Add This Brine To Your Next Martini And Taste Absolute Magic

pouring martini from a shaker
pouring martini from a shaker - Maximfesenko/Getty Images

The dirty martini is a little unique among cocktails. Although the origins of some of the most popular cocktails are obscured in legend, debate, and multiple creation stories, it's generally agreed that the martini first got the dirty treatment courtesy of a New York bartender named John O'Connor. He's the one who's credited with adding a bit of salty olive brine to a martini way back in 1901 in an experiment that gave this cocktail a pretty incredible upgrade. Fortunately, today's professional bartenders and home mixologists have continued to experiment with all different kinds of brine. And pepperoncini brine? It turns out that this particular type makes a pretty amazing dirty martini.

Brine might seem like a strange addition even in the world of savory cocktails, but it works in a similar way that salt works in other savory dishes. Adding brine — whether it's the brine from pepperoncini, from olives, or the brine from banana peppers for a spicy martini — does a few things, starting with bringing out the tart, botanical flavors of vermouth. At the same time, it takes the edge off any bitter flavors and adds a smooth, oily texture to the drink that makes it feel more substantial. Pepperoncini brine brings a tart, super mild heat that's downright delectable.

Read more: 26 Popular Vodka Brands, Ranked By Their Versatility

Pepperoncini Brine Is Perfect For A Savory Dirty Martini

pepperoncini peppers in a jar
pepperoncini peppers in a jar - The Image Party/Shutterstock

First, what is a pepperoncini, precisely, and what kind of flavors is the brine going to bring to a dirty martini? Although they look similar to banana peppers, they're not the same thing. Pepperoncini are small chili peppers that are commonly used as an ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, and their sweet and only slightly spicy flavor makes them incredibly versatile. If you know someone who hesitates at the idea of spicy heat, this is a perfect pepper for them. They're one of the mildest chilis out there, and that means that adding their brine to a martini will bring a tiny tingle of heat instead of a spicy, overpowering kick.

How do you mix up the perfect pepperoncini dirty martini? For starters, you might want to opt for making this a vodka martini instead of a gin martini, as the botanical flavors of gin might be a touch too much with the pepperoncini brine. The other thing to keep in mind here is that cold is key: Shake or stir in a cocktail shaker full of ice, and whichever you prefer, be sure to give the drink long enough to chill completely. A good rule of thumb is to add the same amount of brine as vermouth, at least for starters. Once you're familiar with how the pepperoncini brine changes the drink, you can opt for adding more or less brine and more or less vermouth to taste.

Use Those Pepperoncini Flavors In Other Cocktails, Too

bloody mary on wooden table
bloody mary on wooden table - Etorres69/Getty Images

Buying a jar of pepperoncinis just to make a few dirty martinis might seem like a stretch, but it's definitely not. In addition to being pretty brilliant when they're employed on pizza or in a salad, pepperoncini and the brine can be used as a fun way to upgrade other cocktails, too. The perfect Bloody Mary might call for vodka, tomato juice, and a dash of Worcestershire, but adding a pepperoncini on the side of the glass is downright delicious. The brine can also come in handy here, as a tablespoon or two will add a salty, savory depth to this brunch favorite. This also works brilliantly in a mocktail, and if you're not a fan of tomato juice, you might just find your go-to brunch drink in a tomatillos-based Bloody Mary. This swaps out red tomato juice for green tomatillos and still brings all the kick that comes with other classic ingredients like hot sauce and our new favorite brine, pepperoncini.

Pepperoncinis are also a great way to upgrade your margaritas. You've heard of a jalapeño margarita, right? You can definitely swap in pepperoncini if you want something that doesn't have quite the same heat as a jalapeño might bring, both with the peppers and with the brine. Pepperoncinis aren't just for your favorite Italian beef sandwich anymore!

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.