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How to Mix a Great Martini

Updated on January 18, 2020
Anthony Altorenna profile image

Anthony enjoys spending time in the workshop, the kitchen, the garden and out fishing. Many of his projects are featured in his yard.

Martini Cocktail
Martini Cocktail | Source

One Martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.

— James Thurber

Shaken or Stirred?

The martini s one of the world's best known cocktails. From the days of Prohibition and Bathtub Gin to Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack and the "Shaken, not stirred" phenomena created by James Bond's 007, the classic Martini cocktail was made with gin, dry vermouth and accompanied by a twist of lemon or a few green pimento olives.

The classic Martini's popularity declined during the 1970s and 1980s as Vodka-based Designer Martinis became very fashionable, and a new generation of cocktail aficionados embraced the Vodkatini. But it wasn't long before the mixologists looked back at the classic martini recipes, and began experimenting with ingredients used in the trendy vodka-based Martini creations.

Traveling full circle, the popularity of the Vodka Martini led to the resurgence of the classic martini recipes. Now, nearly every restaurant and cocktail bar offers a menu filled with Gin and Vodka Martinis, mixing with an astonishing and endless assortment of specialty liqueurs and other fresh ingredients.Here's where it all started: The Classic Gin Martini Recipe

How to Make a Great Martini

The Classic Gin Martini

The classic gin martini need three basic ingredients: Gin, Dry Vermouth and Olives. If the cocktail recipe does not include all three of these ingredients, then it is not a gin martini.

The only exception: a classic gin martini can substitute a lemon twist garnish in place of the olives.

The difference between a 'Regular' Martini and a 'Dry' Martini is the amount of Vermouth that is mixed into the cocktail. The less vermouth, the drier the Martini. You may have heard of an ultra-dry cocktail that is made by simply waving a bottle of vermouth over a chilled glass of gin. This is not a Martini -- it is a Gin Cocktail.

For our Classic Gin Martini Recipe, Gordon's London Dry Gin works exceptionally well. You just can't beat the Classics. Enjoy responsibly.

Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink

— W.C. Fields
The Classic Martini with a lemon twist
The Classic Martini with a lemon twist | Source

The Classic Gin Martini Recipe

  1. Chill the Glass: Place a Martini glass in the freezer or fill the glass with ice cubes. Discard the ice cubes when the glass is cold.
  2. Pour a little Dry Vermouth into the chilled Martini glass. Swirl the vermouth around the sides of the glass, then discard
  3. Pour a good portion of quality Gin into a pitcher filled with ice, or a tall ice-filled glass. Stir to chill the gin.
  4. Strain and pour the chilled gin into the prepared Martini glass.
  5. Serve with three green olives skewered onto a martini pick.
  6. Enjoy responsibly!

Classic Gin Martini Photo by the Author (Shaken, Not Stirred)

Happiness is... finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry.

— Johnny Carson

How To Make A Dirty Martini

The Dirty Martini is very similar to the classic Martini recipe, but with addition of a little olive juice from the jar.


  • 3 oz. Quality Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Green Olive Juice (straight from the olive jar)


  1. Chill the Glass: Place a Martini glass in the freezer or fill with ice cubes. Discard the ice cubes when the glass is cold.
  2. Fill a tall glass or pitcher with ice. Add the gin, dry vermouth and olive juice to the glass. Stir to combine and chill the mixture.
  3. Strain and pour the cocktail into the chilled Martini glass. Garnish with olives skewered on a Martini Pick.

Though purists argue that "it is not a Martini unless it is made with gin", the versatility of vodka opens up a whole new range of cocktail possibilities.

Be creative, experiment and enjoy!

Chocolate Martini Recipe

This Chocolate Martini recipe is our house favorite martini. Slightly sweet and made with Raspberry Vodka (we like Stolichnaya Premium Vodka), this version of the Chocolate Martini is a standard cocktail in our home. We've tried many different variations, but this house favorite chocolate martini recipe uses a 3:2 ration of Raspberry Vodka to Creme de Cacao.

The key to this chocolate martini recipe is to serve the cocktail cold. Very, very cold and served in frosted martini glasses. Before pouring the drinks, I rinse the martini glasses in cold water and then place the glasses into the freezer for at least 10 minutes.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Raspberry-flavor Vodka (we prefer Stolichnaya Premium Vodka)
  • 1 oz. Creme de Cacao
  • A Frosted Martini Glass
  • An Ice-filled Cocktail Shaker


  1. Start by placing a Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 1/2 oz. Raspberry-flavor Vodka and 1 oz. Creme De Cacao. Shake briskly.
  3. Retrieve the Martini glass from the freezer. Using a strainer, pour the Chocolate Raspberry Martini cocktail mixture into the serving glass. Enjoy responsibly!

He knows just how I like my martini – full of alcohol.

— Homer Simpson

How To Mix the Classic Gin Martini - by Alan Katz

From the following YouTube video, here is the HowdiniGuru version of the Classic Gin Martini


  • 2 1/2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • Fresh Lemon Twist
  • Ice Cubes


  1. Chill the Martini serving glass, either by placing it in the freezer or filling with ice cube.
  2. In a mixing glass, pour in the gin and the dry vermouth. Add enough ice to fill the glass, and stir vigorously.
  3. Remove the ice from the serving glass. Using a strainer, pour the gin and dry vermouth mixture into the serving glass. Squeeze a lemon twist over the serving glass, then rub the lemon twist around the rim before using it as garish. Enjoy!

How To Make The Perfect Martin

The Perfect, Absolutely Driest Martini

"I'm pursuing my lifelong quest for the perfect, the absolutely driest martini to be found in this or any other world, and I think I may have hit upon the perfect formula: You pour six jiggers of gin, and you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth."

— Hawkeye Pierce

Shaken or Stirred?

When it comes to mixing your favorite Martini, do you want it Shaken or Stirred?

See results

Martini Recipes from Around the Web

Twilight Lounge Martini Sign
Twilight Lounge Martini Sign

“I’m not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube. I’m talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I’m talking MARTINI.

— Anonymous

Which Classic Martini Recipe Do You Prefer?

The Classic Gin Martini or a Designer Vodka Martini

See results

© 2012 Anthony Altorenna

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      BTW, I love the backyard party theme here....had to shout on FB and posted to G+.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I guess I'll need to try a sample of each but your house favorite sure got my interest! I once heard that to make a really dry martini, you sniff the vermouth deeply and then breathe out the fumes into the chilled glass through you mouth. You can let me know if you give that one a try! Well done, as always. You should have a quiz here with all this specialized information. I just learned what a "dirty" martini is....and so much more!


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