Gin Martinis - The Classics

 Updated Dec. 2015

There is always someone out there who says to me, "it's not a martini unless it's just gin and vermouth!". I agree, a modern martini is gin and vermouth with either a twist of lemon or an olive garnish. Let's not argue. If you walk into a bar and order a martini you should be given something that contains gin and vermouth. Anything else should be prefaced with a "somekind of" martini.

If you add Red Vermouth it is then called a "Perfect Martini". If you use vodka instead of gin it is properly called a "Vodka Martini" or a Kangaroo. If you put a cocktail onion in it instead of a twist or an olive it is a "Gibson". If you add olive juice to a gin martini it is a "Dirty Martini" if you add olive juice to a vodka martini it is a "Dirty Vodka Martini".

Anything else is what I term a "designer" martini - a cocktail that is served in a martini (cocktail) glass. I have stated often that I love martini glasses but I am not fond of these classics. The advent of the "designer" martini finally gave me a way to enjoy cocktail hour with the glass form of my choice. I have since developed my cocktail palate more and do enjoy a good martini these days, but only  if made with excellent gin and good vermouth, therein lies the difference for me.

To all your "purists" out there I say "Loosen Up, Get Off Your High Horse and Take the Cocktail Pick Out of Your Behind." Cocktails are all about fun - do we drink to get serious? No, we drink to enjoy ourselves and relax -- and maybe you should be ordering a "Martinez" instead of your "Martini" as the "Martinez" (recipe below) may very well be the very first version of the modern day Gin Martini.

To keep everyone honest, here are the International Bartenders Association official recipes:


Want something a little different? Try my
or this


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