[drink] Where to Find a Great Dirty Martini
Some of you might be wondering, what is a dirty martini? I know it sounds strange, but it’s simply vodka or gin, shaken with green olive juice, and garnished with two or three green olives. Some people might include vermouth, but I’m not a fan, and I always prefer vodka to gin. I’ve also heard there’s a black olive dirty martini, but I have yet to encounter it in real life.
I understand that this drink is not for everyone, but after almost eight years, it’s still one of my favorites. And I love ordering it when I’m at a bar or restaurant because, try as I might, I just can’t make it taste right at home. I’ve tried different types of olive juice, different types of vodka, different models of martini shakers and glasses, but I can’t get a satisfying result. So, I always look forward to going to one of my favorite dirty martini spots so I can indulge in one made by a professional.
That being said, be aware of your surroundings when ordering this drink. I enjoy a sports bar as much as the next gal, but I usually stick to beer when I’m there. Ordering a dirty at one of these establishments would likely get you a few strange looks from your server, the bartender and the patrons.
Here are some of my favorite spots to get a great dirty martini, listed in order from the very best to the really good. (There isn’t a lot of recipe variation in a dirty martini; all of these use the same components as I listed above):
1. Mort’s (923 E. 1st St.) – All the other places on this list have good offerings, but they are a distant second to this one. Mort’s dirty always has the perfect ratio of vodka to olive juice and is always shaken to perfection.
2. Sumo (11233 E. 13th St.)
3. Bella Luna (Bradley Fair, College Hill and New Market Square locations) – Be sure to head here an Thursdays, when martinis are only $5.
4. Hangar One (5925 W. Kellogg)
5. P.F. Chang’s (The Waterfront)
6. Bonefish (The Waterfront)
One tip I would offer to the novice dirty drinker is to order your first one “extra dirty.” Not only is it fun to say, but it will give you an idea of the olive juice ratio the bartender is using. And it’s a lot easier to dilute the olivey-ness of your dirty martini with ice than it is to order extra olive juice for a martini that’s too strong. You could also try getting your martini “on the rocks”, although my preferred serving style is “up”.
So, my fellow dirty drinkers…what are your recommendations?