One of the first drinks in any bartender’s Bible is the Martini, imbibed in one form or another for at least two hundred years. Plenty are turned off by the straight version of this infamous concoction, basically a glass of gin or vodka with either a splash or a spritz of vermouth depending on how “dry” the drink is prepared. Needless to say, this whopper isn’t for those whose palates pucker at alcohol’s natural sting. Fruity versions of the classic have cropped up in the last fifteen years, softening the cocktail’s edge, but drinks such as the “Appletini” aren’t for everyone. A savory solution is the Dirty Martini, a chilled cocktail prepared the same as a normal Martini, but with the addition of olives and a splash of brine.
A brief history of the Dirty Martini:
Most accounts track its origin to Martinez, California, in the 1850s. Stories vary as to the details of its conception, but the most colorful tale involves a prospector complaining about the price of a bottle of whiskey at a Martinez saloon:
…The bartender made up the difference by mixing a small drink of gin and vermouth, garnished with an olive.
When the Martini first gained popularity, it was made with sweet, red vermouth, sugar, and orange bitters, a drink more closely related to the candy cocktails that have recently appropriated the “-tini” suffix. During the wild days of Prohibition, underground bartenders began to substitute white vermouth to match current tastes, thus creating the sharp, mildly sweet bombshell on a stem we know today.
Martinis vaulted back into the worldwide consciousness with Ian Fleming’s James Bond character, known for requesting the drink, “shaken, not stirred.” However, ordering in line with the world’s favorite fictional 007 may not ensure the best tasting Martini, dirty or otherwise. According to this article, “Many gin and whiskey cocktails are stirred because shaking is said to ‘bruise’ the spirit,” or dilute it by melting a greater ratio of ice. Shaking could also produce ice shards in the finished drink if not strained properly.
Taste of Florida’s new Dirty Martini mix captures the classic taste of the original using olive brine, guaranteeing your cocktail tastes like a high-end treat and not an artificially flavored abomination. TOF founder and CEO Doug McWhorter and his wife began testing recipes in their kitchen twenty years ago. Currently, their real juice mixers are enjoyed by cocktail connoiseurs across the country. Contact us for information on carrying Taste of Florida’s wide array of flavors in your bar or retail establishment.