Dirty Dixie martinis infused with true ‘kuntry’ attitude

My boycott of Wal-Mart and other, rapacious big-box stores never extended to Borders, and I’m sorry to see it go; it was often the book-end to a Whole Foods visit. But the so-long sale did yield one benefit: a slim volume on martinis. Some purists would suggest that the book could have been even slimmer — say a page or two on the drink’s disputed origins (most at least agree that it was an American invention), a discussion of the absurdity of the just-whisper-vermouth-in-the-vicinity faction, a lament over James Bond’s subversion of the classic drink by subbing vodka for gin and then instructing it be shaken, not stirred, and then a recipe. Just one recipe.

The Martini Book, however, offers “201 Ways to Mix the Perfect American Cocktail.” Apparently anything served in a martini glass deserves the name, and I have no interest in mixing up an Alternatini with vodka, both sweet and dry vermouths, crème de cacao, cocoa powder and a Hershey’s Kiss garnish. But the book did start me thinking about how regional variations on a classic do come about. What if I were to look for something less Big Apple and more Big Hair, for example? Less savoir-faire and more county fair. Accordingly, the following recipes, all based on the same proportions and all variations on a “dirty” martini theme. For the record, all were stirred in a pint Mason jar to promote a more “kuntry” attitude.


The Okratini

2 1/2 oz gin (I used Citadelle)
1/2 oz dry vermouth (I used Dolin in all cases) a scant 1/2 oz. juice from a jar of pickled okra (start with less if skeptical) one pickled okra (or a half sliced on a long diagonal) for garnish


Fill pint jar at least halfway with ice, pour in all liquid ingredients, stir for about 30 seconds, strain into a chilled martini glass. Skewering the okra lengthwise with a sprig of fresh rosemary is both attractive and handy for retrieving it after it has absorbed some gin. There are several brands of pickled okra out there. I used Tabasco’s. Note: In deference to the Lone Star State, I tried this first with Dripping Springs Vodka but preferred it with gin.


The Jolive Martini

You’ll need jalapeño-stuffed olives for this one. Again, proceed as before, being cautious about the amount of juice used. This was the one case where I preferred the bluntness of vodka. Possible mas macho variations include skewering the olive in tandem with a slice of fresh jalapeño. Using barbed wire as a super-Texas skewer, however, is not recommended; you never know where it’s been.


The Tomatini

First, purchase a bottle of Old South Tomolives, “since 1947,” a proprietary product that looks pretty much like olives but has a fruitier flavor. Use two of them and proceed exactly as with the okratini in both quantities and procedure. The Tomatini juice works very well with the aromatic gin and vermouth — another reason not to be a martini whisperer.


Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more Drink articles

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.