Dry Martini: Easy 2-Ingredient Classic Cocktail

A Dry Martini is a classic cocktail, made with gin and dry white vermouth. The typical ratio is four-to-eight parts of gin to one part vermouth. It is typically stirred in a mixing glass, strained, and served neat in a martini glass, often garnished with an olive and/or lemon twist. This cocktail boasts a clear, smooth texture, with a botanical flavor profile from the gin, accompanied by subtle bitter-sweet floral or herbaceous notes of the white dry vermouth.

These components create a crisp, refined flavor, ideal for those who appreciate a straightforward yet sophisticated cocktail experience. The martini is a timeless drink with an iconic status in cocktail history.

Ingredients of a Dry Martini

A classic Dry Martini combines only two key ingredients: 60 ml (2 oz) of gin and 15 ml (0.5 oz) of dry white vermouth. To increase the dryness of the drink, the 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth can be increased to as much as 8:1. You will also need some ice cubes for preparing the drink in a mixing glass or a shaker. Typically, the cocktail is garnished with a lemon zest twist and/or one or more olives, to taste.

  • Gin: 60 ml (2 oz)
    • The base of the cocktail with a botanical complexity.
  • Dry White Vermouth: 7.5-15 ml (1/4 – 1/2 oz)
    • Complements the gin with a dry, aromatic quality.
  • Ice cubes
    • For stirring/shaking
  • Lemon zest twist and/or olives
    • Optional, for garnish

Ingredient Substitutes for a Dry Martini

For those looking to explore variations of the Dry Martini, alternative ingredients can be used. Instead of traditional gin, try vodka for a smoother, less herbal profile. If dry white vermouth isn’t available, consider using Lillet Blanc or a dry white sherry for a unique twist. These substitutes offer a delightful variation while maintaining the essence of a Dry Martini.

  • Gin Alternative: Vodka – for smoother, cleaner taste.
  • Dry White Vermouth Substitute: Lillet Blanc or dry white sherry – for distinct yet compatible flavor profile.

Best Ingredients for a Dry Martini

Selecting the right ingredients is crucial for the perfect Dry Martini. Choose a gin with a well-balanced botanical profile, neither too overpowering nor too subtle. For the vermouth, opt for a dry, white variety that complements the gin without dominating the drink. The key is to find ingredients that work harmoniously, each enhancing the other to create a seamless cocktail experience.

  • Gin: Look for balanced botanicals, neither too strong nor too mild.
    Dry White Vermouth: Should be dry yet flavorful, enhancing the gin without overwhelming.

Ingredient Proportions for a Martini

When it comes to the gin-to-vermouth ratio in a Martini cocktail, there are no prescribed rules and everything depends on a personal preference. However, here are some general guidelines:

The ratio for a classic Martini typically ranges between 1 to 100 parts of gin to 1 part of vermouth.

Most often, Martinis are served with a gin-to-vermouth ratio between 1:1 (50/50) and 15:1 (Extra Dry), where the 1:1 ratio is aptly named a “50/50“, the 2-3:1 ratio is considered “Classic“, the 4-8:1 ratio is called a “Dry” Martini, and anything above 15:1 is an “Extra Dry” Martini. If the drink contains more vermouth than gin, the Martini is referred to as “Wet” or “Reversed“.

  • Gin = Vermouth
    • 1:1 – “50/50
  • Gin > Vermouth
    • 2:1 to 3:1 – “Classic
    • 4:1 to 8:1 – “Dry
    • 8:1 to 15:1 – “Extra Dry
    • 16:1 to 100:1 – “Naked
  • Gin < Vermouth 
    • Wet” or “Reversed

Pro Tip: As mentioned earlier, there is no official consensus on Martini ratios and their labels, so please take all of this info with a big grain of salt.

