The history of the Dirty Martini is a lot like the cocktail itself: cloudy. But our favorite origin story comes from the Yalta Conference, the historic meeting between Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Before the conference began, FDR, a man known for his love of very dry, very cold martinis, mentioned that he was feeling a little hungover. Stalin recommended his favorite cure-all: vodka and pickle brine. Unfortunately, vodka and pickles were not on the breakfast menu, but Churchill came to the rescue with his personal stash of gin and olives. Legend has it he dumped the coffee out of its silver pot and used it as a makeshift shaker, mixing gin with olive brine. The resulting cocktail was a bit stained (or dirty) from the coffee remnants, but no matter—that tipple was just what the doctor ordered. While we wouldn’t recommend drinking this cocktail at breakfast, its savory, briny flavor is perfect for whetting your appetite during cocktail hour.
Mix it Up
For an even brinier cocktail, swap out the gin for vodka. The neutral spirit will let the salty, tangy olive juice shine through.
In the mid-1930s, herbal orange liqueur brand Bénédictine held a nationwide cocktail contest and printed this prize-winning recipe in magazine advertisements. Named after the creator’s wife—not the English monarch—this drink was so good it transcended the glossy pages and now has a place in the archive of classic cocktails. It’s a balance...