From Chanticleer Society
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Basic Recipe


  • gin
  • vermouth
  • orange bitters

Stir well with ice to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, or green olives if the guest prefers.

You will notice in the above recipe that there is no reference as to how much of each ingredient to use, and in the case of the vermouth, which type. Unlike almost any other recipe, the Martini is one for which it is difficult to provide a canonical recipe. No matter what recipe you think is the best and most appropriate, there will be countless others who will be adamant that you are wrong.

In the recipe displayed above, certain aspects of it are ones we "hope" represent a canonical interpretation.

  1. Gin - If a customer simply asks for a "Martini" it should be made with gin. If they were wanting it made with Vodka instead, they should ask for a "Vodka Martini". Yes, we know that some (if not many) customers will feel that Vodka should be the assumed spirit.
  2. Vermouth - A Martini should always include vermouth, and hopefully more than just a dash.
  3. Orange Bitters - If at all possible, a properly made Martini should utilize orange bitters. The reason that this became "uncommon" is because for the longest time orange bitters was not readily available. Now that it is easy to acquire, there is no reason that it should not be utilized.
  4. Stirred - A Martini should always be stirred, unless the customer specifies otherwise.
  5. Lemon Twist - This is the preferred garnish for a Martini, however it has become almost iconic for the Martini to be garnished with olives instead. This is usually because the customer likes to have them as an extra little appetizer that accompanies the drink, much the same way that the Bloody Mary is garnished with a variety of edible accompaniments. Our recommendation is to serve several olives on the side.

Martini Origins

Historical Recipes

Dry Martini

Originally, the recipe for the Martini called for sweet vermouth, just like the Manhattan. This is partially due to sweet vermouth being the type that was initially most readily available. Over time, dry vermouth became available, and when a customer wanted either a Martini or a Manhattan made with it instead of the typical sweet vermouth, they would ask for a "dry Martini" or "dry Manhattan".

It wouldn't be until after American Prohibition that customers began to use "dry" as an indicator of how much vermouth to use, instead of which type. During this time, vermouth was almost seen as an evil ingredient, and one which should be attempted to minimize as much as possible. This took such extremes as to using eye-droppers or misters to administer the barest hint of vermouth, and the term "extra dry Martini" would be utilized to indicate that no vermouth at all should be used.