Peppermint Martini: The Ultimate Guide

This “Ultimate Guide to Peppermint Martini” is your one-stop resource for everything you need to know about this minty cocktail! Learn about its variations, best ingredients, and expert tips to craft the perfect cocktail.

Whether you’re a beginner, a casual cocktail enthusiast, or a seasoned mixologist, this comprehensive guide offers a deep dive into the world of Peppermint Martinis.

What is Peppermint Martini?

Classic Peppermint Martini, Peppermint Bark Martini and Candy Cane Martini, are festive cocktails that combine vodka, peppermint liqueur and chocolate liqueur with a variety of optional ingredients. Ideal for holiday gatherings, this drink is shaken in a cocktail shaker, and served chilled, typically in a martini glass with a crushed peppermint rim, garnished with a candy cane and fresh mint. With its many variations, it is a seasonal favorite that is both visually and gastronomically appealing.

Flavor Profile

Imagine the cool breeze of peppermint, meeting the velvety richness of chocolate, all with a smooth vodka base. The Peppermint Martini offers a refreshing and sweet experience, balanced by a slight bite from the vodka. This combination creates a harmonious symphony of flavors, making it the quintessential holiday sipper.

Easy to Drink?

Peppermint Martini is easy to drink and generally beginner-friendly. It is smooth, sweet, and the peppermint makes it incredibly refreshing. However, it is not for everyone—people who do not enjoy sweet or minty flavors might find it a bit much. So, in a way, it could be an acquired taste for some.

Peppermint Martini v Peppermint Bark Martini v Candy Cane Martini

What is the difference between Peppermint Martini, Peppermint Bark Martini and Candy Cane Martini?

  • Classic Peppermint Martini is a mint-flavored variation of the classic cocktail that may be either clear or green in color, made by stirring vodka or gin with peppermint liqueur, clear or green, or peppermint infused vodka, adding the optional vermouth and peppermint bitters, garnished with mint.
  • Peppermint Bark Martini cocktail looks and tastes like peppermint bark candy, which is achieved by shaking together vodka with clear peppermint liqueur, white chocolate liqueur and optional cream, layered with brown chocolate liqueur or syrup, and garnished with crushed peppermint bark, chocolate shavings or candy cane.
  • Candy Cane Martini cocktail looks and tastes like candy cane, which is achieved by shaking together vodka, ideally vanilla-infused, with clear peppermint liqueur, white chocolate liqueur and optional cream, layered with red-colored liqueur, syrup, or food coloring, and garnished with crushed and whole candy canes.

Peppermint Bark Martini and Candy Cane Martini offer a rich, creamy, sweet, dessert-like indulgence. Peppermint Martini is less sweet, creamy and indulgent than Peppermint Bark and Candy Cane martinis and tastes more alcohol-forward and minty.

Each Peppermint Martini variation presents a unique blend of flavors and aesthetics, embodying the festive spirit with a minty essence. However, the names are often used interchangeably, and the recipes differ widely, because mixology is an art as opposed to science.

Let me show you how to make all of these three cocktails, along with a multitude of other delectable variations that I love >>>


When it comes to making a classic Peppermint Martini, just 3 core ingredients are all you need to create this holiday masterpiece:

  1. Vodka: 2 oz (approximately 60 ml)
  2. Peppermint Liqueur: 1 oz (approximately 30 ml)
  3. Chocolate Liqueur: 1 oz (approximately 30 ml)

Fun Fact: Did you know peppermint has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties? Win, win! 😉


The classic Peppermint Martini maintains a 2:1:1 ratio of vodka, peppermint liqueur, and chocolate liqueur. Sticking to these proportions ensures a well-balanced cocktail that is neither too strong nor too sweet.

Expert Tip: Feel free to experiment with the ratios to discover your perfect Peppermint Martini recipe!

Best Ingredients

  • Vodka: Opt for a premium brand; it usually provides a cleaner taste.
  • Peppermint Liqueur: Look for liqueur made with natural peppermint extract.
  • Chocolate Liqueur: Go for a reputable brand, as cheaper ones can be overly sweet.

