I have no idea how national food holidays got started but my guess is its a ploy by the food industry to encourage people to buy something specific. I’m also pretty sure that big companies are the main reason a lot of “holidays” exist but I digress. I’m not really complaining. I mean I like to be aware of whatever food holiday happens to be on the calendar purely because it often inspires me to try something new. And if I haven’t made it obvious enough, I really like food.
There pretty much isn’t anything I won’t try, at least up to this point in my life. I imagine there are some questionable delicacies in some exotic nations that I might have to close my eyes to eat but that hasn’t happened quite yet. I really like to try to make new things myself at home if I can. Usually trying a new recipe will help me better understand how to cook a certain style of food or do something specifically better. Cooking is a lot of trial and error but if I follow a recipe, the original author gets to experience most of the error and things usually turn out okay on my end. Now don’t go thinking that that means I’ve never made a mistake in the kitchen. Gosh I tried to make dandelion wine last year and it was an epic 9 month failure.
Experimenting in the kitchen and with certain recipes though often leads to a lot of wins and this one, my dears, was a win… that is, its a win if you like dill pickles. In fact, if you don’t like dill pickles, you’re probably not going to like this. If you do like dill pickles though, and you like a good martini, this one should definitely be on your list!
So in case you didn’t know, I’m here to tell you that today is NATIONAL MARTINI DAY! Basically that’s the gin, vodka, and vermouth industries telling you its okay to drink on a Monday night. But if you’re not ready for a cocktail this evening, I’d highly recommend you make yourself some dill pickle vodka and use it to whip up this unique martini in a couple of weeks.
I got the idea for dill pickle vodka from Pinterest (surprise, surprise). I've learned over the years that you can pretty much infuse any flavor you want into vodka with the simple process of putting whatever it is that you want your vodka to taste like in a jar, pouring vodka over the top, and letting it sit for a few weeks to a few months depending on how strong you want it to taste. I’ve tried spiced pear vodka, blueberry and blackberry vodka (more of a cordial), and this time I decided to go with a more savory version.
I followed a recipe by Trish from the blog Rhubarbarians (how cute of a name is that!) and it turned out great! The only thing I did differently was that I let my vodka sit for more than the week she outlines just because I wanted it to have a stronger flavor. Oh, and I added a bit of de-seeded jalapeños to help ramp up the flavor as well. My vodka standards are also pretty low. I generally figure that if I’m going to flavor it, it doesn’t need to be that nice so I buy whatever’s on the bottom shelf. Plus, that way if it doesn’t turn out great, I haven’t wasted much money. Luckily for me, that wasn’t the case here and it was awesome.
Once the all the cucumbers, dill, garlic, and jalapeños had steeped in the vodka for a few weeks, I strained everything out and used it to follow a traditional martini recipe:
2-3 oz Dill Pickle Vodka
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
It’s so yummy and looks super fancy if you keep the pickles on hand as a garnish!
I suppose if you’re really craving a martini today, just because it’s National Martini Day (and I can’t say I blame you), you could definitely make a dirty martini with dill pickle juice if you have that on hand. But if you’re feeling good about a new kitchen experient and can wait a week or two, I’d definitely give this one a try!