How to Make a Martini

Karen Frazier

Learn How to Make a Martini

Once you learn how to make a classic martini, a world of possibilities is at your fingertips. This concoction is easy to make, and the original recipe can be modified in a number of ways.

Classic Martini Ingredients

The ingredients of a classic martini are simple:

It is best to choose high quality gin since it is the drink's primary flavor.

Barware for Making a Martini

You'll also need the following equipment:

  • Mixing glass or Boston shaker to mix the drink
  • Jigger for exact measuring
  • Ice scoop for adding ice
  • Bar spoon for stirring
  • Hawthorne or julep strainer to strain the chilled drink
  • A chilled martini glass

Ratio of Gin to Vermouth

Part of learning how to make a martini is learning about standard, dry, extra dry martinis, and wet martinis. An extra dry martini has just a hint of vermouth, and a dry Martini has slightly less vermouth than the standard recipe calls for. A wet martini can have as much as equal parts of gin and vermouth.

A standard ratio would be:

  • 2½ ounces of gin
  • ½ ounce of vermouth

However, the ratio can change, so it's best to have a discussion with the person ordering the martini to make sure you are meeting their requirements. Some prefer their martini to be straight gin, or gin with merely a spritz of vermouth. Others like equal parts of each, so it's up to the bartender to discover the drinker's preferences.

Step One: Chill the Martini Glass

Before you mix your ingredients, chill your martini glass. To do this, fill the glass with ice and add a splash of water. Allow the glass to chill while you prepare the cocktail.

Step Two: Measure Your Martini Ingredients

Next, you'll want to measure your cocktail ingredients using the jigger. Pour right up to the rim of the correct sized jigger and then pour them into your mixing glass or shaker.

Step Three: Add Ice

Next, use an ice scoop to put ice in the mixing glass or shaker. Use ice cubes, which will melt slowly and dilute the drink less. Fill your mixing glass about ¾ full with ice.

Step Four: Stir the Martini

Use a bar spoon to stir the cocktail and ice. To do this:

  1. Insert the barspoon along the edge of the ice with the back of the spoon to the mixing glass or shaker tumbler.
  2. Using a push-pull motion, move the spoon around the outside of the drink.

You should stir for about a minute to fully chill the drink and dilute it slightly with the ice.

While some people shake a martini, this isn't proper technique. Proper drink-making technique requires stirring drinks that contain pure spirits. If you're making a martini style cocktail that contains juices, such as a cosmopolitan, then you should shake the drink. However, in a traditional martini, stirring can over aerate and over dilute the drink.

Step Five: Strain the Martini

Next, you want to strain the martini into the chilled martini glass.

  1. Dump the ice and water from the martini glass.
  2. If you're using a shaker to stir the drink, use a Hawthorne strainer (pictured). Place the spring on the strainer inside the shaker and use your forefinger to control how much liquid you allow to flow as you pour the drink into the chilled glass.
  3. If you're using a mixing glass, use a julep strainer. Put the strainer in the mixing glass over the ice and pour into the chilled glass.

Step Six: Garnish

Finally, garnish your drink. The traditional martini garnish is a pitted and unstuffed Spanish olive or two. You can drop the olive straight in the drink or skewer two or three on a skewer as garnish. If you garnish the martini with a cocktail onion, it ceases to be a martini and becomes a gibson.

Serve the Martini Straight-Up

Martinis are served cold, and while some may prefer the drink on the rocks, the cocktail is traditionally served straight up.

Experiment With Martini Recipes

Use a similar technique when making other staight-up martini-style cocktails, such as the vodka martini.

Karen Frazier
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How to Make a Martini