3 delicious ways to give olives a hooch bath.

By Rebecca Firkser
June 21, 2019
SarapulSar38/Getty Images

I think I prefer snacks to meals. Give me chips and salsa or a bunch of radishes slathered with salty butter over a steak dinner any day. While my standard at-home snacking situation doesn’t get much more elaborate than a large hunk of manchego, a sleeve of crackers, and a jar of olives, when I’m having a few friends over I like to take a more elaborate (read: boozy) approach. Marinated olives are already one of the easiest and cheapest snacks that also look very fancy, but just wait ‘til you try them after they’ve had a bath in some hooch.

Here, we have my three favorite ways to marinate olives in booze. I like to use buttery Castelvetrano olives in these recipes, but you could use any olive you’d consider worthy of a martini ( maybe save that jar of kalamata olives for pasta). The first is basically a dirty martini and a Gibson rolled into one: we’ve got gin, we’ve got vermouth, we’ve got olives and cocktail onions. If I had one of those ridiculously huge martini glasses you get in restaurants I’d probably serve these olives in one.

Watch: How to Make Boozy Soaked Summer Fruit

The second recipe is perhaps a divisive one. Based on the Aperol Spritz, a drink that has been hotly debated lately, these olives go for a swim in (you guessed it) Aperol, as well as some fresh citrus juice. There is no Processo in the recipe, but you might want to drink some as you munch on the olives.

Finally, warm pastis-tossed olives. If you’re not already drinking pastis, the popular French anise-flavored spirit, I can’t guarantee you’ll like it. But I bet you’ll like these olives even if you’re a) not into licorice-y drinks b) never had a glass of Ricard. Seriously, there’s half a cup of olive oil in there, you’ll be fine.

Martini Olives

1 cup Castelvetrano olives

¼ cup cocktail onions, drained

5 strips lemon zest (use a vegetable peeler) 

1 cup gin (whatever you’d use in a martini)

¼ cup dry vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a jar and seal with a lid, then shake well. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Spritz Olives

1 cup Castelvetrano olives

½ cup Aperol

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

5 strips orange zest (use a vegetable peeler) 

Combine all ingredients in a jar and seal with a lid, then shake well. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. Store leftovers in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Warm Apéro Olives

½ cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

5 strips lemon zest (use a vegetable peeler) 

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh thyme  

1 cup Castelvetrano olives

3 tablespoons pastis, like Ricard

Combine oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Cook until garlic beings to sizzle, then stir in lemon zest, rosemary, and thyme. Stir in olives and pastis and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for at least 20 minutes (after that, transfer to the fridge and let marinate until ready to serve). Store leftovers in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature, or reheat over low before serving.

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