Ingredient Proportions for a Dry Martini

The ideal ratio for a Dry Martini is often debated, with the typical range being from 4 to 8 parts of gin to 1 part of dry white vermouth. This ratio accentuates the gin’s botanical notes while allowing the vermouth’s dryness to subtly enhance the flavor. Personal preference plays a key role, and it’s perfectly acceptable to adjust these proportions. Some prefer a drier martini, which means less vermouth, while others might enjoy a more pronounced vermouth presence for a smoother taste.

  • Classic Ratio: 4-8 parts Gin to 1 part Dry White Vermouth.
  • Adjustable: Tailor the ratio to personal taste – less vermouth for drier, more for smoother.

Pro Tip: What’s my favorite? I prefer a 5:1 gin-to-vermouth ratio, which is sometimes called a “Dickens”.

Flavor Profile of a Dry Martini

A Dry Martini presents a sophisticated flavor profile, characterized by the botanical complexity of gin and the subtle bitter-sweet aromatic notes of dry vermouth. The initial taste is predominantly of gin’s juniper and herbal nuances, followed by the slightly sweet and floral undertones of the vermouth. The overall drinkability is smooth, with a clean and refined finish that lingers pleasantly, appealing to those who appreciate nuanced, sophisticated beverages.

  • Tasting Notes: Botanical gin flavors with bitter-sweet floral vermouth undertones.
  • Drinkability: Smooth, refined, with a clean finish, suited for sophisticated palates.

Tools & Equipment for a Dry Martini

To prepare a Dry Martini, you will need a jigger to measure the ingredients. To combine and chill the ingredients, you will need a mixing glass and a bar spoon. If you prefer to shake your martini, then use a cocktail shaker instead of the mixing glass. Finally, a strainer is needed to ensure a smooth pour into the glass. A martini glass is the traditional choice for serving, showcasing the cocktail’s elegance.

  1. Cocktail Shaker/Mixing Glass: For mixing ingredients.
  2. Bar Spoon: Used for gentle stirring.
  3. Strainer: Ensures a smooth pour.
  4. Martini Glass: Traditional and elegant serving choice.

Instructions for Preparation of a Dry Martini

To make a Dry Martini, begin by chilling your martini glass, either in the freezer or with ice water. Next, measure and pour the gin and dry white vermouth into a mixing glass. Fill the mixing glass with ice, enough to cool the drink but not so much as to overly dilute it. Use a bar spoon to stir the mixture gently for about 15-30 seconds. Alternatively, if you prefer a shaken martini, use a cocktail shaker to prepare the drink. Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass, ensuring a clear and smooth pour. Add a lemon twist and/or olive as a garnish, depending on your preference.

  1. Chill Glass: Place martini glass in freezer or fill it up with ice water.
  2. Measure Ingredients: Pour gin and vermouth into a mixing glass.
  3. Add Ice: Fill with enough ice for cooling.
  4. Stir Gently: Stir for 15-30 seconds with a bar spoon.
  5. Strain: Into the chilled glass.
  6. Garnish: With a lemon twist or olive, or both (optional).

Stir or Shake: Preparing a Dry Martini

The choice between stirring and shaking a Dry Martini is a subject of much debate. Stirring is the usual method, preferred for its ability to gently blend the gin and vermouth, maintaining a clear and silky texture. Shaking, popularized by certain cultural icons, can introduce aeration and more dilution, resulting in a slightly different texture and appearance. Ultimately, the method should align with personal preference, with stirring being the classic approach.

  • Stirring: Traditional, maintains clarity and smooth texture.
  • Shaking: Introduces aeration, results in a slightly cloudy appearance.

Ice: Chilling and Dilution in a Dry Martini

For preparing a Dry Martini, use large, high-quality ice cubes to chill the drink effectively without overly diluting it. The type of ice is less important when serving, as a Dry Martini is traditionally served neat, without ice. However, pre-chilling the glass is crucial. Place the martini glass in the freezer, or fill it up with ice water, before preparation to ensure the cocktail remains chilled and refreshing upon serving.

