Is a dirty martini low-calorie?

Quick Answer

A dirty martini is not considered a low-calorie cocktail. The addition of olive brine significantly increases the calorie count compared to a regular martini. A 2.5 oz dirty martini can contain 150-200 calories, whereas a regular 2.5 oz dry martini contains around 70 calories. The olive brine contributes extra calories, salt and fat. Despite this, a dirty martini contains far fewer calories than many classic cocktails. Choosing wisely with your mixers and measures can help reduce the calorie count.

What is a Dirty Martini?

A dirty martini is a classic martini cocktail made with gin or vodka and dry vermouth, with a splash of olive brine or juice added. The brine gives the drink a salty, umami flavor. While a regular dry martini contains just the spirit and vermouth, the addition of the olive brine makes the cocktail a “dirty” martini. The term “dirty” refers to the cloudy appearance the brine gives the drink.

The basic recipe for a dirty martini is:

– 2 1⁄2 oz gin or vodka
– 1⁄2 oz dry vermouth
– Olive brine
– Garnish with green olives

The amount of olive brine added comes down to taste preference. The more brine, the “dirtier” the martini. A wet martini includes slightly more vermouth than a dry martini. An extra dry martini reduces the vermouth even further.

Calorie Content in a Dirty Martini

The calorie content of a dirty martini depends on the specific ingredients and quantities used.

In general, a 2.5 oz dirty martini can contain around 150-200 calories. This compares to a 2.5 oz regular dry martini which contains around 70 calories.

Here is the calorie breakdown of the components in a typical dirty martini:

Gin or vodka

– Gin: around 110 calories per 2.5 oz
– Vodka: around 100 calories per 2.5 oz

So the spirit alone contains 100-110 calories, even before considering the vermouth or olive brine.

Dry vermouth

– Around 30 calories per 1⁄2 oz dry vermouth

Olive brine

– Around 20 calories per splash of brine

The olive brine adds salt, fat and additional calories. A conservative splash of olive brine can add 20 calories, while a generous splash could add up to 50 calories.

When all the ingredients are combined, a 2.5 oz dirty martini can end up containing 150-200 calories. The options for gin, vodka or extra dry can push the calories slightly higher or lower.

So while not the lowest calorie cocktail, a dirty martini still compares reasonably well to classics like a margarita (200-300 calories) or piña colada (500-600 calories).

Does Olive Brine Have Calories?

Yes, olive brine contains calories, salt and fat.

During the curing process to make olives edible, the olives are packed in a salty brine solution. The nutrition facts for a typical olive brine are:

– Calories: Around 20 per tbsp
– Fat: 2 g per tbsp
– Sodium: 400 mg per tbsp

Olive brine is high in sodium from the salt used to cure the olives. It also provides a small amount of fat from the olive oil in the brining solution.

A dirty martini gains calories directly from the olive brine splash. A brief splash may only contribute 20 calories, but a generous pour could add 50 calories or more.

This is why a dirty martini contains significantly more calories than a regular martini – the olive brine bolsters the calorie count.

Do Olives Add Calories to a Martini?

Yes, the olives used as a garnish in a dirty martini also add some calories. When you add 3-4 olives to a martini, they can contribute:

– Around 25-35 calories
– 2 grams of fat
– 200-300 mg of sodium

So the olives provide additional calories on top of the olive brine in the cocktail itself. Those big fat green olives are soaked in brine during processing, which is what gives them their salty, robust flavor.

Opting for a cocktail onion instead of olives will shave off a few calories. But overall the onion versus olives choice makes minimal impact on the total calorie count.

How to Make a Low Calorie Dirty Martini

Although a dirty martini is higher in calories than a regular martini, there are ways to reduce the calorie count:

Choose lower calorie alcohol

Vodka contains around 20 fewer calories per serving compared to gin, so is the better choice for a lower calorie martini. Opt for a brand that is around 80 proof. Higher proof vodkas have more calories due to higher alcohol content.

Reduce the vermouth

Using just a hint of vermouth rather than a 1:4 gin to vermouth ratio will save around 20 calories.

Control the olive brine

Go easy on the olive brine, using just a quick splash rather than saturating the cocktail. This avoids unnecessary extra calories from excess brine.

Garnish judiciously

Stick to 3 olives rather than 4 or 5. Skip other high-calorie garnishes like cheese, bacon or meat skewers.

Mind the measurements

Stick to a standard 2.5 oz spirit pour rather than going overboard. Measure precisely rather than free-pouring.

Avoid sugary mixers

Refuse the temptation to add simple syrup, juice or other sweet mixers, which drastically increase calorie counts.

