If you’ve ever cared to ask my opinion on the Dirty Martini, you’d find a generally gregarious and soft spoken me replaced by an opinionated jackass shouting down the masses for their frivolous tastes. I know that’s undoubtedly pretentious but all bartenders are allowed one hated drink be it the Mojito or Fuzzy Navel. It doesn’t mean we won’t make them, but it does mean that every time you ask for extra, extra-extra and Christina Aguilera “triple-r” Dirty Martinis that we feel entitled to a little grumbling.
I’m not alone in my complaint. “Head Mixtress “of PS7s, Gina Chersevani, compares Dirty Martinis to a salt lick. In her characteristic Long Island way, with a torrent of gestures and raspy voice, she jokes that she should coat the walls with salt and charge people per lick. Too right! But I think she may have found a better method to supplant the dreaded extra-dirty salt-delivery system with her Peter’s Pickled Martinis.
It turns out that D.C. has been a long proponent of pickled martinis. A 1959 Time magazine article reports:
“They are still at it: last week Washingtonians were drinking something called a ‘dillytini’—a martini with a two-inch green bean, pickled in dill vinegar—which tastes, according to one experimenter, ‘like crabgrass.’”
As I sip Gina’s pickled martini, I must say that crab grass is far from my mind. As I snap into a pickled pearl onion—reminiscent of a Gibson—all the flavors of heavily spiced vermouth come to mind and it marries perfectly in an alcoholic stew. You can order it with vodka or gin, but gin is Gina’s favorite. Mine too.
Chef Peter Smith, owner of PS7s, provides Gina with a steady stream of pickled vegetables including pickled artichokes, ramps, cherry peppers, string beans and even kumquats. (Thus the name Peter’s Pickled Martini.) Thankfully we reap the results of Peter’s pickling prowess.
This all begs the question: if you’re in a pickle, need a pickle or getting pickled, what better drink exists? So for savory sippers, dumping the Dirty Martini may yield life changing results not just for the sake of variety but to save the ire of your ‘tender.