Pasta Water 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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Pasta Water Martini

A hit cocktail at Fiorella, Marc Vetri’s pasta restaurant in Philadelphia, this dirty-martini riff utilizes olive juice along with an ingredient the restaurant has plenty of — the salty, silky water left over from cooking its pasta. Customers pick gin or vodka for the base; the pasta flavor is more noticeable with neutral vodka. Fiorella uses whole, unpitted Castelvetrano and Galleta olives; we won’t tell if you use pitted ones, but make sure they’re good olives.

You’ll want to have the pasta water cooled and preferably chilled before making the drink. Pasta water can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours; shake before using.

From Fiorella restaurant in Philadelphia.


measuring cup
Servings: 1
  • 3 olives, for garnish (see headnote)
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces vodka or gin
  • 1/2 ounce pasta water
  • 1/2 ounce olive brine


Time Icon Total: 5 mins, not counting the cooking of pasta
  1. Step 1

    Chill a Nick and Nora glass or a small coupe in the freezer. Spear the olives on a cocktail pick.

  2. Step 2

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka or gin, pasta water, and olive brine and shake to chill, 10 seconds.

  3. Step 3

    Double-strain into the chilled glass, garnish with the olives and serve.

  4. Step 4

    NOTE: Nutritional analysis is unavailable because of the variable amount of sodium in the pasta water and olive brine.

From Fiorella restaurant in Philadelphia.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan

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