Expert Tips: Try using premium quality candy canes that usually have a more authentic peppermint flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions & Alternatives

This is where the fun starts! You can let your creativity go wild with endless permutations of the Peppermint Martini cocktail.

Here are the most popular alternatives to substitute the core ingredients in Peppermint Martini:

Vodka Alternatives

Substitute or combine pure vodka with flavored vodkas, for example those infused with vanilla or peppermint, to add an extra dimension. You can also use gin instead of vodka. Again, the gin can be pure or infused with vanilla, peppermint or other botanicals.

Peppermint Liqueur Alternatives

Substitute or combine peppermint liqueur with peppermint schnapps, Crème de Menthe, peppermint-infused vodka, peppermint bitters, peppermint syrup or essence. You can also experiment with different brands of peppermint liqueur and their colors, usually transparent or bright green.

Chocolate Liqueur Alternatives

Use white and brown chocolate liqueurs that are thick and creamy, or try transparent Crème de Cacao that comes in a dark brown version or clear version that is known as “white” creme de cacao, even though it is transparent. Alternatively, add white or brown chocolate syrup or even real melted chocolate.

Expert Tip: Would you like your Peppermint Martini to have a festive green or red hue? Simple! Use a liqueur or syrup that has your desired color, such as green peppermint liqueur, or food coloring if you’d like to add color without any additional flavor.

These substitutions allow you to play around with different colours, flavors and textures – to discover endless new Peppermint Martini variations.


While the Peppermint Martini is excellent on its own, some people add a splash of cream or milk for a more decadent experience. You can also dilute Peppermint Martini that is clear, not creamy, with sparkling water.


The cost of a Peppermint Martini varies based on the brands of spirits you choose. Generally, crafting this at home could set you back around US$2-$4 per cocktail, while at a high-end bar, you’re looking at anywhere from US$10-$15.

Tools & Equipment

Creating a Peppermint Martini is not just about the ingredients, having the right tools can elevate your cocktail-making game to pro level. To make a Peppermint Martini, you will need the following 3 tools:

  1. Cocktail shaker
  2. Martini glass
  3. Measuring jigger

But don’t worry if you’re missing a gadget or two, you can make do with what you’ve got in your kitchen already:

Household Substitutes

  1. Cocktail shaker – substitute with mason jar with lid
  2. Martini glass – substitute with any wide-mouthed glass
  3. Measuring jigger – substitute with any regular measuring spoon or cup

Expert Tip: If you find yourself making cocktails frequently, investing in a cocktail set can be a game-changer. It’s a one-time investment for endless home bartending fun!


Creating a Peppermint Martini is like crafting a piece of holiday magic. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Chill the Glass: Chill the serving glass.
  2. Rim: Optionally, rim the glass with crushed peppermint candy.
  3. Measure Ingredients: Use a jigger to measure out vodka, peppermint liqueur, and chocolate liqueur.
  4. Combine and Shake: Add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
  5. Shake It Up: Shake vigorously for about 15-30 seconds.
  6. Strain and Serve: Strain the liquid into your chilled martini glass.
  7. Garnish: Optionally, add a garnish like a candy cane and/or fresh mint leaves.

Stir or Shake?


Peppermint Martini is usually shaken in a cocktail shaker with ice because the recipe includes a combination of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients with varying textures and densities that would be difficult to properly mix into a homogeneous blend by the process of stirring.

The shaking method helps to properly blend the different ingredients and bring out the frothy texture and full flavor profile of the cocktail.


If your Peppermint Martini recipe does not contain any thick syrups, fruit juices, creamy ingredients like dairy cream or other creamy liquids, or other combination of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients with varying textures and densities, then you can use a mixing glass with a bar spoon to combine the ingredients.

Stirring is better for drinks with carbonated or mostly alcoholic ingredients to minimize aeration and dilution, preserving their texture and clarity. For example, the classic martini is typically stirred, not shaken, despite the famous James Bond references.