  • Preparation Ice: Large, quality cubes for effective chilling, minimal dilution.
  • Serving: Traditionally served neat, no ice.
  • Pre-Chilling: Essential for the glass, enhancing the drinking experience.

Scaling a Dry Martini for a Group

To scale a Dry Martini for a group, maintain the 4-8:1 ratio of gin to vermouth. Multiply the ingredients based on the number of servings. Prepare in a large mixing glass or shaker, as per the patrons’ preference, and strain into pre-chilled martini glasses. If you are pre-mixing the drink in advance, consider adding some water into the mix to mimic water dilution, and store in a sealable container in the fridge. To ensure that the balance of flavors remains consistent, stir or shake the cocktail before serving, with or without ice, depending on the method you decide to use.

  • Maintain Ratio: 4-8 parts gin to 1 part vermouth.
  • Multiply Ingredients: Based on servings.
  • Large Batch Preparation: Use a larger mixing glass or shaker.

Troubleshooting Common Mistakes in Making a Dry Martini

The biggest mistakes when making a Dry Martini include over-dilution, incorrect proportions, and using subpar ingredients. To avoid these, use high-quality gin and vermouth, and be cautious with the amount of ice and stirring/shaking time to prevent excessive dilution. Keep the classic ratio of 4-8:1 in mind, adjusting slightly to taste but not straying too far from this balance.

  • Over-Dilution: Be mindful of ice amount and stirring time.
  • Incorrect Proportions: Stick to the 4-8:1 gin to vermouth ratio.
  • Quality of Ingredients: Use high-quality gin and vermouth for the best taste.

Presentation of a Dry Martini

In a Dry Martini, presentation is almost as vital as the drink itself. The choice of glassware and garnish not only enhances the visual appeal but also contributes to the overall sensory experience. The classic martini glass, with its iconic shape, is designed to display the cocktail’s elegance and purity. Garnishes, while often seen as a mere decorative element, can subtly influence the drink’s aroma and flavor, adding an extra layer of complexity to this classic cocktail.

Glassware for a Dry Martini

The quintessential choice for a Dry Martini is the classic martini glass, known for its wide, open rim and long stem, which allows the drink to stay chilled. However, for a different look, consider serving it in a coupe glass, which adds a touch of vintage charm.

  • Classic Martini Glass: Traditional, keeps the drink chilled.
  • Coupe Glass: Vintage charm, a stylish alternative.

Garnish Options for a Dry Martini

The traditional garnish for a Dry Martini is either a lemon twist or an olive, sometimes both. A lemon twist adds a slight citrus aroma, enhancing the botanicals in the gin, while an olive introduces a savory note, creating a pleasing contrast. For a creative twist, consider a cocktail onion for a Gibson Martini, or experiment with herbs like rosemary or thyme to add a unique aromatic touch.

  • Lemon Twist: Adds citrus aroma, complements gin’s botanicals.
  • Olive: Introduces a savory note, contrasts with the cocktail’s crispness.
  • Creative Options: Cocktail onion, herbs like rosemary or thyme for a unique twist.

Variations & Riffs on a Dry Martini

The Martini, a classic in the cocktail world, has inspired numerous variations, each with a unique twist, catering to a wide range of tastes. There’s a Martini-style cocktail for everyone.

The most popular variations of a Dry Martini range from those altering the gin-to-vermouth ratio, like in the Wet, Perfect, and Extra Dry Martini, to using different garnishes like in the Dirty and Gibson Martini. Famous names have lent themselves to these variations, like the Hemingway and Churchill Martini. The base spirits and modifiers have also been changed, evident in the Vesper and Vodka Martini. Fruity and decadent ingredients lead to creations like the Lemon Drop or Espresso Martini. And the Martinez cocktail even predates the Martini.

