Let’s be frank, the Dirty Martini is the black sheep of the Martini family.
Love them, or hate them, they’re not going anywhere, and on occasion they do make your life a better place. though usually you regret it afterwards.
Regular readers will know I’m a purist, and like mine dry, dry, dry.
Well really, just give me a frozen gin bottle and get it over with… no, not really.
But I was a reluctant convert to the Dirty version.
I had to think hard about my first, but it was late in the evening at some bar in Vieux Montreal, where I was working in fine dining at the time, and no doubt I was out to impress someone of the brunette persuasion.
I had learnt quickly in Quebec to order a “Martini Cocktail” rather just a Martini, otherwise you get a glass of vermouth in a glass…. so anyways, lost in translation, there it was and I realised that this was a cocktail that you took your time to get to know, maybe not so sure at first, but once you got into the conversation, it had a lot to say.
(In case you were wondering, a gentlemen kisses, but never tells.)
The Dirty Martini is a conversational Martini, you sip it, you can’t rush it like its glamorous sister who gets all the attention, the Dry Martini.
But get it wrong, and its just getting a mouthful at the beach, all salt + sand. What you’re after is complexity, brininess, and still get a sense of the gin’s personality. It can be cloudy, or that lovely pink pictured, but the effect is the same, a savoury experience that doesn’t leave you reaching for the water glass.
Hard to pull off. Martinis are risky by nature, and these are a high wire act. So easy to get wrong.
Watch this clip of how I do it.
Getting Dirty at Home
At home I curate my Sicilian olives in Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, in the fridge. When I want to get dirty, its a teaspoon in the mix with my Gin + Vermouth.
Always stirred, I can’t say this enough.
Alternately you can get fancy and chop some green olives into a bottle of Vermouth, again you
Your choice of Gin should be based on either intensity of flavour or alcohol by volume. Navy Strength will do a treat, or think about Beefeater 24 or Tanqueray 10, or a strong craft gin like a Brooklyn or Aviation.
You still want to taste a Martini, not just brine, and again, Noilly Prat Vermouth is your go-to option.
If you’re mixing your own brine, test a little first before committing, the stronger the brine, the less you need obviously.
Cloudy or Clear?
The Dirty Martini carves her own path in life.
So some clouding marks her out as cocktail that’s distinct.
No disgrace there.
You want to know what you’re tasting, its almost like a forbidden fruit, or an affair you should think better of, dive deep.
PS: Apparently its good enough for James Bond in the Spectre movie!
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