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Classic Dry Martini

Two coupe cocktail glasses filled with dry martinis and garnished with green olives on cocktail picks alongside a...
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell
  • Active Time

    5 minutes

  • Total Time

    5 minutes

A chilled gin martini served up in a graceful cocktail glass is one of the most elegant and sophisticated drinks around. The classic martini recipe is fairly simple—just gin, vermouth, and an olive or lemon peel (and possibly some orange bitters). The key is to stir the drink with lots of ice until it is very cold (forget what James Bond said about shaking it), then pour it into a chilled martini glass or coupe to keep everything as cool as possible.

This dry martini is made with five parts gin to one part dry vermouth, which gives the drink a lovely aromatic quality. If you prefer the cocktail even drier, you can lower the proportion of vermouth to ¼ ounce—but don’t leave it out altogether or your drink won’t be a martini at all (just a glass of cold gin with an olive). That said, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this drink. Over the years people have come up with a long list of martini cocktail variations that are all delicious: You can use equal parts gin and vermouth for a Fifty-Fifty, use a combination of dry and sweet vermouths for a “perfect martini,” add some olive juice to the mix for a dirty martini, or swap the olive for a cocktail onion to make a Gibson.


Makes 1 drink

Cracked ice
2½ ounces London dry gin, such as Beefeater
½ ounce dry vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
Green olive or lemon twist for garnish
  1. In mixing glass or cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin and vermouth. Stir well, about 30 seconds, then strain into martini glass. Garnish with olive or lemon twist and serve. 

    Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published in February 2007. Head this way for more classic cocktail recipes and check out our hub for cocktail tips and recipes here→

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  • Thank you, thank you for giving the classic dry gin martini its proper elevated place. I consider every exotic variant – chocolate martini?? aberrant and unworthy of the name. It’s said that Churchill’s favored mix began with icy cold gin, followed by a glance across the room at a bottle of vermouth. Very dry!! My own favored prep is even drier – I just imagine the vermouth. Olives and twist? Yes. Cheers!

    • Steve Meltzer

    • St-Cirq le Bourg, Aquitaine

    • 9/20/2023

  • I have always liked to go with the old standby, six parts gin and one part vermouth. I do prefer Tanqueray, but there are a few others that I can take. When given the druthers I always use Noilly-Prat. I also tend toward the twist rather than the olive. But, the gin must be 47%. For a martini, of course, there is no substitute for the gin nor for the vermouth. No gin or no vermouth--NO MARTINI. The Vesper, as noted below, is a separate case. 3 measures of gin, 1 measure of (grain based) vodka, and a half measure of Kina Lillet, often mistakenly taken for Lillet Blanc. There are a number of substitutes for the Kina Lillet, of which I am currently using Cocci Americana. My side of the shaken or stirred is with the shaken, since that is the better way to get the martini COLD. As Bond it, "I want that one drink to be large, and very strong, and very cold, and very well made."

    • BARRY Miller

    • SLC, UT

    • 8/18/2023

  • I know y'all like to play with the proportions, but this is perfect. Of course, I made it with vodka... :-)

    • SandraJ

    • Durham NC

    • 6/8/2023

  • It is my understanding (and I believe historical research will back me on this), that the term "Dry" has been misinterpreted and misused over the years. Commonly, it is believed that the term "Dry" simply means that less vermouth is used in the recipe. In fact, that is not the case. The earliest versions of the gin martini used versions of gin that were commonly sold in the era (late 1800's) referred to as Genever, or later Old Tom Gin. These gins tended to be sweeter, and more citrus forward. As drier versions of gin came into vogue, such as London Dry Gin, the term "Dry Martini" came about to specify the gin desired, as opposed to the quantity of vermouth. Nowadays, people seem to prefer reducing the vermouth probably because they do not like the flavour. The reason for that is that people tend not to know that vermouth has a short shelf life, and that it is to be stored refrigerated. Fresh chilled vermouth is tasty, whereas stale vermouth tends to oxidize and taste off. Remember, buy only small amounts of vermouth, keep it in the fridge, and plan to use it in about two months to ensure it is at its best. Don't cut back from the 2 to 1 recipe of the classic Martini if you have good fresh vermouth.

