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How to make a delicious Dirty Martini

Have you ever tried a Dirty Martini? Do you know what makes a Dirty Martini “dirty”? The Dirty Martini is a classic cocktail which comprises vodka, dry vermouth and olive brine. The Dirty Martini is believed to date back to 1901, when it was invented in New York, but it wasn’t for many years that it obtained a sizeable fan base. The word “dirty” refers to the addition of olive brine (the salted water in which olives are commonly packaged in) which makes the drink somewhat cloudy. It is a strong drink with a high alcoholic content, which should be sipped slowly! We look at how to make a Delicious Dirty Martini in this article, as well as looking at some variations to change it up a bit.

Dirty Martini

You will need (measurements will make one serving):

  • a cocktail shaker
  • a Martini glass
  • ice cubes
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) dry gin
  • 7.5ml (1/4 fl oz) olive brine
  • 7.5ml (1/4 oz Dry Vermouth)
  • a cocktail stick or toothpick and olives to garnish
  • lemon wedge (optional)


  1. Add all of the ingredients (apart from the olives and cocktail stick/toothpick!) to the cocktail shaker
  2. Add plenty of ice to your cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake the mixture vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of your Martini glass (optional).
  5. Strain the mixture into your Martini glass.
  6. To garnish, add an olive or two to a cocktail stick and place in the glass, or just drop an olive in to the glass so that it rests at the bottom.
  7. Enjoy!


  • Use a dash of extra virgin olive oil instead of the brine to add a hint of olive flavour (see photo below). Take care not to add too much or you will end up with a film of oil on the top of your cocktail.
  • Try using caperberries as a garnish, instead of the olives. Use the brine from the caperberries too, to make a “Filthy Martini.”
  • Use vodka in place of the gin to make a Vodka Martini.
  • For a “bone dry” Martini, simply omit the Dry Vermouth, but use it to “rinse” the inside of your Martini glass, so as just to leave a trace of the fortified wine.
  • For a “wet” Martini, increase the amount of Dry Vermouth. You can experiment from 3:1 gin to Dry Vermouth up to 1:1 (20ml to 60ml of Dry Vermouth in our recipe above).
  • For a “Dirty Gibson,” replace the olive brine and olives with cocktail onions and brine.

Dirty Martini made with a dash of olive oil

Have you tried our tips on how to make a delicious Dirty Martini? Do you have any other interesting flavour combinations to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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