Do you know how to make a Classic Vodka Martini? Here's a clue: it takes just three ingredients—vodka, vermouth, and lemon peel—and you should definitely NOT shake it.
Photography Credit:Nancy Mitchell
Drinking a martini feels like a very grown-up thing to do: sophisticated, classy, in-the-know.
While we can’t promise you’ll feel all those things every time you drink one, you’ll definitely feel something after having one or two, because a martini has a ton of alcohol in it. You’ve been warned!
THE PROPER WAY TO MAKE A MARTINI
Sorry, James Bond. “Shaken, not stirred” is not the proper way to make a martini. The proper way to make a martini is to stir it, and definitely not shake it.
Drinks that have juice in them, like lemon or lime, are meant to be shaken to thoroughly mix the ingredients. But a cocktail without any citrus, like a martini, which contains just two ingredients—vodka and vermouth—doesn’t require shaking.
In fact, the shaking makes the drink look cloudy and less visually appealing. A martini, then: always stirred, never shaken.
WHICH VODKA TO USE FOR A MARTINI
This is a very spirit-forward drink. You’ll definitely be tasting the alcohol, so it’s a good time to use a high-quality vodka. I like Ketel One, but any vodka you prefer will work.
A BIT ABOUT VERMOUTH
Vermouth is a fortified wine that’s been flavored with herbs and botanicals. (Try it on its own—it’s quite tasty!) Vermouth comes in a few different varieties, but the most common ones you’ll encounter are sweet (Italian) and dry (French).
For a martini, you’ll want a dry vermouth, which adds some herbal nuance to the smoothness of vodka. I recommend Dolin or Noilly Prat’s dry vermouth.
If you’re looking for a sweeter, gentler drink, try a blanc vermouth, like Dolin Blanc, which combines the sweetness of a red vermouth with the dryness of a white one.
THE BEST VODKA-TO-VERMOUTH RATIO
Vermouth has its own martini controversy, namely: how much should you add?
Opinions vary. Some say to mix 4 parts vodka with 1 part vermouth; others recommend just rinsing the glass with vermouth before pouring in the vodka, and some drinkers forgo the vermouth altogether! (That last one is not really a cocktail so much as a chilled glass of vodka, but hey, do what makes you happy!)
For my part, I think a ratio of roughly 3:1 vodka and vermouth is the way to go.
LOVE A GOOD COCKTAIL? TRY THESE RECIPES!
- Classic Margarita
- Pomegranate Paloma
- Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail
- Mint and Lime Mojito
- Fall-Spiced Old Fashioned
Classic Vodka Martini Recipe
It should be noted that the other classic martini is a gin martini, so feel free to go in that direction if that's more your style!
- 3 ounces vodka
- 3/4 ounces dry vermouth
- Lemon peel
1 Mix the vodka and vermouth: Fill a mixing glass or pint glass with ice. Add the vodka and vermouth.
2 Stir: Stir for at least 30 seconds.
3 Prep your glass: Allow the drink to sit for a minute. Meanwhile, rub a lemon peel around the rim of a cocktail glass.
4 Strain: Strain the drink into the glass, and drop the lemon peel in. Sip and savor!
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