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Two of the most common types of the cocktail Martini are “dry” and “dirty”.

A dirty Martini includes olive brine as an ingredient.

A dry Martini has less vermouth than a classic Martini, which usually has gin and dry vermouth in a 2:1 ratio.

Martini with stuffed olives

What is a Martini?

A Martini is a cocktail that is traditionally made with gin and dry vermouth in a ratio of 2:1. The mixture is stirred or shaken with ice and garnished with lemon or olive.

The key to a classic Martini is its minimal ingredients and clean, crisp taste.

A vodka Martini is made by replacing the gin with vodka.

Vermouth Noilly Prat

Dry Martini meaning

A dry Martini is a variation of a classic Martini. It is “dry” because it contains less vermouth, resulting in a less sweet and more gin-forward flavor.

Typically, it is stirred or shaken with ice and garnished with a twist of lemon or an olive.

Dirty Martini meaning

A dirty Martini includes olive brine or olive juice, in addition to the gin and dry vermouth.

This gives the cocktail a salty and briny flavor, an excellent choice for those who like their Martinis with a savory kick. It’s usually garnished with green olives.

Extra dirty Martini meaning

Extra dirty refers to a higher amount of olive brine in your Martini.

The amount of brine you add can vary based on personal taste.

If you prefer a more pronounced briny flavor, then order your Martini “extra dirty” (meaning more than a splash of olive brine).

A “filthy” Martini is another reference to a Martini with a generous amount of olive brine.

Is there vermouth in a dirty Martini?

Yes, there is usually vermouth in a dirty Martini; however, some recipes omit it in favor of more olive brine. You can make it or request in in whatever style you prefer.

Gin is a key ingredient in a Martini cocktail

Key Differences Between a Dirty and a Dry Martini

The main difference between a dirty Martini and a dry Martini is the addition of olive brine in the dirty version.

While a dry Martini is crisp and straightforward, a dirty Martini has a briny, salty flavor from the olive brine.

Dirty Martini and Dry Martini ingredients:

Dirty Martini contains gin, dry vermouth, and olive brine. The olive brine is what makes it “dirty” by imparting a salty and savory flavor.

Dry Martini contains gin and dry vermouth. It features less vermouth than a regular Martini, creating a crisper and less herbal taste.

Dirty Martini tips

If you’re a fan of Dirty Martinis, here are some tips to ensure a delicious drink:

Quality of brine: The quality of olive brine matters, so look for quality olives.

Opt for a brine that complements your taste, whether it’s a classic green olive brine or something more unique.

Experiment with garnishes: Try different types of olives and stuffings to find your favorite combination. Stuffed olives can add an extra layer of flavor to your Dirty Martini.

Balance the brine: Adjust the amount of olive brine to achieve the level of saltiness you desire. Start with a small splash and increase it gradually until you reach the flavor you want.

Chill everything: Ensure your Martini glass and ingredients are well-chilled before serving. Martinis should always be served chilled.

Stir, don’t shake: Stirring your Dirty Martini gently ensures that the ingredients blend smoothly.

Dry Martini tips

For a Dry Martini, try these tips to perfect your Martini:

Use high-quality ingredients: The key to a great Dry Martini is the quality of your gin or vodka. Invest in a premium spirit that you enjoy sipping on its own.

Careful with the vermouth: Stick to a small amount of dry vermouth to keep the Martini dry and the gin flavors front and center.

Experiment with garnishes: If you enjoy a citrusy note in your Martini, try different types of lemon twists or peels to find the perfect garnish for you.

Chill the glass: Chill your Martini glasses in the freezer or refrigerator before serving. A well-chilled Martini glass ensures a crisp Martini.

Stir with care: Stir the cocktail gently, so the flavors mix well. This results in a crystal-clear and refined Dry Martini.

Martini Variations

There are a wide variety of Martinis. They include:

Vodka Martini

A Martini made with vodka instead of gin.

Gibson Martini

Similar to a traditional Martini, but garnished with pickled onions instead of olives or lemon twist.

Sweet Martini

This Martini uses more vermouth than a dry Martini, resulting in a sweeter taste.

Perfect Martini

Made with equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth, creating a balanced flavor.

Churchill Martini

The Churchill Martini omits the vermouth altogether – in other words, gin over ice with a twist of lemon or olives.

Vesper Martini

This Martini features in the Bond book and film Casino Royale. It is made with gin, vodka and Lillet, shaken over ice with a twist of lemon.

Shaken Martini

As the name suggests, this Martini is shaken with ice instead of being stirred.

Read with confidence: I am WSET L2 Award in Spirits & Diagio Bar Academy certified.