Dallas-Made Dirty Martini Mix, 1888, Turns Two

Loren Means files the following report on 1888, a dirty martini mix made in Dallas.

As a long-time lover of dirty martinis, Dallasite Kenneth Hamburger II found too many of them were unpredictable. While some hit the mark, others tasted more like ocean water. Sometimes they would vary drastically in the same evening even though they were ordered from and mixed by the same bartender. After Hamburger was laid off by Lamborghini in 2008, he decided to come up with a cure for the inconsistent dirty martini. His inspiration? Hah, it sounds so easy. Now.

Jump for it.

In the spring of 2009, after being inspired by a friend and an episode of Unwrapped with Marc Summers, Hamburger thought, “If you can squeeze a grape and squeeze an orange, why not an olive?”  He went into overdrive researching products that were currently available, and found that bottled brine and other mixers consisting only of water, salt, and lactic acid dominated the market. Bottled olive juice did not exist.

In the following months he became an expert on olives. With the help of a local company, he used a fruit press to create his first batch of fresh whole-pressed olive juice using Spanish olives. He immediately bottled the juice and distributed it to neighbors and friends for feedback. After many rave reviews, the product found its way into the hands of the bar manager at The Stoneleigh Hotel, 1888’s first client. (1888 is the year the word “martini” was first published in the American bartender’s manual.)

Hamburger cashed in all of his savings and sold all his stocks to bring his concept to reality. Today, as 1888 celebrates its second birthday, the still one-of-a-kind product (locally produced and bottled) is widely available at restaurants such as Nick and Sam’s, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and Private Social. You can also pick up a bottle at Central Market, Specs, Centennial, Pogo, etc. If you prefer to shop online, you can order 1888 through local company, Artizone, or on Amazon.

When asked if he prefers his martinis shaken or stirred, Hamburger replies, “Always shaken.”

6 comments on “Dallas-Made Dirty Martini Mix, 1888, Turns Two

  1. Congrats to Hamburger. But the real question isn’t shaken or stirred… it’s gin or vodka?

  2. As a longtime (decades) devotee of the Martini (gin, of course), I think the dirty martini must be about as great a contribution to good drinking as are the frozen Margarita and the Grey Goose Cosmo. Don’t mess with Tanqueray and Noilly Prat!