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.
Though the drink itself is the epitome of effortless cool, the Martini’s history is full of frenzy and dispute. Some say it’s a bastardized Martinez, a drink created at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco for a flush gold miner who demanded a drink be named in his honor. Others say it was immaculately conceived at New York’s Knickerbocker H...