Gin Martini Recipe

The original, classic and timeless cocktail that all other martinis were born from.

Gin Martini Recipe

Vodka Martinis, Apple Martinis, Espresso Martinis, Vesper Martinis, Dirty Martinis… according to Chef Todd English, none of those drinks are Martinis. Only one is, and that is the Gin Martini. When we think of any kind of Martini, we usually have visions of formal wear, elegance, caviar and sleek, shiny cars. If I’m at home and sipping on the ice cold cocktail, I always feel incredibly sophisticated. Even in my Pac-Man pajamas.

Who created the Gin Martini? Who drank that first that very first ice cold sip, cocked an eyebrow and whispered “perfect”? With something that has become as iconic as this drink, I assumed it could easily be traced back to one person or place. Once again, the history of a famous cocktail has an unreliable history. It’s almost as if the people involved had been drinking.

The most popular legend around the Gin Martini’s birth revolves around the Gold Rush in the late 1800’s. In Martinez, California, a grizzled Forty-Niner came bursting into the local saloon, dancing and hollering about he struck gold and hit it rich. To celebrate, he asked the bartender, one “Professor” Jerry Thomas, for champagne. All out of bubbly, the barkeep instead whipped up a potion that had Old Tom Gin, vermouth, bitters and maraschino. The old miner loved it and named it The Martini after the town. He took the recipe to San Francisco with him where its popularity flourished and grew worldwide. Even the details of this story are disputed, with some claiming the drink was actually invented in San Francisco by Jerry Thomas, who named it after the town the old miner was heading to, that being Martinez.

Sometimes I wish I had a time machine, so I could find that exact moment in history when the Gin Martini was gifted to the world. Most times, though, I just make one and wonder.

Shaken or stirred?

When we think of Martinis, we often hear that famous phrase in our head: “Shaken, not stirred”. When making this classic cocktail, there is only one right way to mix it, according to bartenders and cocktail experts the world over: Stir it. Shaking will bruise the gin and dilute the potency of the cocktail, taking much of the flavor away. Make sure you use the bottom end of the mixing spoon while gently stirring, so you don’t break up the ice and release just the right amount of water.

What is the best gin to use in a Gin Martini?

Many cocktails often have flexibility when it comes to what you use. But for this drink, I’m going to be very strict. We are making a famous drink after all, so we better get it right. Find a good premium London Dry gin for this one. I like a juniper-forward gin, the taste mixes well with a good dry vermouth’s floral profile, making for a really crisp and savory experience.

Gin Martini Recipe
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 2 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange or aromatic bitters optional
  • Lemon twist or 1 or 3 olives for garnish


  • Start by placing your cocktail glass in the freezer to chill.
  • In a mixing glass brimming with ice cubes, pour the gin and dry vermouth. Gently stir for 30 seconds.
    Gin Martini Recipe
  • Strain into your chilled cocktail glass. You can add a dash of bitters for a more subtle taste (optional).
    Gin Martini Recipe
  • Garnish with a lemon twist or olives. If you’re using olives, remember that an even number is considered bad luck so stick with one or three.
    Gin Martini Recipe


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 0.1g | Iron: 0.03mg
Gin Martini Recipe

FAQs & Tips

Gin Martini Recipe

Gin Martini Variations

If the Gin Martini has wetted your whistle for more, Twist and Toast has ‘Tini for every taste and occasion. Check out a few them and try them out!

  • Tequila Martini – I write about this Southwestern-styled take on the stylish drink, using tequila in place of gin.
  • Espresso Martini – Learn how to make the cocktail of the moment with this delicious recipe.
  • Vesper Martini – Not only did author Ian Fleming create a timeless character, James Bond, in the novel Casino Royale, he also created a timeless cocktail as well.
  • Lemon Drop Martini – Like your drinks sweet and tart? Get the best of both with this refreshing recipe.

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