Dirty Martini Recipes: The Traditional and Filthy Variations

Updated November 4, 2021
Dirty martini

Traditional martinis are exceptionally clean drinks because they only contain clear spirits, but a dirty martini recipe strays from this pristine look. That's because brine (traditionally olive brine) is added to the gin and vermouth for additional flavor, aromatics, and a cloudy appearance.

How to Make a Dirty Martini

The classic dirty martini recipe contains dry gin, dry vermouth, and olive brine or juice, along with an olive garnish. While a classic martini is always stirred and never shaken, the addition of olive brine requires shaking in a cocktail shaker with ice in order to incorporate the juice/brine with the spirits.

Dirty martini

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • ½ ounce olive brine
  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • Ice
  • Spanish olives

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vermouth, olive juice, and gin.
  3. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled martini glass and garnish with olives.

Ultimate Dirty Martini Recipe

This ultimate dirty martini uses specific branded ingredients to create a dry, aromatic martini with the tang of olive brine.

Ultimate Dry Martini

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vermouth, olive brine, and gin.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with the blue cheese stuffed olives.

Dirty Martini Recipe Without Vermouth

For some people, vermouth just gets in the way of a good martini. In fact, Winston Churchill was famously known for enjoying his martinis sans vermouth, so essentially straight gin. Therefore if you want a more gin-ful experience, then drop the vermouth with this easy dirty martini recipe.

Dirty Martini Recipe Without Vermouth

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce olive brine
  • 2½ ounces dry gin
  • Ice
  • 3 Spanish olives for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the olive brine and gin.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass and garnish with the olives.

Vodka Dirty Martini Recipe

A vodka dirty martini is made in much the same way as a gin dirty martini; the main difference is in the spirit used.

vodka dirty martini with three olives

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce olive brine
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces premium vodka
  • Ice
  • 3 Spanish olives for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the olive brine, vermouth, and vodka.
  3. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled martini glass and garnish with the olives.

Variations on the Dirty Martini Recipe

Once you have your formula down for the dirty martini, you can use the proportions you like best to create one of these dirty martini variations. If you like a different ratio of gin:brine:vermouth (1:1:4) than called for in these recipes, then adapt it according to your own tastes.

Pickle Dirty Martini

Pickle juice adds a nice vinegary bite to your dirty martini. Use a dill pickle juice, or mix it up with garlic dill pickle brine or spicy dill pickle brine.

Pickle Dirty Martini

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce dill pickle brine
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces dry gin or vodka
  • Ice
  • Cornichon or cucumber slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the pickle brine, dry vermouth, and gin or vodka.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with the cornichon or cucumber slice.

Pepperoncino Dirty Martini

Try this as a zippy alternative to a dirty martini.

Pepperoncini Dirty Martini

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce pepperoncino brine
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces dry gin or vodka
  • Ice
  • Green olives or a pepperoncino for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the pepperoncini brine, dry vermouth, and gin or vodka.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with the olives and/or pepperoncini.

Jalapeño Dirty Martini

Looking to bring on the heat? Try this tasty blanco tequila variation of a dirty martini.

Jalapeño Dirty Martini

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce pickled jalapeño brine
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • Ice
  • Pickled or fresh jalapeño for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the jalapeño brine, dry vermouth, and blanco tequila.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with the jalapeño.

Dirty Gibson

A gibson is a simple twist on a martini; it is essentially a martini garnished with a cocktail onion instead of olives. This dirty gibson adds a dash of the brine from the cocktail onions.

Dirty Gibson

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce cocktail onion brine
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces dry gin or vodka
  • Ice
  • Cocktail onions for garnish.

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cocktail onion brine, dry vermouth, and gin or vodka.
  3. Add ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with the cocktail onions.

Get Down and Dirty Martini Style

If there's a drink that deserves your special touch, it's the dirty martini. So, don't shy away from a bit of experimentation. Use your preferred ratios along with interesting brines or pickling liquids to create your very own version. Next time someone asks you what's a dirty martini, you'll be able to answer that question and make them one.

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Dirty Martini Recipes: The Traditional and Filthy Variations