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  • Writer's pictureGil's Gourmet

Crafting the Perfect Martini

Whether your preference is Gin or Vodka, dirty or dry, shaken or stirred, there’s really nothing more satisfying than a good martini.

We here at Gil’s HQ have a strong martini preference. Might come as no surprise that folks who specialize in olives and olive oils love a dirty martini. There’s just something magical that occurs between good quality booze and brine.

How we mix our martinis…

Makes 1 Dirty Martini

2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

1/2 ounce olive brine

2-4 olives for garnish


Add the gin or vodka, vermouth, and olive brine to a shaker filled with ice, stir or shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a skewer of olives.

The Best Brine for Better Martinis

Not all olive brine is created equal, no sir!

Our love for martinis has made us a little obsessed with crafting the perfect brine. We want to make sure our brine has balance. Yes, saltiness is a key factor but we want to make sure the olive essence is present as well. We also don’t want a brine that is too salty, potentially overpowering the spirits, and overthrowing the flavor of the martini. That’s when we crafted our Olive Juice Dirty Martini Mix (imagine a bunch of foodies clumped together in lab coats, because that’s really how this went down, lol). This mix consists of pure filtered olive juice that has been seasoned with sea salt. The filtration of the olive juice gives us a cleaner, crisper brine that absolutely achieves that martini balance.

In true Gil’s Gourmet fashion, we didn’t stop there! After we perfected our base brine we wanted to experiment with other martini derivatives. Some folks like a twist of lemon in their martinis, others (like yours truly) often enjoy a spicier martini. So, back to the ‘tipsy’ lab we went! We crafted two flavored mixes using our OG Olive Juice Dirty Martini Mix as a base; Lemon Dirty Martini Mix and Spicy Dirty Martini Mix.

We kept it simple with both of these flavored mixes, again with keeping martini flavor balance in mind. Our Lemon Dirty Martini Mix is infused with actual lemon peel. This flavor is different from lemon juice, a little more nuanced and fragrant since located within the peel are natural oils. Same sort of methodology went into the Spicy Dirty Martini Mix. We used a combination of fresh and dried chilies. Fresh chilies for that verdant pop and dried chilies for a little smoky edge, all steeped in our filtered olive brine.

More than Just a Garnish

We hold olives in the highest esteem (you saw how much fuss we made over martini brine!). They really are a more than just a garnish when it comes to martinis. If we take the wayback machine and travel to the 1880s (peak martini time), bartenders began adding olives to martinis because they paired so well with the aromatics in gin. As the quality of vodka improved, olives were adapted to those martinis as well. And, to be honest, who doesn’t like a little snack with their cocktail?

Pairing Olives with Martinis

If this were a dating app, here would be the best matches or the ‘swipe rights’.

We are a bit of a purest when it comes to this combination and prefer the buttery, silky-smooth Castelvetrano Olives. These Italian olives are mild, less bitter, and pair very well with traditional Gin. For a stuffed olive match, we love love love the Chardonnay Almond Stuffed Olives with a Dirty Gin Martini. California Chardonnay is added to the brine of these olives reducing the overall sodium content, letting the natural nuttiness of the almonds and the moderately tangy green olive to shine through.

While both Gin and Vodka are considered neutral spirits, Gin typically is infused with additional ingredients-namely juniper berries-that impart that classic pine flavor. Vodka, on the other hand, is neutral enough that we can get a little crafty with our olive pairings. For our Dirty Vodka Martinis, we lean towards these Sun-baked Olive Oil Cured Olives. That process of sun drying and EVOO curing removes a lot of bitterness from the olive, giving these a semi-sweet and earthy flavor. When we’re getting stuffed, olive stuffed-that is, we like the classic pairing of Vermouth Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives and dirty vodka martinis.

Now that we are getting a little tart and tangy (as well as dirty), we enjoy pairing our lemony martinis with either our Zesty Lemon Stuffed Olives, for maximum lemon flavor, or our Tuscan Herb Mixed Olives. The Tuscan Herb Olive Mix is a combination of green and black olives marinated in Italian seasonings as well as hints of baking spices. It is this savory and aromatic blend that matches well with the equally aromatic Gin.

We get a little twisted (get it-twist) when it comes to our lemon brine and vodka pairings. Our Mother Earth Sicilian Olives are plump and mildly sweet, offering a nice balance to the tangy martini. If you would like a touch of heat along with your lemon brine and vodka, we recommend our Chardonnay Jalapeño Stuffed Olives. These medium-hot olives add a nice punch without the burn.

As much as we would like to pair our Spicy Dirty Martini Mix with Gin, we find that pine and heat are not always the best of friends. So, we naturally gravitate to Dirty Vodka Martinis when we want to get spicy. As for olive pairings, if you’re a glutton for spice we recommend our Habanero Stuffed Olives. If you like the heat but not the ‘burn’, we love pairing our Spicy Dirty Martinis with our Chardonnay Garlic Stuffed Olives! Talk about yum! The pickled garlic and green olive combination add a tasty savory element with any additional heat.


Shop our Martini Mixes & Martini Approved Olives Online

Ready to get mixing? All of the mixes and olives listed in this article are available at our online store We ship hither and yon and would love for you to taste the difference a good brine and a good olive make to your martini.

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