What Is A Vodka Martini Dirty? (Recipes, Taste + More)

There are numerous ways to drink vodka, but for a lot of enthusiasts, nothing compares to a dirty vodka martini. After all, a dirty vodka martini is a classy drink designed to impress.

In case you have never had a dirty vodka martini before, you might be wondering what a vodka martini dirty is and if you will like it I looked into it, and here is what I found!

What Is A Vodka Martini Dirty?

A dirty vodka martini is a vodka martini that contains olive brine. Additionally, most dirty martinis are served with olives mixed in the drink or on skewers. As for the name, “dirty” is about the martini’s appearance. Since a martini is traditionally clear, the addition of olive brine gives the drink a cloudy appearance, hence the name.

If you want to learn more about the dirty vodka martini’s origin, what dirty vodka martini tastes like, and how to order one, keep reading!

Why Do They Call It A Dirty Martini?

Traditionally, a martini is made from clear liquors like vodka and vermouth, giving the martini a clean and transparent appearance.

However, the addition of olive brine and olive garnishes gives the martini a cloudy appearance. As a result, people dubbed it a dirty martini.

What Does It Mean When A Vodka Martini Is Dirty?

When a vodka martini is called dirty, it simply means that olive brine or garnishes have been added to it. Along with the vodka martini’s cloudy appearance comes a saltier taste, too.

What Is The Difference Between A Vodka Martini And A Dirty Vodka Martini?

Generally, the biggest difference between a vodka martini and a dirty vodka martini is that a dirty vodka martini contains a splash of olive brine and an olive garnish.

Moreover, a dirty vodka martini has a foggy appearance because of the olive brine. On the tongue, a dirty vodka martini is also saltier.

How Do You Order A Dirty Vodka Martini?

Typically, a dirty vodka martini is served “up” in most bars, so there is no need to request that you want your dirty vodka martini to be served as such.

In case you want your dirty vodka martini to have ice, ask the bartender to serve it “on the rocks.” Otherwise, your bartender will automatically give you a chilled martini without the ice.

Additionally, never order a dirty vodka martini ”straight up.” When you say that, you imply that you do not want vermouth in your martini, and you will only get vodka with olive brine.

Moreover, when a bartender asks about your preferred garnish, ordering lemon or onion instead of olives is okay. Otherwise, you will automatically be given olives for garnish.

However, make sure that you know the kind of filling you want your olives to have. After all, blue cheese in olives is delicious on the side, but not everyone likes olives in their drinks.

If you are not sure exactly how you want your dirty vodka martini to be, always ask the bartender for help in exploring your options.

What Does Extra Dirty Vodka Martini Taste Like?

Since an extra dirty vodka martini will have equal amounts of olive brine and vermouth, your martini will taste saltier than a dirty vodka martini, and you will not be able to taste the alcohol.

What Turns A Plain Martini Into A Dirty Vodka Martini?

What Turns A Plain Martini Into A Dirty Vodka Martini?

A plain martini turns into a dirty vodka martini when you add a dash of olive brine to a martini. While olives are the usual garnish used, lemon twists and onions are also acceptable.

How Many Calories Is In A Vodka Dirty Martini?

A standard 123 grams drink of dirty vodka martini typically has 250 calories, assuming that you use 1-ounce of dry vermouth, 3-ounce of vodka, and 9.6 grams of olives.

Is A Dirty Martini Better With Gin Or Vodka?

Whether gin or vodka is the better spirit to use on a dirty martini depends on your preference.

Generally, gin has a richer flavor which contains hints of juniper berries and herbs. However, since this combination tastes medicinal to some people, they like vodka better for martinis.

Compared to gin, vodka offers a high alcohol content without any predominant flavor, allowing you to enjoy the taste of vermouth and olive brine better.

Is There Vermouth In A Dirty Vodka Martini?

Vermouth is an integral ingredient in any martini, so expect that your dirty vodka martini will have a dash or two of vermouth.

Nonetheless, if you order your dirty vodka martini straight up, the bartender will give you only the vodka mixed with olive brine and olive garnish without the vermouth.

However, since vermouth gives your martini a distinct flavor, most bartenders recommend that you keep the vermouth in your drink for optimum taste.

What Is The Best Vodka For Dirty Martini?

Your choice of vodka brand has a huge impact on the overall taste and quality of your dirty vodka martini.

To guarantee great results, here is a list of the most recommended vodka brands to use:

  • Belvedere
  • Absolut Citron
  • Crystal Head Aurora
  • Reyka
  • Beluga Gold Line
  • Hangar 1
  • Grey Goose
  • Finlandia
  • St. George Spirits Green Chile Vodka
  • Woody Creek
  • Ketel One Citroen
  • Purity Vodka
  • Russian Standard

How To Make A Vodka Martini Dirty Without Vermouth?

To make a dirty vodka martini without vermouth, simply pour 3 ounces of vodka into a shaker filled with as much ice as you prefer. Ideally, the shaker should only be half-full.

Next, add an ounce of olive juice. If you want a better-tasting martini, make sure that you get a higher-quality olive brine or jar of olives.

Lastly, shake the shaker for half a minute and pour the drink into a glass. You can garnish the drink with olives, lemons, onions, or a combination of all three if you are feeling adventurous.

Check out our related articles to learn what a vodka soda is, what a vodka gimlet is, and what grape vodka is.


A dirty vodka martini can be a daunting drink to order in a bar, but a dirty vodka martini is something you should try.

Just like most cocktails, a dirty vodka martini comes in numerous forms. In case you’re not sure how you prefer your dirty vodka martini, simply ask your bartender.

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