Here's How The Dirty Martini Got Its Name

How many people want to drink dirty water? Eat dirty vegetables? Dirty chicken? Dirty martinis, on the other hand, are a staple and obviously can't be as dirty as the name suggests. But where does the name "dirty martini" come from? According to, the dirty martini's origins came about at the very beginning of the 1900s, when a bartender in New York decided to experiment with the already established dry martini (dry vermouth and gin) by muddling in some olives. From there, he played with adding olive brine to the mix — "dirtying" the classic martini with olive juice — which eventually became the standard.

It may have taken years to catch on, but the dirty martini has become an absolute classic. One of its initial supporters was none other than the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who notes famously drank them throughout his stay at the White House.

Martini types and where they came from

Where a lot of major breakthroughs in history can be traced back to the exact year, day, and location they happened, the martini has a long, long history of not knowing exactly where it came from. Food52 recounts some of the various histories and origins that made the martini the classic cocktail that it is today. One of its many origin stories comes from a little mining town in Martinez, California, which to some would justify its namesake. As the story goes, a miner looking to celebrate at a local bar was given a "special" drink with what the bartender had on hand, which became the now renowned martini.

The martini seems to also have some origins on the East Coast. One of the two main ingredients in any martini is vermouth. As Food52 suggests, martinis were originated at a hotel in New York City, and likely named after the Italian vermouth company, Martini & Rossi. Whether you like it in New York or California, shaken or stirred, dry or dirty, the martini has certainly found its place amongst the most classic cocktails of all time.