A Dirty Martini is a risky order. While you can always be certain the drink will be served up and salty, you can never be sure just how salty it will be or certain of the quality of the olives. It’s hard to tell how long that plastic tub of brine has been aging away in the bar’s refrigerator.
Luckily for anyone who’s acquired a taste for Dirty Martinis, there’s a new product on the market that allows you to leave the sketchy brine behind once and for all: The Bitter Truth’s Olive Bitters. Made from a mix of green and black olives sourced from Italy that go through a process of extraction, maceration and percolation to keep the flavor true, the bitters contain an impressive concentration of olive flavor and a touch of herbaceousness and salinity.
Unlike most bitters you might be used to mixing into cocktails—think Angostura and Peychaud’s—these aromatic additives are briny and savory rather than spiced or fruity. And that mouth-puckering flavor lends itself beautifully to the Dirty Martini: Add a couple of dashes to your favorite Martini variation and the bitters will transform your drink into a dirty delight. Best yet? You’ll know exactly what you’re getting every time.
“The greatest benefit of this product is its consistency. Brine can often vary in taste and texture,” says Kevin Doherty, beverage director of Tanner Smith’s in NYC. “Brine can often overpower olive flavor with salt, losing some of the subtleties. The olive bitters have more of a pure, clean taste and finish.”
Doherty’s favorite way to use the olive bitters is in a dirty twist on the classic Vesper, which splits a base between gin and vodka, giving the flavors in the bitters more room to shine. Because the olive bitters aren’t as salty as jarred brine, he also adds a small dash of saline solution to give the drink the savory punch it deserves without sacrificing that olive flavor. The next time you’re craving a Dirty Martini, try this 007-approved twist.
Dirty Vesper Martini
Courtesy of Kevin Doherty
1.5 oz London Dry Gin
1 oz Vodka
.5 oz Dry Vermouth
2 dashes The Bitter Truth Olive Bitters
1 dash saline solution
3 green olives, speared (optional)
Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
Stir until chilled.
Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with olives, if using.