Dirty martinis are having a moment
Nothing feels quite as indulgent and rebellious in a post-pandemic world than sipping from an impractical glass in a cozy, poorly ventilated bar. Throw all health consciousness to the wind and party like it’s 1922. Hell, maybe we’ll take up smoking again. Perhaps this is why the old classic dirty martini is having such a moment.
The “dirty” part of the martini – i.e., the olive brine – is arguably having a bigger moment than either the vodka or gin. Brennan’s A Weis Man’s Martini is a more savory, dimensional twist on the classic with cornichon brine, pearl onion, dill and dried chile. Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria’s Deal or No Deal cocktail takes a sweeter, more surprising direction with Contratto Vermouth Bianco and kalamata olive juice, topped with a drizzle of olive oil. Recently, Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery offered a limited-run, sweet-and-salty dirty martini ice cream that would appeal to true brine-heads. John Viviano & Sons Grocers hooked them up with Sicilian olive brine and, yes, there was gin and vermouth in the ice cream.
For Planter’s House’s co-owner and bartender Ted Kilgore, the perfect martini has been a white whale he’s chased for almost 10 years. “In theory, a martini is simple, but the proportions and presentation are essential,” Kilgore said. His final formula for the Martini – Planter’s House Style combines three different gins, two dry vermouths, olive bitters, lemon tincture and Castelvetrano olives, which are famous for their bright green color and buttery-sweet taste. “Not to sound narcissistic, but I thought, ‘People are going to drink this,’” Kilgore continued. So onto his house classics menu it went, the only cocktail to be added to that side of the menu in two years. It’s been in the top three selling cocktails at the bar ever since, bringing vodka drinkers to the gin side.
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