How To Order A Martini Like A Pro

Dirty, dry, wet, shaken, stirred -- we've got the full low down.

There's no denying it: the martini is a classy drink. It's clean, simple and comes in an elegant cocktail glass. And for the most part, people look good drinking martinis (but don't think for a second we're talking about apple-tinis, choco-tinis or any other fruity-flavored cocktail that comes in a martini glass).

But all the allure that a true martini brings can easily be squashed if you fumble while ordering. Don't feel bad if this has happened to you, there are quite a few terms to learn to be able to order this drink with the same ease and confidence as 007.

First, the basics. A martini is a simple cocktail of gin and vermouth -- with a general proportion of one part dry vermouth to four parts gin, depending on the type you're making; it's usually garnished with a green olive or a lemon peel. The cocktail's origin is a bit of a mystery. Some sources credit the introduction of the martini to the town of Martinez, CA, others to Randolph Martine, a New York Judiciary at the turn of the 20th century. Whatever its origins, prohibition is often attributed for this drink's rise popularity due to how easy it was to illegally manufacture gin. With time, the martini's popularity waned in the face of newer cocktails and wine spritzers, but the martini experienced a resurgence in the 1990s and it looks like the cocktail is here to stay -- and it's not hard to understand why.

Don't miss out on this arguably perfect cocktail -- learn the lingo and drink like a pro.

Dry Martini
Flickr: Wickendon
If you order a dry martini it means that you'd like less vermouth in your cocktail. A very dry martini would contain little to no vermouth; one might just roll the vermouth in the glass so that a thin film coats it -- nothing more.
Wet Martini
Flickr: swanksalot
As you might imagine, ordering a wet martini will get you more vermouth in your cocktail than the standard five-to-one ratio.
Dirty Martini
Flickr: tsmall
A dirty martini, a fairly popular version, uses olive brine or olive juice for an additional kick. If you're a fan of olives, this might be the best option for you.
With A Twist
Flickr: Caroline On Crack
If you'd like your martini with lemon instead of olives ask for it with a twist. And if you are a fan of olives, and maybe a little hungry, it's not uncommon to ask for extras.
The Gibson
Flickr: The Dinner Series
Some prefer their drink served with a cocktail onion. This version has its own name, the gibson. Order that in place of a martini with a cocktail onion if that's what you're looking for.
Shaken Vs. Stirred
Flickr: Dinner Series
We know that James Bond (who orders his cocktail with vodka AND gin) likes his martini "shaken, not stirred," but do we know why? A shaken martini means that the drink is mixed in a cocktail shaker with ice. This is now the more popular way to order a martini, as most cocktails are made with a shaker, but martinis were traditionally stirred. Harry Craddock's "Savoy Cocktail Book" prescribes stirring for all martini recipes. Purists feel that a stirred martini is best so as not to bruise the gin.

How do you like your martini? Let us know in the comments below!

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bond drank a vodka martini.

Before You Go


Gin Cocktails