Kalamata Martini

Martinis aren’t for everyone, and preferences are just as diversified as any melting pot analogy out there. My best advice? Find flavors you like and start with those as a base to play around with. Do you prefer gin or vodka? Olives, no olives, maybe a cocktail onion? Dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, screw it – I want a cosmo!? Play around and try things.

For me, it’s gin and no olives. I’m not typically a fan of the little weird looking salty fruits. That is… until I meet the Kalamata.

It all started with Tapenade at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul. Someone ordered it, I tried it, and I can. not. get. enough. of. it. I could go on about the magical warm french bread with the perfect amount of crunch, or the savory goat cheese that balances the wine-like flavor of the olives perfectly, but I won’t. This post is about cocktails!

Getting to the point – I knew I had a new martini to make. I decided, why not sub in the one kind of olive I know that I like and run with it. Pick a base? Check – Gin. Pick an olive? Check. For vermouth, I opted this time around for red, particularly Dolin Rouge which I picked up at one of my favorite local spots: Solo Vino. I bought it specifically for some Manhattans I was making, but thought it’s rich sweetness would make an interesting paring with the flavor of the olives. (Quick warning, some brands of red vermouth can be VERY overly sugar sweet, so watch out for this if you want to make this exact version. If you’re unsure, I’d recommend just subbing in a regular white dry vermouth instead.)

Now, this is in no way a breakthrough cocktail recipe, but definitely one I’ve found I enjoy. Add some french bread and goat cheese as a complimentary appetizer, and thank me later.

Kalamata Martini Recipe:



  • 3 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz red vermouth
  • 1/2 oz kalamata olive juice
  • Kalamata olive for garnish

Add an ice cube and a little water to a martini glass, and swirl until the sides are coated and child. (Tip I got from a pro: put the glass into the freezer, and keep it there while you make the rest of the drink so it gets extra chilled). Add all of the ingredients to the cocktail shaker, without ice and shake vigorously. If you went for super-chill, remove the cocktail glass from the freezer, and strain the ingredients of the cocktail shaker into the martini glass. Garnish with a Kalamata or two, and enjoy!

What’s your go-to martini recipe?