The Perfect Martini Cocktail

The Perfect Martini is simply one that is perfect for you; starting with good gin and vermouth can make all the difference!

I originally created this post to celebrate the one year anniversary of Friday Cocktails…and that was FIVE years ago! A lot has changed since then but one thing has not. This is still my way to make the perfect martini cocktail and I thought a reboot in order.

While I have lamented my desire to hang on to summer for dear life; today it’s clear that I’m starting to lose ground. When it’s 59 degrees outside and I’m determined to still have breakfast on the patio you have to start accepting reality.

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I needed socks and a jacket! So, to that end, I simply could not post another fruity summer drink today (although tomorrow is supposed to be back in the 90’s!).  I wanted to make something transitional and nothing really works quite like the martini…it’s a favorite all year round; spring, summer, fall or winter.

I read an article once that said a good dry martini is like an Ernest Hemingway short story; deceptively simple (only three ingredients), but the product of a deft, confident hand. You don’t just throw a good martini together – it’s the cocktail that many professional and home bartenders consider the most difficult.

I love to make them at home and I serve them with a simple appetizer too…these crackers with a dollop of cream cheese and black olive tapenade (pretend it’s caviar!) are perfect!

I know, in my heart of hearts, that in it’s purist form, a martini is quintessentially just two things. Gin and Vermouth. Many purists (who the heck are those people anyhow) would cry foul with anything but a lemon twist for garnish but I occasionally like an olive or two (or three) in mine; try them both to find which you prefer.

As much as the martini itself I just LOVE an olive that’s been marinating in some gin for a bit. Before I ever came to enjoy the cocktail itself I would meet a friend for a couple of drinks on Friday night. He was a martini man through and through…and I stole his gin soaked olives every chance I could get!

The Perfect Martini

With just gin, vermouth and a garnish, it’s a tough act to get just right. Too much gin and it tastes like you’ve ordered it straight, too little and you’ve got a vermouth cocktail.

It’s all about balance and personal taste and that personal taste part simply can not be denied; to me it is simply the most important ingredient.

The history of the Martini

The origins of the martini cocktail are diverse and as a result only add confusion to any history. One story tells of a drink made during the gold rush of the 1800s in Martinez, California, in which barman Julio Richelieu mixed a drink he called “The Martinez,” that was comprised of one part Sauternes wine with three parts gin, garnished with an olive.

Another attributes the name to a rifle used by the British Army in the late 1800s called the Martini and Henry and yet another story gives credence to a New York bartender in the 1900s who mixed a drink comprised of equal parts London Dry Gin and Noilly Prat vermouth with orange bitters.

The Perfect Martini

The Best Martini?

The arguments on how to best make the perfect martini are as many as the stories of origin. What kind of Gin? Beefeaters may often be cited as the gin of choice but I still love Bombay Sapphire.

Chill everything to within an inch of its life or do you just chill the glasses? How much vermouth? I’ve heard that some prefer such a delicate whisper of vermouth that you should pour the vermouth first, swirl it in the glass and then empty it before adding gin…now that is a DRY martini!

More choices? Lemon twist or olives. Shaken or stirred? Remember the purists? They will rise up and claim that vigorous shaking “bruises the gin,” whereas others swear that you need to shake the cocktail to chill it to the right temperature.

Can you see how that personal preference ingredient is so important?. Personally? I like mine shaken; I like them ice cold and I’m OK if the shaking tempers the alcohol with a bit of water…that’s MY preference!

Martini with a Lemon Twist

Maybe the reason it is so difficult to make the perfect martini is because with so few ingredients and all of those personal preferences, it is almost impossible to discern how others will love one.

This is why so many find their perfect martini is one made at home. This recipe is one that suits me; vary the vermouth up or down a bit as you find your nirvana and then garnish as you see fit! Yes, that’s perfect!

PIN IT! ‘The Perfect Martini Cocktail’

The Perfect Martini Served with Green Olives in a Martini Glass
The Perfect Martini

The Perfect Martini

We like our dry martini chilled and powerful, with a good kick from the gin tempered by the vermouth.
5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktails, Gin
Cuisine American
Calories 237 kcal


  • 4 Ounces Gin
  • 1 Ounce Dry vermouth
  • 1 inch strip of peel from an un-waxed lemon or skewered olives


  • Pre-chill your shaker, glass, gin, and vermouth.
  • When cold, add ice to the shaker and measure in the required amounts of gin and vermouth. Shake or stir as required.
  • Strain into your chilled glass and twist the lemon peel until it leaves a spritz of lemon oil on the surface of the cocktail or use an olive instead of a twist.
  • Serve, holding by the stem.


