How To Order A Martini 101

August 6, 2020

My favourite drinking buddy is my grandmother. The matriarch of the family, she can hold her liquor with the best of 'em. Typically, if we're together after 5pm local time we're drinking Martinis. Even though we're both drinking the same drink, we're not drinking the same drink. My grandmother orders a Vodka Martini, very dry, with a twist and a glass of ice on the side.I order a dirty, wet, Gin Martini with as many olives as they'll give me, as long as they aren't stuffed with cheese. (Sidebar: let's stop stuffing ourMartini olives with cheese please!)

Breaking it down, there are 3 essential components to your Martini order: Base Spirit,Vermouth, and Garnish. Let's go one-by-one:

Base Spirit

The age-old question: Gin or Vodka? Traditionally, a Martini is made with Gin, butGin and Vodka are almost identical. This is a gross exaggeration, but Gin is simply Vodka with the addition of Juniper, the essential flavour that gives Gin its delightful herbaceous kick. So if you want a drink with more earthy notes, rip the Gin. If you're looking for something a little cleaner, stick with Vodka.


Technically,Vermouth isn't a spirit: it's a fortified wine. It's an herb-and-spice flavoured grape-alcohol with a higher alcohol percentage than other wines due to the addition of a neutral alcohol, like clear grape Brandy. Vermouth adds even more botanical deliciousness to your cocktail, but the verbiage while ordering can be confusing. It's a touch counterintuitive, but you need to order your Martini wet if you want more Dry Vermouth. A Dry Martini means less Vermouth...tricky, I know!

If you want to do something totally crazy, you could order a Perfect Martini. Like the Perfect Manhattan, the Perfect Martini is made with an equal mix of both Dry and Sweet Vermouth, adding deeper flavour and a touch of colour.


There are two traditional Martini garnishes. Vodka Martinis typically come with a lemon twist and Gin Martinis have olives, but there's nothing wrong with an olive-filled Vodka Martini or a twist with your Gin.

And if you're particularly fond of olives, make sure you order your Martini dirty.That means it will be stirred with a splash of olive brine which adds abrilliant salty element to your beverage, making it instantly more scrumptious. 

If you really want to take your garnish game to the next level, go ahead and order yourself a Gibson. That's a Martini with a cocktail onion. You know, those little tiny circular white onions? That's a cocktail onion! Name a classier way to eat an onion... I'll wait...