Stop Ordering Your Martini Wrong

Stop ordering your martini incorrectly. Using the wrong martini terms will lead to a bad beverage.

You’re a man who enjoys the taste of alcohol, but don’t indulge in one of the most classic drinks for sophisticated men because you don’t know how to place your order?

Listen, you may not know how to order a martini yet, or you’ve been frustrated when your waiter or waitress doesn’t ask how you like it, or gets the order wrong… learn the lingo and save yourself some frustration my friend!

The first point is… when you say the word martini you should be default be receiving a gin martini.

Ironically making a perfect classic martini is different than a perfect gin martini.  A classic martini is 3 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth, stirred on ice and garnished with an olive.

(Ironically as you’ll see, a classic martini tastes perfect while a perfect martini is a very different drink.)

Saying the words “vodka martini” is what makes it an entirely different drink… well… ok… a very similar drink that replaces gin with vodka. Either way, while many beverages have stolen the glassware and added “tini” to the end, that does not make them a martini!

A class martini is simple, elegant, and delicious.

It involves 3 parts london dry gin, to 1 part dry vermouth, stirred with ice and strained into a chilled martini glass, garnished with an olive.


Most Common Martini Terminology

Dry – Think of the gin as the dry element and vermouth as the wet. If you want a “dry” martini, you want less gin, if you want a “very dry martini” you want only the slightest splash of vermouth.

Dirty – If you love savory salty flavors and your martini never seems to come with enough olives, dirty means adding some olive brine into the mix. If your martini had 1/4 oz vermouth it would be standard to include 1/4 oz olive juice to make your dirty martini though you can obviously specify “how dirty” you want it.

Shaken – Don’t. If your bartender by default shakes a martini he’s terrible and if you ask for it shaken, you’re terrible. I realize there’s room for some debate here but… in general shaking a martini chips off ice into the drink diluting it and ‘bruises’ the alcohol changing the velvety smooth consistency. By default martini’s are stirred, and you don’t need to mess with it.

Advanced Martini Terminology

Burnt – When you order a burnt martini you are asking the bartender to splash a little single malt scotch to coat the glass before the pour. Some bartenders will simply add a quarter oz of scotch to the mixing cup before the pour. This is a personal favorite of mine.

Gibson – sounds fancy, but it just means you’ll get a pickled onion instead of an olive as your garnish.

With a Twist – In theory a strip of citrus peel is twisted just above the glass to release aromatic oils… in reality it means that strip will be twisted and left in the drink as a garnish. This is often an orange, lime, or lemon. If you have a wildly advanced pallet you’ll know which gin requires which twist.

It’s all actually pretty simple.

Know the terms, and you’ll know what to expect, unless your bartender doesn’t know how to make your martini correctly… it happens.

Handy Dandy Graphical Guide To Martini Terminology

You need to know how to order a martini whether it's a perfect martini or a classic gin martini. Dry, stirred, or burnt. Know the lingo so you can get the right cocktail for you.