As a kid I remember discovering I could mouth, “olive juice”, and from across the room and it looked exactly like “I love you”. Somehow it was funny to mouth, “olive juice” to a sibling, and then yell, “I didn’t say, I love you! I said ‘olive juice’!” Many reels of giggles resulted… how could that be so funny?!? So remembering those times, I have figured out an adult application for this trick mouth wordplay; picture a party and you are standing with these cute Mini-tinis at a table beside you. You sight the person who holds your affection and you mouth, “olive juice” to him or her, and when the person responds by coming over… how could he not?!? BTW, in this scenario he totally wouldn’t be freaked out by the appearance of you mouthing, “I love you”! Not at all, he would be intrigued, I’m sure of it! And then you have the perfect opener, “Did you know olive juice makes this cute mini-tini dirty?” He laughs thinking your cute when he discovers you’ve said “olive juice” and not “I love you”… and then mini-tini flirting ensues… okay, maybe not, and yes, I recognize I’m a dork for even imagining such a tale, but please report back if it works for you.
So I’m far from a tea-totaller, but when it comes to alcoholic beverages my go-to drink is wine. I love red wine, and generally I will choose a nice Cab. I also enjoy champagne when the occasion dictates, and it doesn’t take much to dictate it… a weekend brunch, or just toasting the finish of a Wednesday is just cause for a flute or two of champers. So venturing into libations with higher alcohol contents brings a fair amount of apprehension. The sweet fruity drinks with vodka or tequila are dangerous since for me it’s so easy to gulp them down like I’m seven again drinking Kool-Aid on a hot summer day. The dry martinis are fascinating to me with all their complex flavors, but just so strong. Go ahead and label me a lightweight, but if I drank one full-sized martini I’m sure the martini would win. No matter how wonderful the potent pool my cute olive floats in, I can’t have a martini beat me!
Enter my below recipe for a mini version of the classic drink. Very cute, sippable, no sugar-rush, pairs great with food, and I can finish with most of my faculties intact… Plus, (super bonus!) I get to try my cute olive heart idea I picked up from a similar Pinterest tomato heart. Aren’t they cute?
I’ve always been fascinated by the individual components, and how they come together to make a whole. I decided on Gin as the base. I love the scent of the juniper berries; it reminds me of a walking among the evergreens. And then there is the vermouth. I know most modern martinis have just a dash of vermouth, but I enjoy the marriage of flavors that come from the two kinds of vermouth. The light dry vermouth has a clean crisp refreshing quality with a slight sweetness. The red vermouth has a rich herby depth with a little more sweetness. The bitters provide another level of slight sweetness and spice to add to the complex flavor. And finally the olive juice, which makes it a dirty martini, adds a salty briny element to the mix for these Mini-tinis.
Slightly Dirty Mini-tinis (Shot Glass Martinis) (makes 2)
2 shots (6 tablespoons) Gin (or Vodka if you prefer)
1½ teaspoon Olive Juice
1 teaspoon Red Vermouth
1 teaspoon Dry Vermouth
4 drops Angostura Bitters
2 Olive Hearts
Combine in shaker with ice. Shake. Do a little mini-tini dance. Pour. Garnish with hearts. Enjoy!
Here are the steps I took to making the olive hearts.
Select the best olives.
Oops, maybe the big cracked one wasn’t the best, but he worked and still made a cute heart.