How to Make a Dirty Martini

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The martini is one of the world’s most popular cocktails, and the dirty martini is one of the trendiest varieties.  Whether you use gin or vodka, presenting your guest with a great tasting dirty martini will make you a hit at any party.  Here is how to make a dirty martini cocktail with vodka.


-Vodka:  you can use any variety of vodka, but I prefer good value vodkas (read: inexpensive, not cheap).  I like 360 Vodka (which I’ve found for as little as $17 per 750 ml bottle) and Sobieski Vodka, which retails for approximately $15-$18 for a 1.75 liter bottle.  I do not like to spend over $20 for a fifth—with so many good values, why should you?  Use straight vodka, not flavored vodka.

-Dry Vermouth:  You can use any number of dry (white) vermouth.  I like Martini & Rossi, but I’ve used Noilly Prat and Tribuno with satisfactory results.

-Olives:  I invest in good quality cocktail olives, but sometimes they are hard to find.  If you have to use a supermarket brand, make sure you get queen-sized olives. 

1.  Make sure you start with your vodka in the freezer and the vermouth and olives in the refrigerator.  The colder your ingredients, the less ice you’ll melt when you mix them.  Additionally, you’ll want your martini glass in the freezer, so that the drink does not warm up too quickly after being poured.

2.  Preparing the tumbler.  Before I mix the ingredients, I like to chill the tumbler.  You can keep it in the freezer, but I usually take ice & water and shake it until the tumbler is frigid.  Pour out the ice & water and dry with a cloth.

3.  Fill your tumbler with ice. 

4.  Pour your vodka, olive juice and vermouth using a shot glass.  For a dirty martini I like a 7 to 1 to 2 vodka/vermouth/olive brine ratio, so I find that 3 shots and a half shot of vodka followed by a half-shot of vermouth and a full shot of olive brine will fill most martini glasses.  You may have to adjust the sizes (not the ratio) for your martini glasses.  You can use more or less olive brine, if you prefer.  However, in any case, when making a martini, I do measure precisely—loose pouring leads to sloppy cocktails. 

5.  Put the top on the tumbler & shake.  I usually give between 3-5 shakes, as any more shaking will only serve to “bruise the booze” and water your martini down. 

6.  Pour into the martini glass and top with two to three olives.  I like to spear them on a toothpick.  Since olives are the centerpiece of a dirty martini, spearing them makes it easier to pick them out of your drink.   

7.  Serve and enjoy!


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