Dry Martini

5 from 1 vote

Stir up the perfect Dry Martini every single time with the ideal ratio of ingredients. Gin lovers know how they like it: This classic cocktail is light on vermouth, deliciously crisp and endlessly elegant. Whether you prefer it shaken or stirred (please say stirred), mastering the art of the Dry Martini is a must for any aspiring home bartender.

A clear martini glass filled with a martini, garnished with a single olive. A bowl of olives, a jigger, and cocktail picks are in the background.

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About this Dry Martini recipe

The martini is an icon, and for so many reasons. This elegant little cocktail can be crafted in numerous ways — with gin or vodka, garnished with olives or lemon peel, shaken or stirred, dirty or dry — yet each variation maintains its own perfect charm.

And that’s why the martini is so iconic. Whether you prefer a classic martini or one made dirty with pickles, there’s no denying its timeless appeal.

Ordering a dry martini is a favorite for so many. For those not in the know, “dry” means the drink is made with more gin than vermouth. The original is made with more gin than vermouth, but the dry martini takes the drink to a new level that highlights the gin even more.

More classic gin cocktail recipes: Gimlet • Eastside Cocktail • Salty Dog • Ramos Gin FizzCucumber Martini

A clear martini with an olive garnish in a martini glass. A bowl of olives, a jigger, and an olive-laden cocktail pick are in the background..

Why you’ll love this recipe

If you’re a gin lover who doens’t already love a dry martini, you might once you try it.

  • Herbaceous and crisp, every martini lover needs to try the dry martini.
  • You only need three ingredients to make the Vesper martini at home.
  • Once you know the classic recipe, you can tweak it to make it just how you like them. There are so many variations to try!

What is a martini?

The martini is a classic cocktail made with gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters. In its most classic form, this mixed drink is served straight up and with a lemon twist in a chilled, stemmed martini glass.

But that’s just the start. Martinis have dozens of variations. You can use vodka instead of gin. You can serve them cold or room temperature. You can add a splash of olive brine and garnish it with olives.

The Dry Martini is one of these variations, featuring a combination of gin and dry vermouth, like the classic martini, but with more gin and less dry vermouth. The result is an herbaceous, crisp cocktail.

Though classic martinis are savory cocktails, we can’t ignore the existence of the dessert martini. From the birthday cake martini to the appletini to the raspberry martini, tons of martinis have a sweet flavor profile. They may be served in martini glasses, but they are not really like martinis at all!

Tools & glassware

Making a martini is simple. You are not going to need a cocktail shaker here. Contrary to James Bond’s usual order (”shaken, not stirred”), the best martinis are stirred.

You will want to use a mixing glass and a bar spoon. (However, you can use the shaker as a mixing glass if that’s what you have.) You’ll also want a jigger and a Hawthorne strainer.

To serve the drink, you’ll need a martini glass, of course! There are lots of kinds of martini glasses. Traditional martini glasses are V-shaped vessels with a stem. However, stemless martini glasses are a bit sturdier and coupe glasses have wider cup-shapes.

Martini ingredients

The martini is a fairly simple cocktail. It’s made with three ingredients:

  • Gin: Gin is classic but vodka can also be used. London Dry Gin is most popular.
  • Dry vermouth: Dry vermouth is a fortified wine with a pale color and slightly sweet flavor. It also goes by French vermouth, white vermouth or vermouth secco.
  • Orange bitters: Bitters add extra flavor to a cocktail. Orange bitters offer a slight zing of sweet citrus to balance the drink.
  • Olives: A few olives are the classic martini garnish. However, you can substitute a lemon twist or even a cocktail onion.
decorative icon of a martini glass.

How to store vermouth

An opened bottle of vermouth should be stored in the fridge. It will taste best if enjoyed within a month, but will still taste okay for about two months total. After that, it’s time to toss it and open a new bottle of vermouth.

Top view of a martini in a glass, garnished with two green olives on a cocktail pick, next to a bowl of green olives.

Dry vs. wet martini

Dryness refers to the amount of vermouth (or lack thereof) in your martini. Vermouth has a very slightly sweet flavor, so the more you adjust the ratio to feature more gin flavor, the dryer and less sweet the cocktail is. However, you can also add more vermouth or equal parts gin and vermouth if that’s what you like.

If you like the sweetness that dry vermouth brings, you can pare down the gin. Here are the variations on the wet martini.

Wet martini: This one uses a splash more of dry vermouth than in the classic.

50-50 martini: This version has balanced, equal parts dry vermouth and gin.

Perfect martini: A perfect martini has equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, plus gin of course. It is more brown in color thanks to the addition of sweet vermouth.

Upside-down martini: If you use more dry vermouth than gin, you will wind up with an upside-down martini, AKA reverse martini.

A martini glass filled with a cocktail, garnished with a green olive. A cocktail jigger and a container with additional olives are placed beside the glass.

Types of dry martinis

If you like your martinis drier, choose a recipe with a higher gin-to-vermouth ratio. The less vermouth used in the cocktail, the drier it is. In general, this is just called a dry martini and usually uses a distribution of 4:1 gin to vermouth.

Very dry martini / bone dry martini: Not much vermouth here at all. A touch of vermouth is lightly sloshed around the glass instead of actually getting mixed in.