    • Dan B

    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • 4/22/2023

  • Excellent dry martini ratio! I didn't have any olives unfortunately and prepared on the rocks with The Botanist gin instead (because I read somewhere that a reviewer detected briny notes while tasting). The light touch of vermouth really ties the complex botanicals of that gin together. The vermouth dampens the sweet elderflower and licorice notes and lets you experience the gin in a new way. Personally, I experience more pepper and spicy cinnamon notes.

    • A W

    • Wilmington, DE

    • 8/28/2022

  • I've been making martinis for over 40 years and was taught a long time ago it's very important you pour the vermouth first over the ice, then shake it, then strain it and leave the ice just coated with Vermouth, then Pour in your top quality GIN, then Shake it well, then strain off , add three olives and notice the flavor is improved but doesn't dilute the actual flavor of the Gin with over amounts of Vermouth. Try It You'll Be Amazed

    • Sam

    • Delaware

    • 12/20/2021

  • The beauty of a martini, much like a woman, is in the eye, and a martini is great because there are so many personal ways to enjoy one. Other than a few basic rules- shake it so it is COLD!, a drink with vodka is not a martini, and cold gin alone is cold gin, not a martini- there are many variations. For those of you who love the olive, and I am always thankful for that meal with my drink, I suggest giving the lemon twist a try one time. As long as you get the oil of the lemon and not a hint of fruit, I think you’ll find it proves a pleasant alternative, is not as salty, and displaces much less gin from the glass.

    • El Barto

    • Chicago burbs

    • 11/14/2020

  • I'm relatively new to martini drinking but this is my absolute favorite recipe so far. I've been using Bombay Dry Gin and Dolin. Is it bad to fantasize about a drink??

    • ksheehan6199051

    • My Kind of Town, Chicago

    • 9/8/2020

  • Duffy the Chef. Ouch, you just punched me in the Flemming. The Bond of Old did not drink a Martini per se. It was and is known as the Vespers cocktail. Your recipe is very correct and as he stated, "I only have one drink before dinner, and it must be very large and very cold."

    • Julio65

    • Miami, FL

    • 7/24/2020

  • I have been an enormous fan of the true (gin) martini for over 30 years. Gin is a very unique drink in that riots and fist fights can start over which is the best. I have enjoyed Boodles, Tanqueray, and 10, Bombay, all three, Gordon's and Beef-eater to name a few. Vermouth, I always go for Noilly Pratt. And lightly at that. Whatever Gin you use, just make sure it is very high proof. At least 94%-47 proof. Go for Navy strength if you can get it, 50+ proof. A martini is a serious no children allowed cocktail. I stuff my own olives, unless I'm having a Gibson, I use three. One with Roquefort cheese, one with a salted anchovy and with a Spanish cured anchovy. Tip. If you ream out the tip of plastic "cajun" injector syringe, you can put room temp. Roquefort or Blue in it and inject the olive. It saves enormous time and mess. A paper clip opened up serves as a perfect gaff to pull anchovies into your olives. Obviously you need to ditch the pimento. Enjoy! I certainly do.

    • Julio65

    • Miami, FL

    • 7/24/2020

  • This is a great simple and classic recipe. I do however prefer vodka when making a Dry Martini. Check out this video tutorial by Grey Goose.

    • Heidi_Smith1983

    • Arizona

    • 11/20/2013

  • Fill the martini glass with ice before you start making the drink, dump the ice out when ready to fill the glass, the glass will be cold and keep the martini cold longer

    • cjsmithphoto

    • Brantford, Ont., Canada

    • 11/2/2013

  • Yes, as with many recipes, one can 'adjust' depending upon one's taste. But the key with such a simple drink is the gin and vermouth. Noilly Prat is my fave, but I also like Dolin, also French. My favorite gin used to be Junipero, but now I prefer Plymouth English gin. (Though the price just jumped dramatically, so I've been using Bombay Sapphire, which I like.) Olives or a lemon peel twist are the classic garnishes NOT cocktail onions. The latter turns the drink into a Gibson...

    • davided

    • Madison, WI

    • 10/19/2013

  • This may be an excellent martini but it is NOT a James bond martini. From "Casino Royale" 1953 - "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then, add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?" BTW: It's called a "Vesper" after Bond's girl friend.

    • DuffyTheChef

    • Colebrook, NH

    • 2/21/2013

  • James ALWAYS ordered his martini, shaken, NOT stirred.

    • cnelson

    • Garden Valley, CA

    • 2/21/2013

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