In the Martini realm, countless terms accompany the cocktail’s myriad preparations. For those new to mixed drinks, it can get a bit confusing — like, why is it called a dry Martini if gin is very clearly a liquid?

One point of particular confusion, though, is variations on the classic Martini’s recipe that change the cocktail’s name entirely. What’s the difference between a plain old Dirty Martini and a Filthy Martini?

To put it in the simplest terms possible, a Filthy Martini takes the classy Dirty cocktail to Flavortown.

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Ordering a Martini “Extra Dirty” or “Filthy” adjusts the cocktail’s recipe to include a higher ratio of salty olive brine in the drink. The Filthy Martini hones in on the olive brine’s distinct taste in an otherwise Dirty Martini and turns it up to the max.

Let’s go back to the basics to learn this difference in cocktails. The classic gin or vodka Martini omits the olive brine entirely. The Dirty Martini is where things start to get crazy: Bartenders add a quarter-ounce of olive brine to the cocktail. Add more than that, and you’re slipping into Filthy Martini territory.

Some might even consider adding other salty or briny ingredients to kick the Filthy Martini up a notch. For the adventurous souls and Pickleback lovers out there, adding a bit of pickle brine might do the trick. Other pickled veggies, herbs, and botanicals can add extra oomph to an already over-the-top Filthy Martini.

Sometimes, it’s good to be a little extra.

A Filthy Martini with five olives for garnish
A Filthy Martini. Photo by Gabrielle Johnson

Our Filthy Martini Recipe:


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce olive brine
  • Garnish: 5 olives


  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with five olives on a cocktail pick.