recipe is as follows:

‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Oui, Monsieur.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 glass
Calories 212
Calories from Fat18
% Daily Value *
Fat 2 g3%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


Flemin, Ian. Casino Royale: A James Bond Novel. New York: Penguin Books, 1953.

Barker, Alex. 1001 Cocktails. Bath, UK: Parragon Publishing, 2006.


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      5 years ago

      Happiness is indeed finding two olives! The dirty martini is my all-time favorite drink. I perfected by martini skills with the help of this video,


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