Here is everything you have to know about how to make a dry martini. No drink is so easy to make, yet so hard to get perfect. Yet, with the proper ingredients and attention to details, anyone can do it.
The definition of a dry martini
A dry martini is a mixture of gin and vermouth. A drop or two of orange bitters is an optional ingredient. Some gins are so good that it’s a sin to add anything more than some garnish.
For variation, try substituting the gin with vodka. If you want to garnish your dry martini, there is a lot more than the traditional olive to choose from. Always remember: the drink has to be properly chilled.
The ingredients and tools you need to make a dry martini
- Gin or vodka
- Martini glass
- Garnish (Olives, lemon peel, cucumber, lime peel, orange peel.)
- Orange bitters (optional)
- Lots of ice
- A zester or peeler
- Cocktail picks
- Tall glass or shaker
- Bar spoon
- Measuring cup (centiliter, milliliter, or oz.)
Don’t buy the cheapest gin. Gin is basically a vodka with added taste. A cheap gin will generally taste very little. Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, and New Amsterdam are all gins that will give you value for money. If I were to only buy one vermouth, it would have to be the Martini Extra Dry.
If going for vodka, do not be afraid to experiment with flavored types. My personal favorites are the Danzka Citrus Vodka and the, regretfully discontinued, Absolut Exposure Vodka. You can also combine gin and vodka in the same cocktail. Here is my recipe:
- 3 parts dry gin
- 3 parts Absolute Exposed Vodka
- 1 part Martini Extra Dry
Stir in a shaker with ice.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Serve without garnish.
In place of the discontinued Absolute Exposed Vodka, try experimenting with a mix of Absolute Cilantro Vodka and Absolute Mango Vodka.
How to make a dry martini
Make sure that you have plenty of ice and that your garnishes are fresh. If you are using peels, make sure to rinse the fruit in cold water before use. Chill the martini glasses by filling them with cold water and an ice cube. Find all your ingredients and the tools that you will need.
Shaken or stirred?
This is not a bogus question. There is a huge difference between the two. A shaken cocktail is colder and more diluted. Hence, it will have less taste and a lower alcohol content. For this reason, if making a dry martini, I would recommend stirring.
The gin (or vodka)/martini ratio
This is up to personal taste. I have seen recipes with 2 parts gin and 1 part vermouth. Personally, I prefer a ratio of 6 to 1. Some purist will tell you 10 to 1 or even 15 to 1.
Back to making the drinks
While the martini glasses are still chilling, fill a tall glass or shaker half full with ice cubes. Add the gin and vermouth in your preferred ratio. Let the alcohol chill in the shaker while you are emptying the martini glasses.
After emptying the glasses, make sure to turn them upside down one more time, and shake the rest of the water from the glasses. This is to minimize the dilution of the drink.
If you are using olives, now it is time to thread them on the cocktail sticks. Then stir the contents of the shaker for about 20 to 30 seconds. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glasses.
If you want to garnish with fruit peel, use a zester or peeler over the glass, to get the fruit oils into the cocktail.
The In and Out Martini
A blog post about how to make a dry martini would not be complete without mentioning the In and Out Martini. Made famous by the American president Richard Nixon, this technique works both for shaking and stirring.
- Add a dash of vermouth to a shaker with ice.
- Shake or stir the vermouth in the shaker.
- Strain to get the vermouth and water out of the shaker.
- Add the gin.
- Stir or shake the gin in the now vermouth covered shaker.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Add garnish.