At Denver’s Mediterranean restaurant, El Five, the Dirty Martini is an olive-lover’s dream come true. “Using Spanish olive oil to fat wash the gin was kind of a no-brainer for enhancing the typical Martini,” bartender Ky Belk says. “I love the aromatic notes the gin picks up from fat-washing, as well as the slight change in mouthfeel. Subbing in briny Manzanilla for vermouth was another nod to the region we are representing in the restaurant.” Belk kicks it up another notch by infusing his own olive brine with aromatics like peppercorns, sherry vinegar and rosemary. “In my experience, Dirty Martinis are really about the salt in the olive brine,” he says. “The salinity and complexity of the brine, paired with the more subtle character of vodka or gin, makes it easier to enjoy the classic cocktail with food.” Stir up this flavor bomb of a cocktail, grab a dish of olives and some salty ham, and live your best, briny life.
El Five Martini
Spanish Olive Oil Fat Washed Gin
1 750-mL bottle Gin
2 oz olive oil
- Combine the gin and olive oil in a container with a lid.
- Shake vigorously and store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.
- Place container in the freezer until the olive oil completely separates and solidifies.
- Remove the olive oil layer, then strain remaining gin through a coffee filter to clarify.
Herb-Infused Olive Brine
12 oz Olive Brine
.5 oz sherry vinegar
.5 oz Salt
2 pieces Lemon peel
1 oz (vol) black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
- Combine all ingredients in a container with a lid, and shake until salt is dissolved.
- Fill with olives and marinate at least 48 hours.