Dirty Martini with Experimental Gin

A dirty martini made with gin that was steeped with orange peel.

Elizabeth likes to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes she’ll create little mixtures, as experiments – to see what they do together, or how they taste. I’m quite used to seeing jars around the kitchen, the contents of which are unknown (to me).

Elizabeth steeped gin with tangerine peels in a jar on the windowsill for a good portion of the summer, and when she served this, she said “This one’s experimental.”

It’s officially a dirty martini, with gin and brine from kalamata olives. This experimental gin, though, has become a topic of conversation throughout the rest of the summer and fall. We agree that it was steeped too long, which gave the gin a bitter taste, from the peels. The brine serves to mask it here, but it’s probably not our favorite way to make – or drink – a dirty martini. Note to self!

This wasn’t a fail, but the gin is so bitter that it does require a bit of thinking and planning. What we usually do is combine it with regular gin to balance it out.

In a pinch, and we were apparently in a pinch this day, we have used a brine mixture from olives that are also soaked in oil. In a pinch, mind you, you can strain the oily brine through a coffee filter, which will catch the oil. Then, you’ll also need to wipe off each olive with a paper towel. Sometimes this can leave a little oil slick on the surface of the martini, but otherwise no harm done.


  • 3 oz. Experimental Gin

  • 1 oz. olive brine (filtered and wiped of oil)

  • Olives


  • Steep gin and several tangerine slices and peels in a Mason jar. “Most of the summer” is too long, but there must be a happy medium to impart a nice taste.
  • Combine brine and gin in a shaker with ice; shake until satisfied.
  • Serve with multiple olives and enjoy!
Tasted on August 12

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