What Separates An Extra Dirty Martini From The Original Cocktail?

A martini is a classic concoction of gin and vermouth. It's famous for many reasons, not the least of which was making Ernest Hemingway's character Frederic Henry "feel civilized" in "A Farewell to Arms." (Take note, though: If a bartender serves you a chilled glass of gin or vodka sans vermouth, it's not actually a martini.) The savory and "dirty" versions of the beloved cocktail are just as popular as the standard iteration. A classic dirty martini is served with a small dash of olive brine and dry vermouth, but if you want a dirtier, brinier take, ask for it extra dirty.

The one ingredient that sets dirty and extra-dirty martinis apart from the standard version is olive brine. While an original martini recipe tastes crisp with herbal notes and a clean finish, an extra-dirty martini is cloudier and has a salty kick thanks to the olive juice. This ingredient also brings out vermouth's sweetness if your drink is extra dirty, and its mouthfeel is denser than that of the classic version. You might also want to try a pickle martini, which is simply the dirty variety but with pickle juice instead of olive brine.

Who brought olive brine into the equation, anyway?

There are plenty of myths surrounding the martini's origin. According to one legend, a gold miner once entered a bar in Martinez, California and ordered Champagne. The bar didn't have any, so the bartender offered to make a special drink for him instead. That drink was, of course, a martini, and that's how the iconic cocktail was allegedly born. The recipe itself was first published in the 1888 "Bartender's Manual."

Another story claims that the martini was actually invented in San Francisco, where a miner traveling to Martinez supposedly ordered a drink on the way. The miner asked the bartender to surprise him, and he received the now-famous drink in return. Alternatively, some deny that the cocktail has American roots at all, instead claiming it was invented somewhere in Europe.

The origin of the extra-dirty martini is just as murky. According to a widely believed story, a bartender named John O'Connor was the first to mix olive brine into a martini. Others claim that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a big fan of the classic version and that it was his idea to add a salty twist to the crisp drink.