Desert martini: Winston Churchill’s favorite martini is made without any vermouth. ****

How to make a martini the right way

Sorry again, James Bond, we will not be shaking our martinis! Shaking a martini invigorates the ingredients with ice, causing the ice to melt faster and dilute the drink.

(But if you like it that way, I’m not going to stop you! Martinis are all about making them to your individual taste.)

A hand pours a clear liquid from a measuring cup into a glass container.
A hand pours liquid from a measuring spoon into a glass container.

So get out a mixing glass (or use any glass or shaker) and add a few ice cubes. Stir the gin and vermouth together using a bar spoon, gently, until the mixture is chilled.

A hand with a gold-colored handle is stirring a clear glass filled with ice cubes and a light-colored liquid using a metal spoon.
A cocktail is being poured from a shaker into a martini glass, with a small dish of green olives next to it.

Then, strain the drink into a martini glass. Add a dash or two of orange bitters and garnish with a lemon twist.

A hand places a skewer with two green olives on top of a martini glass filled with a light-colored drink. A small bowl of green olives is in the background.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making a martini:

  • Stir, don’t shake. This will keep the drink from getting too diluted with ice, while still chilling the ingredients enough.
  • Play with the ratio of gin to dry vermouth to make it dryer or wetter and perfect your favorite martini.
  • If you want to make martinis for a crowd, you can stir up a big batch and serve them from a large pitcher. You can also stash it in the fridge for yourself so you can have martinis ready to drink anytime.

Martini variations

As with all classic cocktails, there are a few variations that turn into totally different drinks. Here are some of the top types of martinis:

Vodka martini: If you’re not a gin fan, you can opt for vodka in lieu of gin. James Bond is also a vodka martini fan, so you’ll be in good company here. You can even make a dry vodka martini.

Gibson: Garnish the martini with a cocktail onion and it becomes a Gibson. Also, it’s often made with Plymouth gin.

Martinez: This is the drink that inspired the martini. Make one with 2 ounces gin + ¾ ounce sweet vermouth + ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur + a dash of Angostura bitters + a lemon twist for garnish.

Marguerite: Equal parts gin and dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters, the Marguerite is served with a lemon twist for garnish.

Vesper: Another James Bond favorite, this one is shaken with 3 ounces gin, 1 ounce of vodka and 1/4 ounce Lillet Blonde and garnished with a thin slice of lemon peel.

Rob Roy: More of a cousin to the Manhattan than the martini, this one is worth a mention for whiskey drinkers who’d like to foray into martinis — or martini drinkers who’d like to get into whiskey. Make it with 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces Scotch whiskey and a dash of Angostura bitters, served straight up or mixed in a rocks glass, with a garnish of a cocktail cherry or a lemon twist.

Two martini glasses filled with clear liquid, each garnished with three green olives on a cocktail pick. A small bowl of green olives sits nearby.

What to serve with martinis

Martinis are a great happy hour drink to enjoy before a meal, especially because they are savory cocktails.

Enjoy these elegant drinks with some cheesy appetizers like spinach & artichoke dip or a charcuterie board. Some melty baked brie or classy cranberry brie bites would also be great.

For dessert, you might want to make a dessert martini instead, such as an espresso martini or strawberry martini.

FAQ

What is in a classic martini?

Martinis are made with gin, dry vermouth, bitters and a lemon twist for garnish. However, some people prefer vodka, more or less vermouth or a splash olive brine and an olive garnish.

What is a dry martini?

In a martini, the word “dry” refers to the amount of dry vermouth (or lack thereof) used in the recipe. Vermouth has a very slightly sweet flavor, so the more you adjust the ratio to highlight the gin, the dryer and less sweet the cocktail is. A dry martini generally uses a 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth, whereas the classic one usually uses a 2:1 ratio. You can also make a martini with equal parts gin and vermouth, which is called a 50/50 martini.

What type of gin is best for a dry martini?

London dry gin is the most common type of gin for a classic martinis, but you can use other types of gin depending on your taste. Some gins have more floral and botanical flavors, while others are more herbal and juniper-forward.

More gin cocktails

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A martini glass filled with a clear beverage, garnished with three green olives on a toothpick. A metal jigger and a small bowl of green olives are seen in the background.

Dry Martini

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
This dry martini is a classic cocktail made with gin and dry vermouth, garnished with a lemon twist or olive. Perfectly balanced, it epitomizes elegance and simplicity in a glass.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 2-3 olives for garnish

instructions

  • In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine gin and dry vermouth. Use a bar spoon to gently stir the mixture until chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with a dash of orange bitters. Garnish with olives.

notes

The less vermouth used in the cocktail, the drier it is. In general, this is just called a dry martini and usually uses a distribution of 4:1 gin to vermouth.
Very dry martini / bone-dry martini: There is not much vermouth here at all. A touch of vermouth is lightly sloshed around the glass instead of actually getting mixed in.
Desert martini: Winston Churchill’s favorite martini is made without any vermouth. 

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 2.5ounces Calories: 170kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0.2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 126mg Potassium: 18mg Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 0.3g Vitamin A: 31IU Vitamin C: 0mg Calcium: 5mg Iron: 0.2mg
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