Dirty Pasta Water Martini: What is it and How to Prepare it

Spaghetti noodles in boiling water pot

For decades, cocktail enthusiasts have experimented with different ingredients and techniques to create unique recipes that sometimes become staples in restaurants and bars throughout the world. While not every concoction becomes a fan favorite, every now and then, these experiments result in unforgettable drinks. Such is the case with the dirty pasta water martini.

You may think pasta water is only good for cooking noodles and making Sunday sauce. However, combining pasta water with the right ingredients can make for one tasty cocktail known as the dirty pasta water martini. Here, Columbia Distributing, a premier beverage distributor that specializes in supplying businesses in Washington and Oregon with a wide range of products from well-known brands, explores this specialty cocktail and details how you can make one yourself.

What Is the Dirty Pasta Water Martini?

Sometimes referred to as liquid gold in many kitchens, pasta water is generally saved and used as a key ingredient to enhance, emulsify, and thicken pasta sauces. When using it as a cocktail ingredient, it has a similar effect. The starch-infused pasta water provides the martini with a distinctive silky body and viscosity without any overpowering sweetness.

What’s more, the pasta water adds a significant helping of salinity, which delivers a hefty dose of savory goodness. The result is a combination of flavors that eloquently balances the sweetness of the gin or vodka and the salty starchiness of the pasta water.

How to Prepare It

Creating this dirty martini riff takes about five minutes, not counting the time it will take to cook the pasta. For best results, you will want to have the pasta water cooled and preferably chilled before you begin making your concoction. If you made pasta the night before, it’s okay to save the water and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours. If you choose to store the pasta water, make sure you shake it well before using it.

Ingredients for One Serving

  • 3 olives for garnish (make sure to choose the right kind for martinis)
  • 2 oz. vodka or gin, whichever you prefer (the pasta water is more noticeable with a neutral vodka)
  • 1/2 oz. pasta water
  • 1/2 oz. olive brine


Start by chilling a Nick and Nora glass (an egg-shaped glass that holds up to five or six ounces of liquid) or a small coupe in the freezer. This will ensure your martini remains at the ideal temperature. Next, spear your choice of olives on a cocktail pick and set it aside for later.

Grab a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Then, add the vodka or gin, pasta water, and olive brine. Shake to chill for at least 10 seconds or a little longer, depending on your preference. Once done shaking, double strain the cocktail into the chilled glass. Finally, garnish with the olives and enjoy.

Get More Specialty Cocktail Ideas with Columbia Distributing

One of the greatest aspects of hand-mixed drinks is the ability to combine ingredients you never would have thought might pair well together. A prime example is the dirty pasta water martini. Columbia Distributing can supply you with the ingredients you need to make this one-of-a-kind cocktail and various other specialty drinks. Contact us today to learn more about other unique cocktail recipes and the alcoholic and non-alcoholic products we have available to bring your creations to fruition.