Extra-Dirty Martini




My love affair with martinis began the first time Sean Connery ordered one as the incredibly dashing James Bond. I was smitten with the cocktail (and with him). But by the time I reached the legal drinking age, I found the traditional martini just a tad too potent in boozy flavor. Enter my other love: olives. The two come together to create a very cool cocktail. And now thanks to Matthew, it’s easy to sip in James-Bond style. -Kate

There was a period of time, somewhere around my early-to-mid twenties, when I would only drink dirty martinis. My affinity for this libation arose after a friend of mine introduced me to a properly made “extra dirty” martini. I will forever be thankful to him for making my acquaintance with this cocktail and the olives that accompany it.


Finding a bartender who can make this with the correct proportions of vodka to vermouth to olive brine is not as common as I would like it to be. There is one place, however, that I can always count on.

Whenever I travel to northern New England, I always make time to stop in to my favorite place for drinks and comfort food. Located in Eaton Center, NH, this pub is a little nook tucked away at the back of an 1880s boarding school – now turned into an inn at Crystal Lake.  This place will always – always – have the best dirty martini I have come across in my travels. The gathering room is called the Palmer House Pub. It is where the locals gather while the tourists and leaf peepers/skiers dine in the attached restaurant.


The bartender and owner, Tim, consistently creates a cocktail that leaves me impressed without fail – and noticeably more jovial than when I entered. This is especially true for his dirty martini. For some rhyme or reason – Tim has the ability to create a dynamic, yet expected and welcomed mixture of liquid delight.

This classic cocktail has a certain something about it which gives its consumer a sophisticated yet ahead-of-the-times vibe. Order one for yourself when you are out with colleagues or friends from out of town and then gauge their reaction. I guarantee they will think of you in a much brighter and slightly more mystical light.


I have tried to recreate this perfect mixture as best I can. The recipe below comes pretty close. I urge you to give it a try at your next gathering or your upcoming lazy, yet productive, Saturday at home.

I prefer my martini “extra dirty”, which just includes adding a bit more of the olive brine into the mix. You can play around with adding more or less of the brine, as everyone has a a slightly different palate. I’d be curious to find out which ratio you prefer…


Extra-Dirty Martini

Makes: 1


  • 2 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 5 teaspoons olive brine
Special Equipment
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Chilled Martini Glass


  1. In a cocktail shaker, mix ingredients together over a generous amount of ice. Shake. And then shake some more...
  2. Pour mixture into a chilled martini glass, garnish with a few olives and sip away!
Photos taken and styled by Matthew Petrelis.

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  • Doc

    Thanks for the help. Never thought to add a touch of vermouth.
    However Hendrick’s gin makes one fine dirty martini.

  • Johan

    Dear Matthew,
    I think your pictures and the recipe itself is really inspiring. Being a fellow drink-nerd, however, I really would like you to try this and say what you think.
    1) put a bottle of high quality gin in the freezer.
    2) put a bottle of noilly prat in the fridge.
    3) wait for both to be at optimum temperature respecitvely (about -18 deg C./5 deg C.) We don’t want to stir anything with ice, it will spoil good spirits not to mention what it will do to the wine.
    4) Pour 6 cl of gin into a chilled martini glass
    5) Pour 1 cl of noilly prat into (preferrably) the same glass, do NOT stirr.
    6) Pour 1tbsp of olive brine into the glass.
    7) Garnish with a single olive on a toothpick, still do not stir the drink.

    Enjoy and taste the saltiness of the brine mix perfectly with booze and at the end the relative sweetness of the wine.

    I do realize that taste is a subjective thing, but this is my favourite recipe. Not mixing with ice, but keepng all ingredients at optimum temperatures ensures no dillution of taste.

    Please tell me what you think!

    Brgds // Johan, Sweden