Dirty Lemon Martini on a table in a Studio
(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
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Dirty Lemon Martini

This salty-sweet martini marries preserved lemon, a pickled, salty-tart fermented citrus often used in Moroccan cuisine, with a citrus-forward gin (try Tanqueray 10, Citadelle’s Jardin D’Été or Malfy Con Limone). Note that the vermouth is blanc, not the standard dry, which makes for a slightly sweeter note that balances out the saltiness of the preserved lemon. If you like it drier, stick to dry vermouth; if you like a dirtier martini, add more lemon brine.

Preserved lemon can be found at well-stocked supermarkets and online.

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.


measuring cup
Servings: 1
  • 1 thin slice preserved lemon, for garnish
  • Ice
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce bianco or blanc vermouth (such as Dolin)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons preserved lemon brine, to taste
  • 1 strip fresh lemon peel


Time Icon Total: 5 mins
  1. Step 1

    Thread the preserved lemon slice with a cocktail pick and set in a cocktail coupe or martini glass; transfer to the freezer.

  2. Step 2

    Add ice to a mixing glass, followed by the bitters, gin, vermouth and lemon brine. Stir to dilute and chill, about 10 seconds.

  3. Step 3

    Strain the drink into the chilled cocktail glass. Express the strip of fresh lemon peel over the surface of the drink, then discard it and serve.

  4. Step 4

    NOTE: Nutritional analysis is unavailable because of the variable amount of sodium in the preserved lemon brine.

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan

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