How To Make A Martini

Here are all the basics you need to know for how to stir or shake up a great Martini.  CHEERS!

Martini Making: The king of all martinis is the “basic martini”. It is a symbol of elegance and adult recreation. Those who are passionate about their martini fall into one of 2 camps: (1) those who believe there’s only one real martini and it’s made with gin, and (2) those who believe a vodka martini is a real martini. Since the camps are always split, make sure you serve both versions at your party. *FYI, the original martini was gin, vermouth and an olive. James Bond as 007 introduced the vodka martini making it the symbol of ultimate sophistication. There are many variations of the basic martini and endless types of “martinis”. To save money, time and effort, keep it simple by only offering a few martini variations at your party.

Shaken or Stirred or on the Rocks? Preparation of the martini is really a personal choice and many enjoy the ceremony surrounding it. Whether you shake or stir, the execution is crucial in creating a great martini. Whatever method you choose,the goal is to mix it very cold!

Shaken: Add ingredients to the cocktail shaker only when you are ready to serve it. Give it a shake over each shoulder and pour immediately. Allowing it to sit even a few moments will result in the drink becoming “watered down”, the ice melts quicker than you think. Overshaking the drink will cloud the martini, a no-no for real martini enthusiasts. If someone asks for their martini shaken, they most likely are a “purist” and don’t want a watered down or cloudy martini! There are some people however that will want a vigorously shaken Martini and enjoy the “skating the martini” or sipping through the small pieces of ice that coat the top of the cocktail.

Stirred: A convenient and easy method for preparing martinis for a crowd. The “razzle dazzle” of shaking cocktails has overshadowed the traditional ceremony of preparing a pitcher of martinis for guests. Introduce your guests to the sophisticated and stylish preparation of a pitcher of martinis. While they chat around your bar area, pour the ingredients into a glass martini pitcher and stir with a stir rod until it is nice and cold (remember, don’t overdo it). Using a strainer, pour martinis into martini glasses, garnish and serve.

On the Rocks: some guest will need to drink their martini on the rocks and enjoy it watered-down.

Simple tips for making your martinis:

  • Put your liquor (gin and vodka) in the freezer the day before you’re making martinis.
  • Ice glasses (if you don’t have room in your freezer, pour cold water into glasses before serving martinis).
  • The amount of vermouth in a martini makes or breaks a martini. The ratio of liquor to vermouth ranges from a 4:1 to an 8:1 ratio. The less vermouth the drier the martini.

Martini Recipes

Basic Martini

  • 2 1/2oz gin or vodka
  • Dash of dry vermouth.
  • Shake or stir and serve cold with garnish.

Dirty Martini Recipe

  • 2 1/2oz vodka or gin
  • 1/2oz or less of the brine from the cocktail olives depending on how dirty you want to be.
  • Dash of dry vermouth.
  • Shake cold, serve in a martini glass. Garnish with olives.


  • 2 1/2oz gin or vodka
  • Dash of dry vermouth.
  • If you like it “dirty” add 1/4oz or less of onion juice, i.e. the juice that the cocktail onions are packaged in.Shake or stir ingredients cold, strain into a martini glass and garnish with cocktail onions.


  • 2 1/2oz vodka or gin
  • 1/4oz lime juice.
  • Shake or stir cold, strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

the bar


  • Plenty of martini glasses and rocks glasses (pre-chilled or have ice/water available for quick chilling)
  • 2 cocktail Stainless Steel shakers
  • 2 Martini Pitchers with stir rods
  • 2 Jigger or 2 Shot Glass with ounce measurements
  • Citrus Knife (for creating twists)
  • Hawthorne stainless steel strainer
  • Ice bucket with tongs
  • Cocktail napkins
  • Garnish picks or toothpicks
  • 2 -3 bar towels


Martini Glass Holds: 4 to 6 ounces.  The Martini glass is design  with a few basic functions in mind:  keeping the ingredients cold , keeping them from separating and infusing the garnish with the flavor of the martini for a nice treat at the end.  You will need 1.5  per guest, borrow what you don’t have – they don’t need to match.

Rocks Glass:  Holds: 4 to 8 ounces.  Rocks glass or lowball glass is short with a base diameter of the same size as the rim. These glasses are most commonly used for serving “straight” drinks “on the rocks”. You will need 1.5  per guest, borrow what you don’t have – they don’t need to match.

Garnishes Provide a martini garnish buffet.   Garnishes are what personalize and make your martini glamorous. Include lemons, limes and oranges for making twists or slices, Maraschino cherries, herbs such as rosemary for skewers, pearl onions, olives*, stuffed green olives and hard candies which are great for infusing flavor.   Make sure to include toothpicks, cocktail skewers and garnish picks.  When making the garnish use odd amounts like 1,3 or 5 they are lucky.

*note on olives: rinsed olives for basis martini,  leave olives in juice for a dirty martini

Ice Clean Ice is of the utmost importance. Regular ice cubes in your freezer can absorb the odor and flavor of anything else in your freezer. Store ice in an air tight container .

4 Responses to How To Make A Martini

  1. Dawn says:

    That is a great tips James! Thanks for sharing – Dawn

  2. James D. Pottinger says:

    I always keep the gin/vodka in the freezer. I also put 1 oz of water in the bottom of a martini glass and place in the freezer as well thus giving one a bed of ice to pour one’s martini over. I call this the “Iceberg Martini”
    Your martini will be extremely cold and will stay cold for the duration.

  3. Dawn says:

    Yes, limit yourself to 2 Martini’s the night before and enjoy with food!

  4. Pamela Pinta says:

    Can you tell me how to get rid of the hangover the next day?

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