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3 Dirty Martini Recipes, Plus Other Martini Variations You Need to Try

All aboard the martini train!

<p>5PH/Getty Images</p>

5PH/Getty Images

When it comes to classic cocktails, there’s nothing more satisfying than a cold, smooth, martini. However, if you’re looking for a bit more depth of flavor, the dirty martini may be your best bet. The “dirty” element is olive brine or olive juice, which joins the standard duo of gin and dry vermouth, and brings plenty of pungent, salty olive flavor to the drink. When it comes to dirty martini recipes there isn’t room for a ton of variation, but you can pick your favorite gin, opt for vodka over gin, or add even more olive brine for a dirtier take on the cocktail.

However, if it’s variety you’re looking for, the martini is a great place to start. In addition to a classic martini and a dirty martini, you can also get seasonal and whip up a pumpkin martini, or experiment with additional ingredients such as Chartreuse for a vibrant and peppery Chartreuse martini. Keep reading for a few dirty martini recipes, as well as several martini variations you should know!

Related: 37 Easy Cocktail Recipes, Each With 5 Ingredients or Less

Classic Dirty Martini

<p>Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images</p>

Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

This is our classic martini recipe, but it includes notes from a New York-based beverage director on how to whip up a dirty martini as well. To make a classic dirty martini you’ll need gin, dry vermouth, and olive brine, as well as olives for a garnish. You can also include a dash of orange bitters if you like. Easy enough, right?!

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Beefeater Dirty Martini

<p>Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski</p>

Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski

A dirty martini isn’t a complicated drink to make, but the types of gin and dry vermouth you use make a difference, because each one has its own distinct taste. This dirty martini recipe calls for Beefeater London dry gin and Dolin dry vermouth, as well as olive brine and an olive garnish.

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Dirty Vodka Martini

<p>The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck</p>

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

This dirty martini recipe acknowledges that some drinkers like gin, while others prefer vodka. Aside from the main ingredient, you’ll also find dry vermouth and olive juice or brine, as per usual. If you want a really dirty martini, add more olive brine.

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Espresso Martini

Getty Images
Getty Images

For a trendy take on a martini, try an espresso martini. It’s made with vodka, espresso coffee, coffee liquor, and simple syrup, which means it provides a decent buzz and caffeine boost, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. We like including simple syrup to balance out the bitterness of the espresso, but feel free to skip it if you don’t like sweet cocktails.

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Related: 6 Buzz-Worthy Coffee Cocktails That Are Simple to Make

Vesper Martini

Getty Images
Getty Images

Can’t decide whether you want your martini with vodka or gin? Try the Vesper, which calls for both spirits as well as Lillet Blanc and a lemon twist as a garnish. This classic cocktail was invented by Ian Fleming—author of the iconic James Bond books—so you know it’s worth a try.

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Pumpkin Martini

Joseph De Leo
Joseph De Leo

If it’s fall and you want a martini, make it a pumpkin martini. This seasonal drink is made with pumpkin pie spice, vodka, half and half, canned pure pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, yielding a cocktail that’s rich, sweet, and satisfying. Make it even more festive with a sugar and pumpkin pie spice rim, and enjoy!

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Chartreuse Martini

<p>The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar</p>

The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

If you’re a fan of the classic martini, we encourage you to give the colorful Chartreuse martini a whirl. It’s basically a gin martini with Chartreuse, which adds herbaceous and peppery notes to the drink.

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Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini

<p>Liquor.com / Tim Nusog</p>

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

This riff on a smoky martini calls for vodka, single malt scotch, and an anise-flavored liqueur called Pernod. The result is a cocktail that’s smoky, savory, and smooth. Garnish with a lemon twist and you’re all set. 

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Sour Apple Martini

<p>BHG / Ana Cadena</p>

BHG / Ana Cadena

The 2000s are having a moment, so why not embrace the blast from the past and whip up a sour apple martini? This version is made with vodka or gin, though we prefer vodka. It gets its green hue and apple flavor from apple schnapps, and even more flavor from lemon-lime soda and some maraschino cherries. For a version that’s a bit lighter and less sweet, substitute the soda for lemon-lime seltzer instead.

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Related: 31 Big Batch Cocktails Guaranteed to Delight a Crowd

Chocolate and Orange Martini

<p>The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram</p>

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Chocolate and orange work in cakes and other pastries, so why not pair ‘em together in a martini as well? This cocktail is made with a base of vodka and white crème de cacao, and also includes orange liqueur for a burst of citrusy flavor. Serve with a melted chocolate rim for the full chocolate and orange effect. You won’t regret it!

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