The Flavorful Way Alton Brown Upgrades His Dirty Martini

If you didn't know Alton Brown was a martini man before COVID, you probably do now. In a Salon interview, Brown revealed his go-to quarantine drink was a "well-made martini." The celebrity Food Network chef went on to proclaim, "Martinis are my drinks. I make excellent ones. I feel very civilized when I drink them. And if I was only going to have one drink a week, it would absolutely be a good gin martini."

But Brown is not alone in his love for a good martini. The Martini Hour reports that when it comes to imbibing this cocktail, the host of "Good Eats" can count himself in the same company as Hollywood legends like Humphrey Bogart as well as, prolific writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald. And of course, we would be remiss not to mention the fictional "shaken not stirred" spy we all love. We all want to look like James Bond when we drink one of these babies.

What goes into a martini? Per Festival Wine and Spirits, a martini contains gin or vodka mixed with vermouth and garnished with olives. To create Brown's signature martini, he turns to his favorite brand of gin for the base. Brown shared on Twitter that he loves a good Beef Eater Gin, calling it "lovely." But when he wanted to make a dirty martini recipe at home and upgrade this cocktail in a truly flavorful way, he put the "dirty" in its name with a special ingredient.

It's all about the brine

In an episode of "Quarantine Quitchen," Alton Brown observes that a lot of people may think adding olive brine is all there is to a dirty martini. However, it's possible to do more. When he makes a dirty martini, he likes to switch from gin to vodka for the simple reason that you do not taste the alcohol as you would in a classic martini. The vodka he recommends in the episode is of the Greek variety and is called Kástra Elión. Per the brand's website, it is actually made from "hand-picked Greek olives." According to Imbibe Magazine, a bartender said this vodka "makes the best dirty martinis ever," noting that it "has just a slight salinity to it, which plays well with the brine." But that's not all Brown does for his upgrade.

The Iron Chef moves away from the traditional olive brine and instead riffs on this key ingredient, creating his own "superior brine." What exactly does Brown use to create this dirty concoction? In the video, he breaks out his blender to mix together olives, brine, water, salt, a piece of anchovy, and some hot pepper to make what he calls a "longer-lasting brine" that can make more cocktails. This super-brine ends up being green in color, so don't freak out because your dirty martini looks swampy. That's by design.