Gin Martini

January  9, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

In the 50s, martinis were what Mom and Dad sipped before a dinner of meatloaf, garden salad, and creamed corn.

Not anymore, of course. Cocktails have made an extraordinary comeback and the martini is undoubtedly leading the charge. It has a clean, bracing taste, and we won’t lie–drinking one just makes you look classy.

Where was the cocktail born? The most referenced story in the history books is that it all started in the 1860s with a cocktail called a Martinez–made of gin, sweet vermouth, bitters and maraschino liqueur. Recipes evolved from there, but the martini pioneer is still largely unknown: “It’s kind of like asking who made the first airplane,” cocktail author Barnaby Conrad said in one interview.

Ratios back in the early days were often 1:1 gin to vermouth. From there, they’ve skyrocketed as high as 100:1, but the recipe below is my favorite blend.

How to Make the Perfect Martini for You:

• Never freeze your alcohol–the ice you use during stirring not only chills the liquid down efficiently, but it infuses it with enough water to temper the alcohol burn. Water is an essential component of a well-mixed martini.
• Feel free to play with the vermouth ratio a bit according to your own palate.
• Many classic recipes call for orange bitters–I like a few drops for extra complexity, and if you make yours this way, invite me over.
• Whatever you do, drink your martinis in moderation. Heed the words of Dorothy Parker:

"I like to drink a Martini
But only two at the most.
Three I’m under the table,
Four I’m under the host."

Gin and stirred, this drink is the most classic cocktail of all. —Erika Kotite

  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes 1
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • Ice
  • Green olive or lemon twist
In This Recipe
  1. Pour gin and vermouth into a shaker filled partway with ice.
  2. Stir vigorously with a long-handled cocktail spoon for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Strain liquid into a chilled martini glass. Garnish.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sharon.C
  • kgw
  • Susan
  • Jason Welle
    Jason Welle
  • Molly McClellan
    Molly McClellan
I spend about an equal amount of time behind the laptop and behind the stove. In between preparing and writing about food, I love to hang out with my husband, three children, big shaggy dog and two cats. History is also my thing, especially the Regency period, U.S. Westward expansion and World War II. Favorite drinks: good pinot noirs and classic martinis. Favorite book: Pride & Prejudice. Favorite obsessions: Laura Ingalls Wilder and South Dakota

20 Reviews

Lauren J. May 3, 2021
Love this!! I always add an ounce of olive juice to mine and only .5 ounce dry vermouth. Love me a dirty gin martini
Nancy P. January 20, 2021
There is no easy way to print the recipes you feature because you do not show a print icon on your recipes. I can't print them, at least on my computer. You do have great recipes.
Sharon.C August 5, 2020
I use Lillet Blanc in my Vodka Martinis; 2 oz Vodka to 0.5 oz Lillet stirred with ice and then strained into chilled coupe or Martini glasses.
kgw May 15, 2020
I have 3 styles of Berto in my cupboard: dry (very white), demi-sec (amber), and sweet (red). Each makes a different drink! To each their own!
Susan May 9, 2014
After reading the comments, I may try cutting back on the vermouth. I've been making my 2-1 (gin to vermouth). I think I'll experiment with 3-1. Thanks, folks!
James R. March 20, 2014
Forget the vermouth and shake it before you strain it.
Jason W. March 20, 2014
2-to-1 is classic, although I prefer a 3-to-1 gin-vermouth ratio. If you have a good vermouth, the flavors are complimentary. The "whisper of vermouth" trend, as I've read it, started during prohibition when vermouth became more scarce. I figure, if you're going to go that route, just order a gin on the rocks and save the money and trouble.
patricia M. February 9, 2014
Hmm too bad people didn't read the whole recipe. No ice in the served Martini. I like a good vermouth in my Martini but it varies between 1/2 oz and a full oz.
Bronwen February 6, 2014
I like very dry martinis- I usually just rinse out the glass with a bit of vermouth and then add the cold gin.
Molly M. February 6, 2014
Well if you can believe Tom Lehrer's lyrics to "Bright College Days", it's "hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth, six parts gin to one part vermouth"!
Yimmy August 23, 2013
Ouch! Those ice chips melt and become water. Don't want water in my martini.
Good bartenders put in the gin or vodka and the desired vermouth, shake it lightly, and let it sit while they make another drink. Then it is poured into a chilled glass. The drink then has that little bite that is missing by over shaking.
Thesebmama May 5, 2013
I was raised with 3 parts Gin / 1 part Vermouth, one olive. This from the most fanatically classic Dad ever.
Thesebmama May 5, 2013
Please note that I am 61, so this proportion is from the 50s.
WalterG April 7, 2013
look at "original" recipes for the Martini and you will see a ratio more like the one shown, rather than the "whisper" of Vermouth used nowadays....tastes change. Making it as the drink was originally formulated is at least worth it to see what its progenitors intended.
Dave1944 April 7, 2013
Alton Brown suggests putting some vermouth into a shaker, shaking well, and draining the liquid. The ice is then combined with either vodka or gin. Don't know what the ratio of vodka to vermouth is but it is very low. Since I found out about Alton's version of the martini that's the only one I mix at home.
kbed814 February 7, 2013
Wow- way too much vermouth.
Author Comment
Erika K. February 7, 2013
what's your ratio?
kbed814 February 7, 2013
Classic- 1/4 ounce. Dry- 1/4 teaspoon or less
Author Comment
Erika K. February 8, 2013
I'll have to try that-thanks!
Charley C. April 7, 2013
My ratio: fill shaker halfway with ice. Pour in a bloop of vermouth. Shake and strain, discarding vermouth. Add gin and a dash of juice from the olive jar. Shake vigorously enough to dislodge tiny chips of ice. Strain into icy chilled glass. Drink quickly, while tiny ice sparkles are still suspended in the liquid.