Mastering the Classic Martini Recipe

Published October 19, 2021
Classic Martini with green olives



  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with olive or lemon twist.

Variations and Substitutions

Any change of ingredients or proportions greatly alters the type of martini you're drinking. Some changes can be made, however, before creating a new drink.

  • Add a single dash of orange bitters for a slightly citrus taste.
  • For a drier martini, use less vermouth.
  • If you want just a whisper of vermouth, rinse the martini glass with dry vermouth then discard the vermouth.


Garnishes add a pop of color or visual contrast to martinis, especially since they're, optimally, served in clear and pristine glassware. With such a clean palette, any garnish can affect both the flavor and nose of a martini.

  • Use an orange peel instead of a lemon.
  • Consider blue cheese stuffed olives for a savory experience.
  • Whole berries, such as blueberries, cherries, or raspberries, add color.
  • A cucumber garnish also makes for a crisp flavor.

About the Classic Martini

Perhaps the most well-known of any libation, even the martini glass itself is a fairly internationally understood symbol. The lore of the martini includes an origin as an evolution of the Martinez, a cocktail of dry gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters, but another bar claims it was their creation, their recipe including gum syrup, orange liqueur, vermouth, and gin.

While the truth may not ever clearly surface, the martini as it's known today began to take hold during Prohibition, as illegal gin was readily available. It fell out of fashion as time went on, but was placed rightfully back into the spotlight following the modern cocktail renaissance.

Stirred... or Shaken

The martini is traditionally stirred, but like the rest of the process, how you achieved a chilled classic martini, whether it's a gin or vodka martini, is a personal preference. You can't bruise the liquor, you can only mistreat it with careless, spilled drops. So steady hands as you garnish and take that first sip of a martini.

Mastering the Classic Martini Recipe