Shaken or stirred, the Martini is a cocktail classic. And unlike many cocktails that can veer on the too-sweet side, it is clean and crisp. While minimalist in its ingredients list, mastering the perfect Martini is harder than it looks.

Monday 19 June is Martini Day, so now is the perfect time to brush up on your Martini-making skills and celebrate in style.

Follow these tricks to get yours just right.

The spirits

Traditionally, a Martini contains a spirit (originally gin – although vodka is also a popular choice) and vermouth. But not all gins, vodkas and vermouths are created equal – quality is key in such a simple cocktail. There’s no place to hide. Your spirit should be an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% or higher, and your vermouth a dry version (look to the French, not the Italians).

Good to know: Vermouth is a fortified wine that has been flavoured with botanicals.

Dry or wet?

This question relates to your spirit to vermouth ratio. The drier the Martini, the more spirit used (and subsequently, less vermouth). A wet Martini has a higher ratio of vermouth (but is still mostly spirit), and is a good option for Martini newcomers as it’s has a softer taste.

Shaken or stirred?

James Bond may have made the shaken Martini famous, but most experts will argue that stirred is the only way to make a Martini. A shaken Martini is cloudier in appearance, more aerated and very often over-diluted. A stirred Martini is a pro’s preferred method as it allows you to know as soon as the cocktail has reached the perfect temperature. Stirring binds the Martini, chills it and dilutes it ever so slightly. The most important thing to remember: The colder the better.

Tip: Always use ice that’s fresh from the freezer – melting ice can quickly water down your Martini.


A garnish is more than just the finishing touch for the look of your Martini, it also completes the flavour profile. A dirty Martini is one with olives (and often a splash of olive brine), and gives a touch of saltiness to your cocktail. A Gibson Martini features a pickled onion – which offers a beautiful balance to a Martini’s crisp flavour; and a Martini with a twist has notes of lemon, squeezed from the peel.

If you want to try another take on the classic Martini, try the Vanilla & Lemon Martini at Jamie’s Italian or the Kinn Martini from Kinn Thai.