Personally, I am a fan of the Dirty Martini, possibly because I have a thing for green olives. While the original recipe is typically made with gin instead of vodka, what makes a martini “dirty” is the olive brine which gives it a delightful salty flavor…unless you don’t like olives, olive brine or that salty taste, in which case you could opt for either a dry or wet martini.
A dry martini is typically made with less vermouth that a traditional martini. A wet martini typically has more vermouth in it and a perfect martini contains equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth. As in all alcoholic beverages, they are highly versatile and can be made to taste.
Food that Pairs Well with A Dirty Martini
Do to its’ naturally salty nature, foods that pair well with a dirty martini include either bland or sweet cuisine. Caviar, crostini, cheese and olive trays, honey-roasted nuts, and smoked fish are some fun appetizers to have with your dirty martini. If you are looking for a main dish, do not overlook a nice steak with a little horseradish on the side, salmon, or black Angus beef sliders (cooked rare).
Is the dirty martini an acquired taste? Yes actually: there are plenty of people out there who are not fans of this alcohol-rich concoction, which could be why there are now appletinis, chocolatinis, fruitinis and every other sweeter variation of the original. The other day, I happened to swing by a burger and sushi place in Springfield, Missouri and le bartender wanted to make me something “special” which turned out to be a mango-martini. While it wasn’t bad, I am not sure if some of the sweeter drinks should be in the same category as the original classics.
The point is that unless a person loves the taste of vodka, gin and/or vermouth, or is a martini veteran, not everyone is going to like this particular drink. We all can’t be me, right?
History of the Dirty Martini
The exact origins of the dirty martini are unclear: some sources credit a Russian hangover cure that called for vodka and pickle juice, others insist it was invented in San Francisco by a miner making his way to Martinez, and still others say that it was created in a bar in Martinez for a miner (probably the same one). It also may have been named after the Martini and Rossi vermouth brand in the 1800s. The point is that it can be difficult trying to figure out who invented what drink…especially if said drink is alcoholic in nature.
In short, this booze has seen its’ share of ups and downs, but it will always be a classic, even though it may rise and fall in popularity depending on the times.
Almost every bar in Springfield, Missouri serves dirty martinis, but be sure to swing by the Highlife Martini Lounge on South Avenue if your appetite is wetted for one of these delightful classics.
Remember to drink responsibly!
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