Quick and Easy

Dirty Martini Salad Dressing

March  9, 2023
15 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Welcome to Plus One, a column by Food Editor Emily Ziemski where those small-but-mighty additions that instantly upgrade whatever’s on the table—ingredients, sauces, toppings—are the star of the show. Today, a dressing made in homage to her favorite drink; shaken, not stirred.

As we predicted in our top cocktail trends of 2023, the gin martini is, and will continue to be, a star. Vodka martinis have always landed a tad flat for me, and I believe it's the lack of herbal aromatics—like juniper and coriander—that gin is known for. My go-to drink order lately is “an extra-dirty gin martini, and please can you give me a little extra cup of olive brine, and maybe a few more olives too.” My quest for this piquant saltiness is also top of mind for me when I’m cooking.

This dressing is my weeknight treat, my little “I deserve a dinner that’s so good right now” pick-me-up, a sparkling delight in these bleak winter months. Leaning heavily on olive brine, I add tangy smooth mustard to gin—oh yes, there’s a splash of that in there— plenty of herbs to highlight the spirit’s herbaceous qualities, plus minced garlic. These big, bold flavors are a dream for simple vegetables and leafy greens. My aim here was to make this dressing so unforgettable that it’d make you want to abandon your whole life to go make it for Harry Styles, à la Olivia Wilde.

My chosen pairing here is a bed of little gem lettuce. I love little gem for its tenderness and slight sweetness, along with its delightful crunch. That said, this dressing is all-purpose and can also be used on other veggies and even as a marinade, if you’d like.

Alternately, if you don’t want to drag out the food processor, you can put all ingredients in a jar and shake by hand until combined. Just be sure to finely chop your rosemary first as the food processor won’t be there to help you break down the herb further!Emily Ziemski

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup olive brine (preferably from green olives)
  • 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon botanical gin (I like Tommyrotter or The Botanist, or Seedlip for a NA version)
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. In a small food processor (or a medium bowl), combine the brine, mustard, and garlic. Pulse to combine (or whisk if using a bowl). Using the opening in the top of the food processor, slowly stream in the olive oil until thoroughly combined. If mixing by hand, slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking vigorously. Add the gin, rosemary, coriander, and salt. Pulse or whisk until thoroughly combined. Taste, then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Serve over your favorite veggies or tossed with fresh, crunchy salad greens. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; whisk or shake to re-emulsify before serving.

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Recipe by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52

15 Reviews

Carrie G. November 26, 2023
This was so yummy! I used this on top of a very simple salad of greens and fresh Parmesan. It has so much flavor that I would recommend going easy on the drizzle so you don’t overwhelm the salad. A little goes a long way.
FrugalCat November 19, 2023
Also good with pickle brine.
Linda D. May 30, 2023
Thought it was bland
My husband and I love this (we love martinis and olives). It has become my only salad dressing,
Melissa Y. May 5, 2023
Not only is it a flavorful and fun salad dressing, it’s fantastic as a chicken breast marinade!
Ironwood C. April 10, 2023
I'm all in for a good martini. This dressing is very, very good. And with all of the artisanal gins appearing, you canchange its flavour profile and feature some of the herbs in your particular gin. Tonight I used Tanqueray Malacca, which has less juniper and more citrus and peppercorn, so I bolstered the black pepper element.
Emily Z. April 11, 2023
I love the idea of drawing out different flavor elements each time using a different gin. Brilliant!
I’m making a decent compensation from home $60k/week , which was astonishing under a year prior I was jobless in a horrendous economy. I was honored with these guidelines and presently it’s my obligation to show kindness and share it with Everyone,
𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝗠𝘆 𝗡𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝗩𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲,
Joetta G. March 29, 2023
This is hands down my new favorite salad dressing. If you don’t like bold tastes you’ll hate it, as it’s chick-full of them! But as someone who really loves a punchy dressing I’m in heaven. Will be putting this on everything!!!
Joetta G. March 29, 2023
Oops, "chock-full."
Emily Z. April 11, 2023
Punchy is definitely the best word for this dressing!
spencer_pdx March 24, 2023
This is the worst recipe, by a long shot, I’ve made in a long time. This is for two key reasons: first, this was so salty it was nearly inedible. I had to add additional lemon juice to help, which it did, but it was still far too salty. I used castlevetrano olives from Fred Meyer/Kroger’s olive bar by their gourmet cheese.

Next, the taste of the gin was just gross. I used high quality gin—in fact, I made myself a martini with it as I was cooking. It was at this moment I realized booze does not belong in salad. Do not make this.
Lynda R. November 9, 2023
Being kind is free.
If, in your estimation, two key ingredients (salty olives and gin) are unappealing in a salad, perhaps just have a second martini to quell the snark factor. Cheers!🍸
Garlic March 21, 2023
This was great to go with the fried chicken my husband ordered for dinner
MissBecks March 21, 2023
I like my Martinis so dirty that I just say Filthy. I’d like a filthy, dirty gin Martini.