Chilling all of your components is critical. The ice will take the cocktail to a super chill which won’t be tempered by warm glasses. Love me an almost icy martini!


Nutrition Facts
The Perfect Martini
Serving Size
1 Cocktail
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword cocktail, gin, martini, vermouth
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Hi,

    What a fun party. First of all, happy birthday to your beautiful Lauren! I wish this was a “real” cocktail party, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t know which of these gorgeous cocktails to choose first.


  2. This has been my standard for so many years. I love making some of your other cocktails but in a pinch, for me it’s the martini. I’m with you…love the vodka soaked olives too!

    1. Thank you Marci…it’s something I love to do and kind comments like yours help to make it so…Barb

  3. I never tried a martini, but I will now. My drink of choice is scotch and when I try to make a scotch sour I can never make them right. Do you have a recipe for them? thank you, and Happy Birthday to your daughter

    1. Not unlike the whiskey sour it seems though I’ve never had one but I know with a whiskey sour that the best result is when you use fresh ingredients and not a ‘sour’ mix. Try this:

      Per Serving:
      1.5 oz. Scotch Whisky
      1 oz.lemon juice
      0.75 oz. simple syrup (equal amounts of sugar and water heated til sugar dissolves. Cool completely)
      lemon wheel(s)

      Combine scotch, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
      Shake vigorously 10-12 times and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
      Garnish with lemon wheel.

      Now I want one. 🙂

  4. oh depends on the time of day… sometimes a classic G&T hits the spot, but a white russian for dessert is always a good option 🙂

  5. Barb, what a lovely post–it all came together beautifully! I’d have to say my favorite cocktail is a Whiskey Sour. It’s right up there with a Tom Collins.

  6. My favorite cocktail is the Cape Cod, I adore anything with cranberries:-) I used to order the drink all the time when I was in Vegas relaxing:-) Your martini looks gorgeous, thank you for sharing about the delicious drink! Hugs, Terra

  7. This may be a lame answer, but I love a really good Margarita, made with the best Tequila on the rocks…oh and I do love me a Mojito in the summer time! Thanks much 🙂

  8. Oooh am I loving each and every one of these cocktails! I have to say that other than being particularly partial to the two boozy desserts 😀 I am dying to taste anything berry! Love! Sweet, fruity, berries or cranberries just make a drink for me. And Cookin Canuck’s Grapefruit Greyhound is intriguing! I have to say that I had my very first martini (and the only time I drank them) when I was in Nigeria. Seemed to be the expat drink! I always thought the olives were the best part of the cocktail, but then, as I said, I’m a fruity berry girl. Love this amazing round up. And don’t I LOVE a good olive tapenade! Fabulous!

  9. Wow, such a beautiful line up of cocktails, love all the colors, glasses, variations etc.
    Congratulations on your daughter’s celebration and on all the lovely prizes;-)

  10. WOOHOO! Congratulations Barb! I wish I could come for the REAL cocktail party! With the gorgeous round up like that I think I’d be there for a lonnnnng time. Heh.

    Here’s to another delicious year to come!

  11. I can’t believe I never saw anything on the cocktail Friday before until now where I all of a sudden see beautiful cocktails popping up everywhere. Congratulations on the one year anniversary and congratulations with your daughter too!!

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail – that seems a little shocking, really! But anything with Bombay Sapphire gin can’t be bad, can it?
    Thanks so much for inviting me to join the celebrations, Barb – it’s been fun!

  13. Barb…
    I am an idiot and forgot to make a cocktail and post it. I love you though and well you know I am a bit verklempt.

    I live Manhattans the best.

  14. I think I like mine shaken. Because the temperature is important to me. So interesting to read all about The Perfect Martini and yours looks perfect, as have all the drinks you’ve mixed here for us. Happy #FridayCocktail anniversary and thanks for these fun prizes!! *everyone’s drinks look so pretty:)CHEERS!

  15. Great round-up! Kind of wish I made a more exotic, ‘real’ cocktail. Maybe soon! Happy one year..looking forward to the next!

  16. This is awesome! All of the cocktails look amazing and make me want to be more of a “drinker’! I’ve only tried a martini once and it was made by my brother in law, who I’m sure had no clue what he was doing! I would imagine yours would win me over! Of course I follow you on twitter and I’m off to subscribe to your feed.

  17. I have to pick just one cocktail I like. That is really hard. It depends on my mood and the season. I love a chocolate martini in winter, a lilac martini in spring, a gin and tonic in summer, and I always love a long island iced tea in fall. So that’s one for each season. Ohh and I love eggnog too. Does that count as a cocktail?

