Banana Pepper Brine Is Your Secret Weapon For Perfectly Spicy Martinis

dirty martini with blue cheese olives
dirty martini with blue cheese olives - Johana Mlichova/Shutterstock

If you're a fan of briny, salty flavors, then one cocktail you should consider sipping on is a dirty martini (or heck, even a filthy martini if you want something that will really knock your socks off). These drinks are made with a simple combination of gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and olive brine. That flavor combo gives them a complex, salty taste with notes of botanicals.

Now, while there's plenty to love about this simple drink, one way to mix things up is to add a dash of heat to your martini. And what better — or simpler — way to do that than to swap the olive brine for pickled banana pepper brine? Banana peppers are a fairly sweet, mild pepper that only has a touch of the spiciness you might expect. The brine they're usually packaged in has a similar salty flavor to that of olives, but with subtle heat and a tangier taste. All that lends a unique zing to your dirty martini.

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How To Make The Perfect Banana Pepper Brine Martini

three jars of pickled banana peppers
three jars of pickled banana peppers - Rich Carson/Shutterstock

If you're going to use banana pepper brine in your dirty martini, you'll first want to decide whether to go the whole hog, completely replacing the olive brine, or to leave some of it in to combine with the banana pepper juice. If you go the latter route, you'll wind up with less heat, a more subtle banana pepper taste, and a drink that's closer to the original dirty martini. If you'd rather go banana pepper brine only, between ¼ and ½ an ounce per serving should do the trick, but you can increase or decrease this amount according to your taste. Just remember that the more you add, the spicier your drink will be, and the less the subtle notes from the vermouth and gin will shine through.

Another consideration to keep in mind is whether to use gin or vodka, both of which are commonly used in standard dirty martini recipes. Vodka has a more neutral flavor, which may work better with the briny additions. On the other hand, the juniper notes in gin could complement the subtle spice of the banana pepper, lending additional complexity to your drink.

Finally, don't forget the garnish! Rim the glass with a banana pepper slice, go with a classic olive, or add another dimension to the beverage by skewering on a chunk of blue cheese. Another choice could be to finish things off with a dusting of chili pepper flakes.

Other Fiery Additions To Shake (Or Stir) Into Your Dirty Martini

Martini with skewer of olives
Martini with skewer of olives - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

Banana pepper brine isn't the only way to switch up your dirty martini. Another way to make a spicy rendition of this cocktail is to use the brine from tangy pepperoncini. Although these look similar to banana peppers, they're less sweet and a bit hotter, which is great if you're really looking to turn up the heat. Or, go with spicy pickled onions if you want to keep some of the sugary notes.

Alternatively, you could opt for the even spicier pickled jalapeño brine, which has earthy, grassy notes that can complement the botanicals in a gin-based martini. For those who really want to bring the fire, habanero brine would work, too. Just keep in mind that this type of pepper is considerably hotter, so a little goes a long way. Still, habaneros have fruity, floral notes that can pair nicely with the vermouth in your martini.

Besides mixing up the brine, another choice is to play around with garnishes and presentation. Make a hot and dirty martini with a red pepper rim on your glass, for instance. Or, stir in a dash of hot pepper sauce for both color and heat. No matter which method you choose, there are plenty of ways to add some spice to your briny, boozy beverage.

Read the original article on Daily Meal