Name me a cocktail that has more “right ways” to make it than a martini. Name me a cocktail that has more allure and sex appeal than a martini. Can you think of one? I certainly can’t. Despite its seemingly infinite variations, a martini is, at its core, the epitome of simplicity. Here’s the recipe I use when I want to enjoy one.

Martini Cocktail Recipe

2 oz. gin
.5 oz. dry vermouth
Lemon peel for garnish

Combine the gin and vermouth in a mixing glass. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

There aren’t many guys who are into style (or at least style-conscious) who haven’t looked to James Bond for inspiration. And many, myself included, have likely committed 007’s favorite drink order to memory and recited it to a bartender at some point in our lives: a medium dry vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. I’ve never been huge on rules and never afraid to break them if it feels right, but there are two problems with James Bond’s martini recipe that I’m going to stand firm on.

First, a martini should be made with gin, not vodka. Period. Let’s argue about it. The only variation I’ll use vodka in is the Vesper (another famous Bond cocktail), which is still primarily gin-based. Second, you don’t shake cocktails with only spirits. They should be stirred. Period again. Shaking is reserved for drinks with citrus to help release or activate their citrusy-ness.

What kind of spirits do I make my martinis with? Let’s talk about my favorite gins: Hendrick’s, Plymouth, and Philadelphia Bluecoat. For vermouth, my go-to dry vermouth (also a great price) is from Cinzano. If you start to become a vermouth fanatic, I recommend Vya. A little pricier, but very, very nice.

How do you make your martinis? Share your recipes in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo.


Chime In

  • Jeff Byrnes

    The Vesper is my favorite variation, and my preferred recipe for it goes like so:

    * 3 oz. St. George Terroir gin
    * 1 oz. Reyka vodka
    * ½ oz. Kina L’Avion D’or
    * Lemon twist

    The Kina is as close as I’ve found to what I understand to be the original Kina Lillet flavor (as opposed to the current Lillet Blanc, which is more sweet than bittersweet).

    • Brian Sacawa

      Good tip on Kina! I’ll have to seek that out.

  • Tom


    You are spot on for your Martini – 4-1 ratio and stirred, not shaken. That 007 silliness was just Ian Fleming trying to sell more books… although I too, love Vesper once in a while, thanks for the recipe, Jeff! I also agree with Jeff on the lemon twist (vs a “garnish”), the citrus oils really add to the drink.

    Vermouths are a real wild-card. Personally, my go-to is Noilly Prat, but they’ve changed their recipe, “Traditional Dry” is the more complex “global” flavour (my preferred, although it’s yellowish), “Extra Dry” is for USA-only, it’s clear and not as nuanced. My wife loves Lillet Blanc (it’s sweetish), I love Cocchi Americano. I have a bottle of Nya, but to be honest it didn’t knock my socks off – for the price, it should have. Oh well… And there is nothing wrong with the occasional 1-4 ratio “upside-down Martini” (aperitif really, throw in some ice).

    As for gins, all your choices are great – thanks for the shout-out to Philly and try a raw cucumber slice if you use Hendrick’s. As you probably know, there is a huge gin revival going on right now in the States. Some I’ve tried – Death’s Door from Wisconsin is nice, , Aviation is more botanical than most (good thing!), but Junipero from West Coast is like licking a pine tree. There’s even a North Carolina gin – Cardinal – and let’s just leave it at that. In the end, New Amsterdam (from California, despite the name) is my go-to London-style gin, it’s citrus-forward which is just fine with me. Anyway, it’s all good, small-batch distilling going on all over the place :). In a totally different direction, try Citadelle Gin from France – super botanical, I love it. Ok, it’s slightly blue, and if you mix with Noilly Pratt, you get a greenish martini. Who cares, it’s great!



    • Brian Sacawa

      I’ve had Death’s Door’s white whiskey but haven’t tried their gin. I’ll put that on my to-do list. I did, however, just get a bottle of Aviation and was really impressed. Thanks for all the great recs, Tom. You guys like these cocktail posts, eh?

  • Tom

    I do like these posts, my liver doesn’t! ;-) Oh, and I meant “Vya”, not “Nya”. I think I had nyah-nyah-nyah on my mind, I blame my childhood diet of 3 Stooges shows….

    To Jeff, I thought that Cocchi Americano is commonly considered to be closest to Kina Lillet? Not that it really matters, I just drink it for the slight bitterness (Yeha, I like hopped-out IPA’s too).


  • Justin F

    Plymouth, touch of Dolin, up, 3 olives!