  18. I just found your blog through Gourmande in the Kitchen – how fun! I was a rum & Coke drinker, but have moved to Cosmopolitans. I think your blog will broaden my horizons! Happy birthday/anniversary – and many more!

  19. Am a newcomer to your blog, love cocktails and am on a mission to explore! I love the submission by Amanda from Lambs’ Ears and Honey with St Germain! I mix it with Citadelle Gin 1:2 martini-style with a grapefruit twist!

  20. Congratulations, Barb! Thanks so much for inviting me to the party. You have a spectacular spread. You really know how to throw a party!! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAUREN!! Hope it’s a great one! And I would say the Chocolate Champagne Float is my favorite. Each one is spectacular!

  21. Happy Anniversary! You did it and how! What an amazing party we have going on here! Wish you Many more to come!

    My Favorite one is the blood orange Margarita you made! It is out of this world!

  22. Happy anniversary to The Friday Cocktail … and happy birthday to Lauren!!!
    My favorite cocktail right now would have to be a new one a friend introduced me to a couple of weeks ago – rosemary Gin Tonic from “The Herbal Kitchen” cookbook – it’s so light and refreshing

  23. White Russian Milkshake for me!! Thanks StarFoods for directing me here! And a very happy birthday to your ‘baby’..

  24. My favorite cocktail on the list is the pink grapefruite greyhound. Wow, you’ve got such loot and plunder. Hope I get lucky. I want to make the black olive spread. Can it be olives from a can?

  25. An excellent way to celebrate!
    I’m thinking I don’t know any bloggers who DIDN’T post a cocktail recipe today (myself included)! Not that I’m complaining, of course 🙂
    My favorite drink is a French 75. Would you believe I have yet to enjoy a traditional martini? I’m hoping I just haven’t had it made the way I like yet… Happy Friday Cocktails!

  26. WOOT!! Congratulations Barb!! This is an awesome party – I love how different all the cocktails are (now if we could just do this IRL that would be amazing!!)
    Now, as to the martini, I like mine dry and I am with you “boozy olives all the way!”

    And last, but certainly not least… HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAUREN!!!!

  27. Its friday thanks for the martini reciepts.. A good martini and that basket you are giving away would be great. very nice website with great ideas. Thanks

  28. I like to try new drinks but I have to say that one of my favorites is a mojito. My favorite was consumed in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Brings back great vacation memories.

  29. My favorite cocktail is a vodka tonic. I experiment often and am always willing to try new things, but I always seem to go back to these.

  30. Your Friday Cocktails are something I look forward to each week, Barb! It’s such a fabulous series. Thanks so much for including me in your party. As for my favorite cocktail…kamikazes, hands down.

  31. a reposado is one of my favorites, too! we brought a lot of it back from Mexico last year, we had to buy a piece of luggage to check! 😉

    happy birthday Lauren, and happy one year cocktails! 🙂

  32. Just discovered your site from my friend Elle of Elle’s New England Kitchen. Awesome and beautiful pictures. Definitely trying the vodka and root beer b/c I love everything with vodka.

  33. Happy Celebration, Barb! Congratulations on a great year of cocktails, so glad to be joining you in the party today. Your post is wonderful– so much information, beautiful photos and a great drink. I’ll be back later to join in the giveaways– what fun!! Here’s to you!

  34. Happy birthday to The Friday Cocktail and your beautiful daughter! What a wonderful celebration and gorgeous round up of drinks…is it too early yet??

  35. What a fun party. First of all, happy birthday to your beautiful Lauren! I wish this was a “real” cocktail party, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t know which of these gorgeous cocktails to choose first. Congratulations to you too Barb for a year of great cocktail recipes. I have enjoyed every one.

  36. Happy Birthday to the Friday cocktail, to your daughter Lauren and to my own mom! It’s a special day!! I think my favorite cocktail is dirty martini straight up. Grey Goose vodka and extra olives. I like it simple and strong. 🙂

  37. My kind of anniversary part B. This is exactly what i need for a Friday wind-down-and-sliding-into-the-weekend kind of day. Hic .. er.. I mean Hugs xo

  38. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAUREN!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRIDAY COCKTAIL!! What a celebration! Congratulations Barb. A great way to wrap up a truly stupendous year of Friday Cocktail by Creative Culinary. You have set the bar (no pun intended) for how to write and photograph cocktail posts with this project of yours. An example for many, an inspiration for all. Thanks for the party, thanks for the year and all the best going forward.

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