Home Bartenders

Peppermint Martini is very beginner-friendly. As long as you can measure and shake, you are pretty much good to go. Plus, the ingredients are easy to find, and the equipment is basic.


A Peppermint Martini is best consumed fresh, but if you need to store it, refrigerate for up to 24 hours in an airtight container. Beyond that, the flavors may start to deteriorate.


It is possible to prepare Peppermint Martinis in advance for a party or a larger group of people by following these 4 simple steps:

  1. Calculate Quantities: Multiply the ingredient amounts by the number of people.
  2. Pre-Mix: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.
  3. Chill: Refrigerate the mixture until ready to serve.
  4. Shake Individually: When ready, shake portions of the pre-mixed cocktail with ice and serve immediately.


How to Serve a Peppermint Martini

A cocktail isn’t just about taste – presentation matters too! Here are some of my favorite ways to serve Peppermint Martinis:


A martini glass is the traditional and ideal choice for serving a Peppermint Martini because the classic martini is served in a martini glass, the wide mouth allows the aroma to enhance your drinking experience, and the shape of the glass showcases well the festive garnishes or even colored layers that are typical for the cocktail.

Alternative Glasses

As an alternative to using a martini glass for a Peppermint Martini cocktail, you could also consider a coupe glass, Nick & Nora glass, a poco grande glass (also known as a hurricane glass or Pina Colada glass), or any of the standard glasses that you already have at your disposal, like a wine glass, rocks glass or highball glass. The things to consider when choosing a serving glass for a Peppermint Martini include:

  • Visual appeal
  • Aromatic experience
  • Showcasing garnishes and layers
  • Preserving temperature of a cocktail so it does not warm too quickly
  • Avoid spillage
  • Ability to hold the required volume
  • Tradition and expectations of a martini cocktail being served in a martini glass


The typical garnish options for a Peppermint Martini cocktail include crushed peppermints to rim the glass with, mini-candy canes, fresh mint twig or leaves, chocolate and chocolate shavings. These garnishes add festive visual appeal and extra flavor to the cocktail.

  • The Classic Peppermint Martini is typically garnished with crushed peppermint rim and fresh mint.
    • Sometimes the cocktail has a layered or swirl effect, usually white-green, using peppermint liqueur, syrup or green food coloring.
    • The color palette is green or white-green, sometimes with a touch of green or red.
  • Peppermint Bark Martini is often served in a glass rimmed with chocolate and crushed peppermint bark candy, and further garnished with chocolate shavings, and sometimes even pieces of peppermint bark.
    • To resemble the peppermint bark candy, the cocktail often has a layered or swirl effect, usually white-brown, using chocolate liqueur or syrup.
    • The color palette is white and brown, with a touch of red and green.
  • Candy Cane Martini is usually garnished with crushed candy cane rim, as well as one or more mini candy canes.
    • The cocktail often has a white-red layered or swirl effect to resemble a candy cane, using red fruit liqueur, syrup, juice or food coloring.
    • The color palette is white and red, with a touch of green.


For a Peppermint Martini, you will want to use regular ice cubes for shaking. Avoid crushed ice because it melts too quickly.

The perfect Peppermint Martini should be ice-cold but not diluted. Achieve this by:

  • Pre-chilling the glass: A cold glass helps maintain the cocktail’s temperature.
  • Vigorous, short shakes: Shake hard but for no more than 20-30 seconds to avoid over-dilution.

No Ice

A Peppermint Martini is typically served “up“, which means without ice in the glass. Its chilled presentation allows you to savor the cocktail without worrying about dilution from melting ice.

Expert Tip: If you’re rimming your glass, I recommend doing it before chilling so that the coating adheres better.


As with any craft, there are tricks of the trade that can help you elevate your Peppermint Martini. Here are some of my best tips:

  • Over-dilution: Avoid shaking your martini too long. Over-dilution can ruin the flavor profile.
  • Quality Matters: Skimping on ingredient quality will result in a subpar cocktail.
  • Ignoring Garnish: Neglecting garnish may seem trivial, but garnishes can significantly elevate your cocktail experience. And this rings especially true for festive cocktails like the Peppermint Martini.

