For having such simple, easy to find ingredients, the perfect martini recipe seems as illusive as the real James Bond. This most famous of cocktails dates back for over a hundred years, and like many other iconic recipes, has changed greatly over time. What started as a blend of gin and aromatic wine has become arguably the most recognizable mixed drink in the world. Hundreds, if not thousands of variations exist, but it’s still a mixed drink that’s not for the faint of heart. One of the stiffest drinks in the world, made entirely (or almost entirely) out of booze, it requires a strong constitution and an even stronger taste palette. Even some of the most notorious drinkers in history wouldn’t drink more than two martinis. Whether you prefer vodka or gin, olives or onions, mostly dry or very dirty, here’s how to make a martini like a boss.
To make a traditional martini, at minimum, you need a bottle of gin (vodka), a bottle of vermouth, ice, and a glass. Just having these four little martini ingredients will give you a solid cocktail. However, this classic cocktail frequently incorporates olives as a garnish, and varying ratios of sweet and dry vermouth.
The first known martini recipe dates back to the 1880s, and called for one half wine glass of gin, and one half wine glass of vermouth. Now that a few hundred years have passed, there are countless martini recipes available. Some that stick closer to the original mixed drink than others. In the 1920s, the balance of gin and vermouth in a 2 to 1 part ratio appeared, and that general formula is still considered the prime example. Here’s how to make a martini that honors our drunken forefathers, plus a few tried and true variations.
Classic Gin Martini
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 1 oz Dry Vermouth
- Cocktail Shaker
- Cocktail Glass
Depending on who you ask, the correct type of liquor for a martini is either vodka or gin, but the classic version always calls for gin. In a cocktail shaker, add a scoop of ice. Add one and a half ounces of gin. Next, add one ounce of dry vermouth. Put the lid on the shaker, and shake! After a few seconds, remove the cap, leaving the strainer on the top. Pour directly into your chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olives. Drink it ’till it’s gone.
Following this same process, you can completely change the texture and flavor of your cocktail with a few different martini ingredients. These are well known alternatives, likely to be seen in the world’s best martini bars.
Traditional Vodka Martini
- 1 1/2 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Gin or Vodka
- 1 1/2 oz Sweet or Dry Vermouth
- Splash of Olive Juice
- 2 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka
- Splash of Dry Vermouth
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
- Lemon Twist
Only ratios that call for equal parts dry and sweet vermouth can be called a perfect martini recipe.
- 1 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka
- 1 oz Dry Vermouth
- 1 or 2 small pickled onions
Sweet cocktails made with fruit flavors are everywhere today. Although they are merely distant relatives to the classic recipe, these modern martini mixers have been allowed to share the name. Here’s a few popular ways to bring some color to your martini drink.
Created almost instantly after POM Wonderful became readily available, the pomegranate martini calls for vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, and of course, the juice of it’s namesake fruit.
This take on the martini is one of the oldest variations. Calling for vodka, lemon juice, triple sec, and simply syrup, you’ll usually find a sugar coated rim on the cocktail glass.
Blood Orange Martini
A deep, dark masterpiece with the sweet citrus flavors of the seasonal blood orange. One of the moodiest, most sophisticated martini recipes we found.