Have you ever had a friend be super stoked to serve you something and when you took a big bite or a swallow, you realized that it’s absolutely terrible?! This happened to me recently with the classic martini. This is the story of a dirty martini gone bad.

Just recently my bestie and I had gone to the Grownup Funtime Store known as Specs in Arlington. It was my first time. They have every kind of alcohol. Heck, I am pretty sure that they even had some experimental moonshine in the making. They also have cheese! A liquor store with cheese! These are thinking people. They also have more olives than Kroger. I loved every moment of the two hours we spent meandering up and down the aisles.

In the midst of this, he decided to buy ingredients to make us martinis. Now personally, I love a perfect martini, but he had never had one, and apparently, he had never made one.

We were having dinner over at his place one night with our spouses, and he decided to crack open his martini ingredients. Hmmm. He hands me my martini glass.

There is this moment when you realize the predicament that you are in. You quickly scan the room to decide if you can spit it out discreetly. 

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The thoughts that went through my head:

Can I spit it back in my glass?

No, Renee’! That’s just rude.

Do I really have to drink this?

Should a martini really taste like this?

At that moment my bestie who had just served us both looked at me with wide eyes and spat his drink right in the sink. Then he said “That is terrible. Is this right?” Whew! At that moment, I swallowed hard and couldn’t help but chuckle. Fine, I outright laughed at him. This was a martini failure. (Turns out he used equal parts Vermouth, Gin and Olive Juice. Oof.)

To keep you from having such a fail in the future, I wanted to share with you a simple vodka martini recipe today. 

How to Make a Martini

You are most likely going to need to do some shopping. A martini requires a few specific ingredients. We’ll stay out of the gin vs. vodka debate in this post. There are strong opinions on either side, and we are not in the business of making enemies. Whichever way you sway is quite alright with us.

What’s in a dirty martini?

  • Green Olives
  • Olive Juice (purchased in its own bottle, or drained off a can/jar of green olives
  • Vermouth
  • The best quality gin or vodka that won’t bust your budget
  • Ice
  • Cocktail Shaker (This is the exact one that I have, and I love it.)

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Fun Fact: You can substitute olive brine for olive juice. 

It is amazing how little juice is actually in a jar of olives. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to make a martini to realize that I have a full jar of olives and no olive juice. There is an easy solution to this problem. You can just make new olive brine (olive juice) yourself. 

The ingredients:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • White vinegar

Check out the recipe here

To Shake or to stir! That is the question.

Just Google the topic, and you will get some serious debate. Seriously, I got lost in a Quora “What is the difference between ‘shaking’ and ‘stirring’ a martini” conversation on this issue. Personally, I like to shake it like Bond (James Bond) but again, we don’t judge around here. 

It has been said that shaking alcohol can bruise it. But if you are like me and enjoy a nice cold cocktail, I say shake it like you mean it. Shaking aerates the Vermouth and provides a smoother flavor.

Now, if you are a purist and you want to stir your martini, just make sure to mix it for longer than you think that you should. You want the ice to start breaking down a bit, too, and slightly dilute the drink. That slight dilution will add to the overall taste.

Optional: Pop your martini glasses into the freezer for 20 minutes or so for a nice chill while you prep the ingredients. If you want a frosty look for the glass, you’ll need to keep them in the freezer for 3-4 hours in advance.

Dirty Martini Recipe

  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 2 1/2 oz Vodka or Gin
  • 1/2 oz Olive Juice (I recommend Boscoli )
  • 1 or 2 Green Olives
  • Ice

Add all ingredients to shaker. You should be able to double the ingredients for two with plenty of room for ice, no problem. Insert strainer and cap the shaker. Shake in the Cocktail Shaker for 45 to 60 seconds. Pop off the cap and with a thumb over the strainer slowly pour the martini into your (preferably chilled) martini glass.

A note on the olives

You can add the green olives after shaking if you would prefer. Also, not all olives are created equal. Garlic-stuffed olives are fantastic but not in a martini. For the love of all that is tasty, do not serve someone an olive with a pit in it. Stick with cocktail olives and all will be well in your bartending world.

Perhaps in the future, we can get into more fancy martini recipes such as watermelon martinis and such. You can also have a martini without olives and a lemon twist or add cocktail onions to your martini. For now, let’s just keep it simple and dirty!


P.S. What are you favorite kind of classic cocktails?

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