Making these simple tweaks can help reduce a dirty martini to around 120 calories, making it one of the lowest calorie options amongst classic cocktails. While not strictly a low-calorie beverage, it’s possible to enjoy a dirty martini without consuming too many calories.

Nutrition Facts for a Dirty Martini

Here are the nutrition facts for a typical 2.5 oz dirty martini made with gin, vermouth and olive brine:

Nutrition Facts Dirty martini
Calories 165
Fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Protein 0 g

The majority of calories come from the alcohol. Even though fat and carbs are low, calories still add up due to the olive brine and mix of gin, vodka and vermouth.

You can reduce the count by around 20-30 calories by minimizing the vermouth and olive brine. Choosing vodka over gin saves around 10 calories.

Overall though, it’s realistically not possible to make a dirty martini that could be considered a low calorie beverage. The olive brine itself provides too many calories for it to qualify as a diet drink.

Dirty Martini vs Regular Martini Calories

A regular dry martini contains significantly fewer calories than a dirty martini.

Here is a calorie comparison of a 2.5oz martini made two ways:

Martini Type Calories
Regular dry martini 70
Dirty martini 165

The olive brine alone adds around 50 extra calories to make a martini dirty.

The calorie breakdown is:

Regular martini
– 2.5 oz gin: 110 calories
– 1⁄2 oz dry vermouth: 30 calories
– Total: 140 calories

Dirty martini
– 2.5 oz gin: 110 calories
– 1⁄2 oz dry vermouth: 30 calories
– Olive brine: 20-50 calories
– Total: 160-190 calories

So a dirty martini contains over twice as many calories as a dry martini. The olive brine is the key difference accounting for the big jump in calorie count.

Low Calorie Cocktail Options

If you’re looking for the lowest calorie cocktails, here are some better options than a dirty martini:

Dry martini

– The classic dry martini is one of the lowest in calories. Go easy on the vermouth to keep the calorie count minimal.

Vodka soda

– Simply vodka topped up with soda water. Add a squeeze of lime to add flavor. Extremely low in calories and carbs.


– Tequila combined with grapefruit soda makes for a refreshing low calorie cocktail.


– Mint, lime and rum is a flavourful combo. Skip the sugar to avoid extra calories.

Tom Collins

– This fruity gin cocktail combined with lemonade offers an ideal balance of sweet and sour.

Bloody Mary

– All the flavor of a Bloody Mary comes from its tomato juice and seasoning, so it’s naturally low cal when made right.

French 75

– Champagne plus gin or cognac makes this a lighter take on a French 75.

Opting for low-calorie mixers is key. Avoid cream-based drinks or anything with added sugars. Focus on the classic cocktails that let the spirit flavors shine through.

Can a Dirty Martini be Considered Healthy?

No, a dirty martini should not be considered a healthy drink choice. While it is lower in calories and refined carbs than many cocktails, it still contains high levels of alcohol.

Here are some reasons a dirty martini is considered an unhealthy alcoholic beverage:

– High alcohol content – A standard 2.5 oz pour provides around 2-3 servings of alcohol, which is considered binge drinking.

– High sodium levels – Olive brine adds a large amount of sodium, with up to 600mg per cocktail. This accounts for over 25% of the recommended daily sodium intake.

– Lack of nutrients – There are virtually no beneficial vitamins, minerals or antioxidants in a dirty martini. Only the olives provide trace amounts of healthy fats.

– Alcohol health risks – Drinking high volumes of alcohol is associated with increased risk of liver disease, certain cancers, mental health issues and obesity.

– Impaired judgment – Getting intoxicated impairs thinking and reduces inhibition and self-control. This can lead to poor diet choices or other unhealthy decisions.

An occasional dirty martini is unlikely to cause harm. However drinking them regularly or in excess is considered unhealthy. Those looking to keep alcohol consumption moderate should limit martinis to special occasions.


While a dirty martini does not qualify as low-calorie, there are ways to reduce the calorie count through careful mixing. Choosing lower calorie base spirits and minimizing sugary additives makes a significant difference.

At around 150-200 calories for a standard serving, a dirty martini contains fewer calories than many mixed drinks and cocktails. But it packs a bigger calorie punch than a regular dry martini.

Dirty martinis should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle. Going overboard on the olive brine or quantities can cause calories to stack up. Those monitoring their alcohol or sodium intake need to be mindful of martini intake.

Overall, dirty martinis can be enjoyed as an occasional treat without sabotaging a healthy diet. Just keep your preferences dry, your pours measured, and the olive juice to a minimum!

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