Top 14 Variations

The Peppermint Martini is like a blank canvas, open to a multitude of riffs. I think I could spend a lifetime making this cocktail without running out of new ideas and variations.

Here are some popular variations of a Peppermint Martini cocktail:

1. Classic Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Vodka, peppermint liqueur, and chocolate liqueur.
  • Garnish: Crushed peppermints on the rim and fresh mint.

2. Peppermint Bark Martini:

  • Ingredients: Vodka, peppermint liqueur, white chocolate liqueur, brown chocolate liqueur, and cream.
  • Garnish: Rimmed with chocolate and crushed peppermint bark, garnished with chocolate shavings.

Find out more in my Ultimate Guide to Peppermint Bark Martini.

3. Candy Cane Martini:

  • Ingredients: Vanilla vodka, peppermint liqueur, and white chocolate liqueur.
  • Garnish: Rimmed with crushed candy canes and garnished with a mini candy cane.

Yes, you’ve guessed it! I’ve also put together an Ultimate Guide to Candy Cane Martini

4. White Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: White chocolate or vanilla vodka, white peppermint liqueur, white chocolate liqueur and optional cream.
  • Garnish: Rimmed with white crushed peppermint bark, garnished with white chocolate shavings.

5. Chocolate Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Chocolate vodka, peppermint liqueur, and chocolate liqueur.
  • Garnish: Chocolate shavings, a peppermint stick, fresh mint.

Check out my Chocolate Martini recipe and guide.

6. Mocha Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur, and peppermint liqueur.
  • Garnish: Fresh mint and a sprinkle of cocoa.

7. Espresso Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Shot of espresso, vodka, peppermint liqueur, chocolate liqueur.
  • Garnish: Rimmed with crushed peppermints, garnished with fresh mint and a few coffee beans.

8. Minty Fresh Martini:

  • Ingredients: Peppermint liqueur and vodka. Optional muddled fresh peppermint at the bottom of the glass.
  • Garnish: Fresh mint leaves.

9. Baileys Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Baileys Irish Cream and peppermint liqueur.
  • Garnish: Chocolate shavings and crushed peppermints.

10. Coconut Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Coconut vodka, peppermint liqueur, and coconut cream.
  • Garnish: Shredded coconut and a peppermint stick.

11. Spicy Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Peppermint liqueur, vodka, and a hint of chili.
  • Garnish: Fresh mint leaves and a small chili pepper.

12. Nutty Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Nut-flavored liqueur, peppermint liqueur, and vodka.
  • Garnish: Crushed nuts and a mint leaf.

13. Lemon Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Lemon vodka, peppermint liqueur, and lemon juice.
  • Garnish: Lemon twist and fresh mint leaves.

14. Mexican Peppermint Martini:

  • Ingredients: Tequila, peppermint liqueur, and crème de cacao.
  • Garnish: Lime wheel and a peppermint stick.

Don’t miss my other best sweet dessert-like martini recipes!


Feeling adventurous?

Adjusting the flavor profile of a Peppermint Martini is as easy as substituting an ingredient or two. For example, you could add or change the base spirit, liqueurs, chocolate, syrup, bitters, food coloring, sweetener, juice, fruit, coffee, essences, or spices.

Whether you stick to the classics or venture out with new ingredients, the world of Peppermint Martini variations is as limitless as your imagination. So go ahead, shake things up a bit! 🍸

Serving Suggestions


The ideal moments to enjoy this cocktail include:

  • Holiday Celebrations: The minty aroma evokes the festive spirit.
  • Date Nights: Impress your date with this easy-to-make yet sophisticated cocktail.
  • After-Dinner Moments: Serves as a delightful digestive aid.
  • Summer Parties: Although an unconventional choice, the minty flavor profile is also refreshing in the summer.

Food Pairing

Peppermint Martinis pair well with both sweet and savory cuisine.

