By now, you probably know that the Dirty Martini is the preferred cocktail of trendy celebs and NYC’s cool kids. The drink, which simply requires an added splash of olive brine to the classic Martini specs, makes the savory stirred sip easier to drink, and has inspired countless variations from beverage pros across the city.
While some are swapping olive juice for pickles or cocktail onions, others are bringing in exciting and unexpected ingredients like MSG; some are bringing the heat with peppers.
Read on for some of the best and most creative takes on the Dirty Martini from NYC hot spots.
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The Hot & Dirty from the Mermaid Inn
This vibrant orange-tinted sip gets its kick from hot sauce and pickled peppadew, the latter of which adds a bright cherry hue that lingers at the bottom of the glass. Add in vodka and olive juice, and you get a briny, well-balanced cocktail that pairs perfectly with oysters and a side of Old Bay fries.
Dirty M From Double Chicken Please Back Room
From Double Chicken Please’s “underground menu” comes the Dirty M, the Dirty Martini-Margarita hybrid of our dreams. The drink is made with shiso-infused mezcal, bergamot, semi-dry vermouth, and a touch of house-pickled olive brine. The sip is slightly smoky with welcome vegetal notes.
Rockefeller Martini From Lodi
It seems like everyone is talking about the Rockefeller Martini at Midtown’s newly-opened Lodi. The Art Deco-inspired gem in Rockefeller Plaza serves up a deconstructed Dirty Martini riff made using the drinker’s choice of gin or vodka and vermouth secco. It’s served with an eye-catching array of garnishes, including pickled onions, fennel, and (of course) Castelvetrano olives.
Martini Niçoise From Pastis
Want to get in on the Dirty Martini trend but prefer black to green olives? This variation is made for you. Combining Grey Goose vodka, vermouth blanc, and niçoise olives, this drink boasts a deeper, richer flavor than its green olive-based counterpart. Unsurprisingly, it also stands up to Pastis’s rich, buttery sauces and famous fries.
Martini Blond From Bar Blondeau
Situated on the rooftop of the Wythe Hotel, Bar Blondeau offers more than an amazing view of Manhattan’s skyline. It’s also home to an impressive drinks program, including this fresh take on the Dirty Martini. Made with citrus-forward Malfy gin and herbaceous cucumber botanical vodka, the cocktail packs a punch. Add in blond vermouth, lemon oil, Castelvetrano olives, and pickled onions, and you have a golden-hued drink that effortlessly toes the line between Gibson, Vesper, and Dirty Martini.
MSG Martini From Bonnie’s
Umami is the key to this Cantonese-inspired homage to the classic drink. Made with your choice of Grey Goose vodka or The Botanist gin, the recipe subs blanc vermouth for traditional Chinese shaoxing wine and calls for both olive brine and MSG. It’s just one reason why reservations are nearly impossible to snag at this Williamsburg hot spot.
Dirty Pickle Martini From The Penrose
Upper East Side mainstay The Penrose dirties its Martini by adding spicy pickle brine to Tito’s vodka for a fiery take on the drink. With the addition of an adorable miniature pickle garnish, you’ve got a drink that’s as Instagrammable as it is delicious.
The Martini From Lullaby
Though the Lower East Side’s Lullaby is best known for its boozy Dole Whip, its olive oil-washed Martini should not be overlooked. Made with olive oil-infused St. George Terroir gin and Dolin dry vermouth, this ice-cold Martini is piney, smooth, rich in body, and surprisingly easy to drink. Even the Martini purists in your life will be won over by this olive-scented take.