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The Dirty Martini Dilemma


eje
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Well, I suppose just about any possible variation on the Martini is perfect to someone!

But on a practical level, what do you do when a friend or customer asks for a "dirty" Martini?

Try to talk them out of it?

Even though we don't use our fingers to grab olives at any of the establishments I work in, I just can't bring myself to dump olive brine into a drink.

One person I work with just suggested going a bit heavy on the orange bitters and vermouth, saying that really most people have never even had anything close to a Fifty-Fifty or even a good well made Martini. On some level, I suppose a Fifty-Fifty is sort of like a dirty martini.

And at the same time, tell them, "try this," and then tell them you'll take it back if they don't like it?

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I've heard Dirty Sue is the way to go. I believe it's made with olive juice, rather than just being a brine. Then again, personally, I have an olive aversion, and a dirty martini seem to me to be worst thing I could ever drink. Now, a 2:1 Tanq 10, Dolin Dry Martini with Celery Bitters and twist......

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Muddle the olives. And shake, don't stir to further bruise them up. Strain. Then the drink tastes like olives and not like salt water. They asked for a "dirty" martini not a "salty" martini. I can't imagine just dumping brine in :shudders:.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Muddle the olives.  And shake, don't stir to further bruise them up.  Strain.  Then the drink tastes like olives and not like salt water.  They asked for a "dirty" martini not a "salty" martini.  I can't imagine just dumping brine in :shudders:.

That actually doesn't sound so bad.

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I've heard Dirty Sue is the way to go. I believe it's made with olive juice, rather than just being a brine. Then again, personally, I have an olive aversion, and a dirty martini seem to me to be worst thing I could ever drink. Now, a 2:1 Tanq 10, Dolin Dry Martini with Celery Bitters and twist......

When pressed, an olive will give oil, not juice, right? Is there such a thing as olive juice?

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I've heard Dirty Sue is the way to go. I believe it's made with olive juice, rather than just being a brine. Then again, personally, I have an olive aversion, and a dirty martini seem to me to be worst thing I could ever drink. Now, a 2:1 Tanq 10, Dolin Dry Martini with Celery Bitters and twist......

When pressed, an olive will give oil, not juice, right? Is there such a thing as olive juice?

When olives are pressed you get a combination of liquids, crushed solids, and oil. Part of the process of olive oil production is separating the oil from the other stuff.

No idea if the olive oil production process has anything to do with the product Dirty Sue markets as "Olive Juice".

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I've heard Dirty Sue is the way to go. I believe it's made with olive juice, rather than just being a brine. Then again, personally, I have an olive aversion, and a dirty martini seem to me to be worst thing I could ever drink. Now, a 2:1 Tanq 10, Dolin Dry Martini with Celery Bitters and twist......

When pressed, an olive will give oil, not juice, right? Is there such a thing as olive juice?

When olives are pressed you get a combination of liquids, crushed solids, and oil. Part of the process of olive oil production is separating the oil from the other stuff.

No idea if the olive oil production process has anything to do with the product Dirty Sue markets as "Olive Juice".

dirty sue probably just replicates the structure of the brine. sugar, salt, acid, dissolved flavor.

back in the day (5 years ago) we made so many dirty martinis and we used two olives as garnish and an ounce of brine in a drink (2:1). well that brine/olive ratio doesn't exist in the jar so we had to buy dirty sue.

we would really use all the brine in the jar and still be left with half a jar of olives.

it was easy, it made people happy, its quite the acquired taste, and its the gateway for drink structures that aren't so full of sugar and extract.

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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From the Dirty Sue Website:

Dirty Sue  - The Original Dirty Martini Mix - is the collaboration of two long time Los Angeles bartenders, Eric Tecosky & Terry Fradet. On an otherwise ordinary shift at the restaurant Jones Hollywood, the two ran out of olive juice (brine) in a full jar of olives and said, "How come no one bottles olive juice?" One year later the product was launched.

Dirty Sue is twice-filtered olive juice brine made from premium olives and comes in an attractive bottle made to be stored alongside other bar staples such as Rose's Lime Juice, sweet & sour and grenadine.

So, yeah, it is bottled olive brine. Still no idea about the production process, as they don't detail it.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I would think that a good way to make Dirty Martinis would be to take some flavorful but not too salty brine-cured olives and soak them in vermouth for some period of time. Then discard the olives and use the infused vermouth as the brine flavoring element in the drink. Alternatively, you could explore infusing the olives into gin if the vermouth's stability over time was an issue.

I would think that a good way to make a Dirty Martini would be to get an oversize glass, rinse or mist the glass with some olive-flavored and/or brine-flavored liquid, and then pour in a wet Martini such that there was a significant collar.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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I would think that a good way to make Dirty Martinis would be to take some flavorful but not too salty brine-cured olives and soak them in vermouth for some period of time.  Then discard the olives and use the infused vermouth as the brine flavoring element in the drink.  Alternatively, you could explore infusing the olives into gin if the vermouth's stability over time was an issue.

I would think that a good way to make a Dirty Martini would be to get an oversize glass, rinse or mist the glass with some olive-flavored and/or brine-flavored liquid, and then pour in a wet Martini such that there was a significant collar.

olive infused vermouth sounds awesome but i really think the drink is mainly about acid-salt sensations and not aroma.

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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I would think that a good way to make Dirty Martinis would be to take some flavorful but not too salty brine-cured olives and soak them in vermouth for some period of time.  Then discard the olives and use the infused vermouth as the brine flavoring element in the drink.  Alternatively, you could explore infusing the olives into gin if the vermouth's stability over time was an issue.

I think Dale DeGroff, in one of his books, suggests something similar: empty about half the brine from a jar of gourmet olives, top it off with vermouth, and use that.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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olive infused vermouth sounds awesome but i really think the drink is mainly about acid-salt sensations and not aroma.

I anticipate that a reasonable amount of salt would find its way into the infused vermouth or gin. That wouldn't work with the rinse idea, but it still might work to amp up the aroma in combination with using some infused vermouth or gin.

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