I love drinking martinis—all kinds of martinis—but the salty, ice-cold dirty martini is my first gin-based love. They are particularly good when consumed in an inflatable hot tub, which is where I do most of my drinking these days.
I do not, however, love leaving the hot tub to mix one. Getting out of my Coleman for any reason is not my favorite, but getting out to measure and stir and strain? No thank you! This disdain for leaving warm water led to me creating a streamlined briny boy; it still requires some measuring, but no stirring our straining. This means I get to return to the hot tub whole minutes earlier than I would have if I had mixed a traditionally made martini. This is valuable to me.
One thing that has always troubled me slightly about this genre of martini is the dilution from adding brine, which is mostly water. This can be somewhat mitigated by replacing some of the vermouth with brine, as it keeps your gin-to-other liquids ratio the same, but it’s still a more dilute drink than a classic 3:1 or 5:1.
So, instead of stirring gin, vermouth, and brine with ice to chill and dilute, I chill the gin in the freezer, keep the brine and vermouth in the fridge, and build it all in an (also chilled) glass, allowing the brine to do the diluting. After a lot of taste testing, I settled on a ratio of 2 1/2 ounces freezer-cold gin, and 1/2 an ounce each of fridge-cold dry vermouth and brine.
Not all brines have the same salinity (or acidity, for that matter), but I’ve tried this recipe using a super aggressive cornichon brine; a sweeter, fermented green tomato brine; and a few that fall somewhere in-between, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. If the brine in your fridge is super salty, try 1/3 ounce and see how that works for you. (I have been known to eat Maldon flakes straight from the salt well, so my palate might be a little more sodium chloride-tolerant than yours.)
This martini requires remembering to pop your gin—and ideally a glass—in the freezer beforehand, but that’s not very hard, and the other two ingredients should be in your fridge already. To make this streamlined, salty, fairly stiff treat, you will need:
2 1/2 ounces freezer-cold gin
1/2 ounce fridge-chilled dry vermouth
1/2 ounce fridge-chilled brine
Pour everything into a chilled coupe or martini glass and gently stir to combine. Garnish with your favorite pickled thing. Repeat as needed.