Here are some popular complementary food pairing suggestions for a Peppermint Martini:

Savory Pairings

  • Charcuterie Boards: The variety of salty and savory flavors from meats and cheeses can provide a delightful contrast to the minty essence of a Peppermint Martini.
  • Roasted Nuts: Their crunchy texture and saltiness can pair well with the smooth minty notes of the martini.
  • Salted Pretzels: The salty crunch of pretzels can balance the sweet and minty flavors of the martini.
  • Crispy Bruschetta: The crunch of bruschetta alongside the fresh flavors of tomato and basil can be a good balance to the sweet and minty Peppermint Martini.
  • Creamy Soups: Offer a warming and creamy contrast to the chilled, minty freshness of the martini. Tomato bisque or lobster bisque could be great choices.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smokiness of salmon can harmonize well with the sweet, cool flavor profile of the martini.
  • Spicy Tapas or Dishes: The heat from spicy foods can create an exciting contrast with the sweet, cool, refreshing peppermint flavor of the martini.

Sweet Pairings

  • Chocolate Desserts: The combination of mint and chocolate is classic. Chocolate fondue, chocolate cakes, or brownies would be excellent companions to the Peppermint Martini.
  • Vanilla or Mint Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla or mint ice cream could be a delightful cool, sweet pairing.
  • White Chocolate Desserts: Desserts like white chocolate mousse or white chocolate chip cookies could pair nicely, offering a different chocolate note against the peppermint.
  • Red Velvet Cake: The sweet, creamy, and slightly cocoa flavor of red velvet cake could pair well with the martini.
  • Strawberry or Raspberry Desserts: The tartness of berries can complement the sweetness and mintiness of the Peppermint Martini.
  • Peppermint Bark Candy: The sweet and minty crunch of peppermint bark candy enhances the thematic experience of enjoying a Peppermint Martini.

These are some of my favorite pairings, ranging from savory to sweet – offering a well-rounded tasting experience whether you’re enjoying your Peppermint Martini during a meal or as a delightful conclusion to one.

Myths & Misconceptions

  • “Peppermint Martinis are only for Christmas“: Sure, they’re popular around the holidays, but their refreshing nature makes them suitable year-round.
  • “It’s a “Girly‘ Drink”: Many assume the sweet and colorful profile of a Peppermint Martini categorizes it as a feminine drink, which is a misleading stereotype.
  • All Mint Liqueurs are the Same“: There’s a big difference between peppermint schnapps, crème de menthe, and peppermint bitters. Each brings its unique touch to the cocktail.


The exact origins of the Peppermint Martini are somewhat of a mystery. It is generally believed to have gained prominence during the 90s cocktail renaissance. Its rise in popularity is often attributed to the holiday season and Christmas festivities.

Dietary Restrictions?

Recipes Free of  Alcohol, Sugar, Gluten


Non-Alcoholic Peppermint Martini Recipe

Crafting a non-alcoholic or “virgin” version of a Peppermint Martini is both possible and enjoyable. The core recipe, originally containing vodka, peppermint liqueur and chocolate liqueur, can be easily substituted with non-alcoholic ingredients such as peppermint extract, chocolate syrup and cream to achieve a similar taste profile.


Sugar-Free Peppermint Martini Recipe

Creating a sugar-free version of a Peppermint Martini is entirely feasible and can offer a delightful alternative to the standard recipe. Instead of the usual peppermint and chocolate liqueurs, opt for sugar-free substitutes like peppermint extract and sugar-free chocolate syrup. Use vodka as usual, which typically contains no sugar, as long as it is pure and unflavored. This approach generally results in a cocktail with negligible sugar content.


Is Peppermint Martini Keto?

A standard Peppermint Martini, which commonly consists of 2 oz (59 ml) vodka, 1 oz (30 ml) peppermint liqueur, and 1 oz (30 ml) chocolate liqueur, is not typically considered keto-friendly or low-carb. The peppermint and chocolate liqueurs are generally the main sources of sugar and carbohydrates in this cocktail, which can compromise a keto or low-carb diet. On average, you could expect the sugar content to range from 15 to 25 grams per serving, depending on the brands of liqueurs used.

