How To Make a Martini

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How to make a martiniNational Martini Day is June 19th and so I thought this would be the perfect time to continue with our classic cocktails “how-to” series for home bartenders out there. If you missed our last cocktail, we showed you How To Make a Negroni.

The Martini is a cocktail made with Gin and Vermouth and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years literally thousands of variations of the martini have been used whether it’s a different ratio of gin to vermouth, or the use of added flavors, specifically fruits like lemon, strawberry, raspberry, etc. With the help of Hollywood with films like James Bond and a resurgence with shows like Sex and The City I’d argue there is no cocktail more famous.

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way now: a Martin is made with Gin… don’t let the movies OR your local dive bar convince you it is made with vodka. PERIOD. If it is made with vodka it is now a vodka martini. When you ask for just a martini it should come with gin. End of story

The Gin: Traditionally the most ordered Martini is the Dry Martini using a London Dry Gin such as Bombay & Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, or Plymouth just to name a few. For today we’ll be using Bluecoat American Dry Gin, since they’ve graciously provided us with a sample to try this month. It’s not like your typical London Dry, with less notes of Juniper but heavier emphasis on the orange and lemon taste which I like in a Martini.

The Ratio: We’ll be using a ratio of 3-1 Gin to Vermouth, the way I prefer it, but feel free to tinker with it to find out how you like it. Some places serve what they call a 50/50, equal parts of both, and typically at a craft bar. Some go to the extreme of almost making the vermouth non-existent. You NEED vermouth in a martini and specifically you should be able to taste it a good bit.

The Garnish: There’s 3 typical garnishes you’ll find, a lemon peel, olives, or onions. I hate hate hate olives and it ruins the drink for me, especially when stuffed with things like blue cheese. I’m not a huge fan of onions either so my preferred choice is the lemon peel.

The Glassware: Martini… Martini glass… pretty simple right? Although depending on where you are you may be served one in fancier glasses short and stubby or tall and slim.



How To Make a Martini

Pre-chill your shaker, glass, gin, and vermouth. When cold, add ice to the shaker and add in your gin and vermouth. Shake or stir as required but typically I stir mine. The debate of Shaken or stirred is a whole other topic. Strain into your chilled glass and twist the lemon peel until it leaves a spritz of lemon oil on the surface of the cocktail. 

That’s all for now. We’ll be checking back in the next few weeks with another classic cocktail for your to make at home. Our Bluecoat American Dry Gin sample was provided courtesy of the brand.


Alex & Lori



Alex is a full time consultant with 10+ years experience in the wine & spirits + consumer packaged goods industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified and makes a mean caipirinha. When not writing, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or bar hopping.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with you: Bluecoat makes a fantastic martini. I tend to like a little more vermouth, though. Hell, I will even drink a vodka martini or a gasp! dirty martini. Yes, I know it makes me gauche, but I love olives. All olives. Stuffed with anything.

    And that’s the beauty of the martini, right? It can be adapted to everyone’s preference.

    Just don’t call anything with chocolate a martini.

    Beautiful picture, by the way.

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