Mix Up Your Go-To Martini With Datu Puti Spiced Vinegar

Martinis have accrued a deliriously glamorous reputation in the cocktail world. James Bond notably favors a Vesper Martini. Humphrey Bogart famously "switched from scotch to martinis." Johnny Carson lauded "finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry" as the pinnacle of happiness. The cocktail is a classic, but like any classic, it can start to get a little tired after a while. That's where mixologists start switching things up a bit. 

Recipe developers have conceptualized savory martini variations like the Gibson, which is garnished with pearl onions instead of olives. A Dirty Martini requires just a simple lineup of ingredients you likely already have in your bar cart: gin, vermouth, and olive brine. Celebrity chef Alton Brown takes it a step further and makes an anchovy, hot pepper, and olive brine for his martini.

Today, we're talking about another way to mix up your go-to martini recipe, and it involves a secret ingredient you might not expect: Datu Puti spiced vinegar. In case you haven't worked with the product before, Datu Puti is manufactured by the company NutriAsia, and it's the number-one vinegar brand in the Philippines. Per Food & Wine, the vinegar is made with fish sauce, cane sugar, and garlic powder. Here's why it works for your martini.

Umami and acidity add unexpected flair

Datu Puti is the key to Los Angeles-based bar director Kelso Norris'  signature "Datu Datu" dirty martini, via Punch. To make it, Norris combines dry vermouth, gin, garlic, fish sauce, and Datu Puti spiced vinegar, then shakes and chills in the fridge for at least an hour. Norris recommends using a container with a lid for this step, per Food & Wine, as the mixture can be batched for bulk use and kept for up to a month. When you're ready to serve, simply stir the mixture, pour it into a chilled glass, and garnish with a pickled cocktail onion and Castelvetrano olives. 

Bon Appétit calls Castelvetrano olives "the best olives, hands down" for their uniquely firm, crisp snap and mild, creamy taste, which complement the slightly acidic brine of the vinegar. It makes for a martini even 007 himself would order. (Especially on Khao Phing Kan island.)

If this savory umami martini piques your interest, you could try using Datu Puti vinegar in other cocktails as well. A seafood Bloody Mary would benefit from the spiced, fishy flavor boost. Umami cocktails are having a moment right now and since folks use balsamic vinegar in a cocktail, why not Datu Puti?