  • Ratios of Vermouth and Gin: Classic, Wet, Perfect, Dry, Extra Dry, 50/50, Reverse, Naked
  • Named After Famous People: Bradford, Roosevelt, Churchill, Hemingway, Dickens, Franklin, Montgomery
  • Garnishes and Olive Brine: Dirty, Gibson, Blue Cheese, Dirty Sue
  • Different Spirits: Vesper, Vodka, Kangaroo, Burnt, Turf Club, Tuxedo No. 2, Hanky Panky
  • Fruity Ingredients: Lemon Drop, French Martini
  • ‘Tinis’ (Mostly Fruity): Appletini (Apple Martini), Crantini (Cranberry Martini)
  • Decadent Ingredients: Espresso Martini, Chocolate Martini, Peppermint Martini
  • Predecessor: Martinez
  • Way of Ordering: Shake/Stir, With a Twist, On the Rocks

These variations showcase the versatility and enduring popularity of the classic Dry Martini.

Serving Occasions for a Dry Martini

A Dry Martini is a versatile cocktail suitable for a range of occasions. Its elegance and sophistication make it a perfect choice for formal events, like gala dinners or upscale cocktail parties. Meanwhile, its crisp and refreshing nature also suits more casual settings, such as intimate gatherings or relaxing evenings at home. Additionally, the Dry Martini’s iconic status makes it a go-to for celebratory moments, be it a job promotion or an engagement toast. It’s a drink that transcends trends, embodying a timeless charm that appeals across various social settings.

  • Formal Events: Ideal for galas and upscale parties.
  • Casual Gatherings: Suitable for relaxed, intimate settings.
  • Celebratory Moments: A classic choice for toasting special occasions.
  • Timeless Appeal: Fits a wide range of social situations.

Food Pairings with a Dry Martini

Pairing food with a Dry Martini enhances the overall dining experience, with the cocktail’s botanical and dry characteristics complementing a variety of flavors. Classic pairings include seafood, particularly oysters or smoked salmon, which balance the Martini’s crispness. Light appetizers like cheese platters, especially those featuring milder cheeses, are also a great choice. For a more substantial pairing, consider dishes with rich, creamy sauces that contrast nicely with the Martini’s dry profile. The key is to choose foods that either complement or interestingly contrast with the Martini’s distinct flavors.

  • Seafood: Oysters, smoked salmon match the cocktail’s crispness.
  • Appetizers: Cheese platters, particularly with milder cheeses.
  • Rich, Creamy Dishes: Offer a delightful contrast to the Martini’s dryness.
  • Flavor Harmony: Select foods that complement or contrast the Martini’s profile.

Why is the cocktail called a Dry Martini?

The “Dry” in Dry Martini refers to the use of dry vermouth, contributing to a lower sugar content and a crisp taste. The “Martini” name may originate from the Martini brand of vermouth, or the Martinez cocktail from 1860s San Francisco.

Dry Martini Cocktail

Dry Martini

A Dry Martini is an iconic classic cocktail, combining the botanical notes of gin with the bitter-sweet floral aromatic undertones of dry white vermouth, creating a smooth, clear drink that's visually elegant in a martini glass, often accented with an olive or lemon twist garnish.
Total Time 5 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Mixing glass
  • 1 Bar spoon
  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Martini glass


  • 2 oz Gin
  • ¼ oz Vermouth - dry white vermouth; 1/4-1/2 oz (4-8:1 gin to vermouth ratio, to taste)
  • Ice cubes (for stirring)
  • Lemon peel (optional, for garnish)
  • Olives (optional, for garnish)


  • Chill the Glass: Start by placing your martini glass in the freezer to chill it, or fill it up with ice water.
  • Combine Ingredients: In a mixing glass, pour in gin and dry white vermouth.
  • Add Ice: Add a handful of ice to the mixing glass.
  • Stir: Gently stir the mixture with a bar spoon for about 15-30 seconds.
  • Strain: Carefully strain the cocktail into your chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with a lemon twist and/or olive(s), based on your preference.
  • Serve: Present the cocktail immediately to maintain its crisp, chilled quality.


Calories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 0.3gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 1mgIron: 0.02mg
Calories: 137kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: gin, vermouth


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