Low-Carb Peppermint Martini Recipe

To make a more keto-friendly version, replace peppermint and chocolate liqueurs with low-carb or, even better, sugar-free alternatives and natural flavor extracts. For garnish, use fresh mint leaves instead of sugary elements. Pure and unflavored vodka typically contains no carbs and so requires no substitution.  This adapted recipe significantly lowers the carb content, making it more aligned with a ketogenic diet.


Is Peppermint Martini Vegan?

The vegan-friendliness of a Peppermint Martini, composed of 2 oz vodka, 1 oz peppermint liqueur, and 1 oz chocolate liqueur, largely hinges on the specific brands of these ingredients. Typically, vodka is vegan, but peppermint and chocolate liqueurs may contain animal byproducts. It is advisable to consult individual brand labels to ascertain vegan compatibility.

Vegan Peppermint Martini Recipe

Creating a vegan Peppermint Martini is straightforward when you opt for plant-based versions of peppermint and chocolate liqueurs. Ensure the vodka you select is vegan-certified as well. This way, you can enjoy the classic flavors of a Peppermint Martini, with the peace of mind that comes from using cruelty-free ingredients.

My Vegan Peppermint Martini recipe gives you all the classic flavors, but with 100% vegan-friendly ingredients. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on this plant-based indulgence!


Is Peppermint Martini Gluten-Free?

A standard Peppermint Martini, typically consisting of 2 oz (59 ml) vodka, 1 oz (30 ml) peppermint liqueur, and 1 oz (30 ml) chocolate liqueur, is generally considered to be gluten-free when the specific brands used for vodka and liqueurs are labeled as such. However, it is important to be cautious of potential cross-contamination and varying production methods that could affect gluten content.

Gluten-free Peppermint Martini Recipe

To make a gluten-free version of a Peppermint Martini, typically consisting of 2 oz vodka, 1 oz peppermint liqueur, and 1 oz chocolate liqueur, one must choose certified gluten-free alternatives for each ingredient. Specifically, opt for a gluten-free vodka brand, and ensure both the peppermint and chocolate liqueurs are labeled as gluten-free. Always read the labels carefully and check for certification to avoid potential cross-contamination.


Ready to become a Peppermint Martini maestro? Give it a mix, take a sip, and don’t forget to share your cocktail masterpiece with me on social media—I can’t wait to see it! 🍸 

Peppermint Martini Recipe

Peppermint Martini Recipe

Festive Peppermint Martini shaken from vodka, peppermint liqueur and chocolate liqueur. Rimmed with crushed peppermint candy and garnished with fresh mint leaves.
Servings 1 person
Total Time 10 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Cocktail shaker
  • 1 Martini glass
  • 1 Measuring jigger


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Crème de menthe (Peppermint liqueur or schnapps)
  • 1 oz Creme de cacao (Chocolate liqueur)
  • Crushed peppermint candy (Optional - for glass rim)
  • Fresh peppermint leaves (Optional - for garnish)
  • Ice cubes


  • Chill the Glass: First, chill a martini glass.
  • Prepare the Rim: Next, wet the rim of the chilled glass with the liqueur and dip it into crushed peppermint candies for a festive touch.
    Crushed peppermint candy
  • Mix it up: In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, peppermint liqueur, and chocolate liqueur.
    2 oz Vodka, 1 oz Crème de menthe, 1 oz Creme de cacao
  • Shake: Add ice into the shaker, seal it and shake vigorously for about 15-30 seconds for a well-mixed, chilled concoction.
    Ice cubes
  • Pour it out: Carefully strain the shaken mixture into the chilled and rimmed martini glass.
  • Garnish: Decorate the serving glass with a candy cane and fresh mint for that picture-perfect finish.
    Fresh peppermint leaves


Calories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 27gFat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 1mgSugar: 20gIron: 0.03mg
Calories: 335kcal
Cost: $5
Keyword: peppermint martini
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