A martini is one of the all-time classic cocktails, and for good reason. Its small splash of dry vermouth smooths and moderates the sharp bite of the gin or vodka, but doesn’t detract from its clean, cold, minimalist appeal. The briny olive provides a pungent foil to the fugitive fruity notes of the liquor, cleansing the palate and creating that all-important — at least from the bartender’s perspective — desire for another. If the olive is your favorite part of the martini, you might want to take that a step further with a so-called “dirty” martini.
The Briny Deep
A “dirty” martini has little to do with the lewd double-entendre cocktail names popular in some bars. Instead, it’s a physical description. To make one, add a splash of brine from the pickle jar — usually just about equal to the amount of vermouth — to your shaker. Shake, strain and pour the drink as you normally would into your martini glass. The brine adds a slight brackishness to the crystalline purity of the gin or vodka, thereby “dirtying” the martini.