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26 Types of Martinis You Should Know

April 25, 2022 by Michelle Randall

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Martinis are some of the most well-loved cocktails, mostly because there are now so many types of martinis to choose from. While the traditional martini combines gin and vermouth, many of the more modern, fruity iterations are made with flavoured vodkas and liquors.

Want to impress your friends with different types of martinis? Discover some of the most common martinis below and learn how to whip them up for your next get-together.

1. Classic Martini

Gin Martini garnished with olives

One of the best cocktails for beginners, a Classic Martini calls for a simple mix of gin and vermouth, with a garnish of either cocktail olives or a lemon twist. Perhaps just as iconic as the cocktail itself is the signature V-shaped glass that it’s poured into. Designed to keep the drink chilled, many other kinds of martinis are still served in these today.

Make it with: Cinzano 1757 Vermouth di Torino Extra Dry

2. Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini garnished with olives

A Dirty Martini takes the core ingredients of a Classic Martini – gin and vermouth – and adds one (rather unexpected) ingredient: olive brine. By adding a dash of olive brine, the drink is given a uniquely salty and savoury flavour that many people love. Dirty Martinis are made with dry vermouth. Deciding what type of vermouth to use for Dirty Martinis and the ratio of vermouth to gin used will impact the overall flavour.

Make it with: SKYY Vodka 

Read next: The Dirty Martini Reimagined

3. Pornstar Martini

Pornstar Martini Cocktails

Created in London in the noughties, the tropical-inspired Pornstar Martini was the brainchild of bartender Douglas Ankrah. Containing vodka, passionfruit liqueur, passionfruit juice, and lime juice, a freshly cut passion fruit half is added on top to garnish. What really sets the Pornstar apart from other types of Martinis, however, is the shot of Prosecco on the side.

Make it with: SKYY Infusions Vanilla vodka

4. Espresso Martini

Front view of three decadent Espresso Martini cocktails served with sweet and savory snacks

Coffee lovers will adore the rich, creamy flavours of the Espresso Martini recipe. A smooth bittersweet cocktail, it brings together fresh espresso and coffee liqueur with a rewarding foam layer on top. Perfect for when you need perking up, it makes for a great after-dinner cocktail.

Make it with: Home-made sugar syrup

Also see: Best After-Dinner Drinks to Delight Your Guests

5. Vodka Martini

Virgin Martini

If gin is not your thing, the Vodka Martini might be more up your street. Vodka has a more neutral taste than gin, resulting in a smoother flavour that allows the vermouth to shine through. Many of the more innovative ‘Martini’ drinks found on cocktail menus are actually types of Vodka Martinis.

Make it with: Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth

6. Chocolate Martini

Lush Chocolate Martini cocktails garnished with chocolate sprinkles

The Chocolate Martini is a chocolate lover’s dream. Chocolate liqueur and vodka are shaken together with ice, which is then added to a glass with a cocoa powder-dipped rim. Serve as a delicious dessert cocktail to round off your dinner party menu.

YUM! 11 Chocolate Liqueur Cocktails to Elevate Your Evening

7. Apple Martini

Homemade Green Alcoholic Appletini Cocktail with Apple Garnish

Apple Martinis pack a sour punch thanks to the combination of sour apple schnapps and lemon juice. Fruity and refreshing, the ‘Appletini’ as it’s also known, is an ideal type of Martini to serve at a summer picnic or garden party.

Make it with: Grand Marnier

8. Pomegranate Martini

Pomegranate Martini

A Pomegranate Martini is similar to a Cosmopolitan but uses pomegranate juice instead of cranberry. This vodka-based Martini makes a great choice when the sun is shining, and BBQ season is in full swing.

Also see: 12 Pomegranate Cocktails to Master at Home

9. Reverse Martini

Close up of a drink with orange peel

Flipping the ratio of gin to vermouth in a Martini creates what’s known as a Reverse Martini, although you may also hear it referred to as a ‘wet’ or an ‘upside down’ Martini. This simple switch puts all the focus on the vermouth and lowers the overall alcohol content, making it a great pre-dinner aperitif to kick off the night.

Make it with: Bulldog Gin

10. Blue Martini

Two Blue Curaçao cocktails in coupe glasses served in a modern lounge setting

Like many blue cocktails, the Blue Martini gets its striking blue hue from blue curaçao. As if the ocean blue hue isn’t enticing enough, the tropical flavours coming from the pineapple and citrus will make you feel like you’re on vacation.

You might like: 11 Best Blue Mocktails (Non-alcoholic) to Try

11. Eggnog Martini

A trio of indulgent Eggnog Martini cocktails presented in long-stemmed Martini glasses, surrounded by snack bowls on a light grey surface

The best type of Martini for the holidays, eggnog fans will go crazy for this seasonal spiced Eggnog Martini cocktail. Vanilla vodka and amaretto liqueur come together with spicy cinnamon and nutmeg to create a drink that tastes like Christmas.

12. French Martini

Two French Martini cocktails in coupe glasses surrounded by a variety of seasonal cocktail ingredients

Despite its name, the French Martini hails from New York. Bartender Allen Katz came up with the creation in the eighties and it’s one of the fruitiest types of Vodka Martinis around. Made with just 3 ingredients—vodka, pineapple juice, and raspberry liqueur—you don’t need to be a pro mixologist to try this one at home.

Oui, oui! Be a Little Extra With These 12 French Cocktails

13. Vesper Martini

Martini with a twist of lemon on wooden bakground

Hosting a James Bond-themed party? The Vesper Martini was made famous by 007 himself and gets its name from Bond girl Vesper Lynd, the love interest in the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. Bond’s original mix contained gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet, a now-discontinued bitter aperitif, and was served shaken, not stirred. These days, the Kina Lillet is usually substituted with either Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano.

Make it with: Cinzano Vermouth Bianco

14. Mexican Martini

Mexican Martini - The Mexican Martini, a flavorful and zesty cocktail.

A Mexican Martini is essentially a Margarita with a Dirty Martini twist. This tangy blend of tequila, lime, and dry vermouth is served in a salt-rimmed glass and adorned with a slice of lime and olive.

Make it with: Espolòn Tequila (blanco or reposado)

Also see: 13 Best Mexican Cocktails To Make At Home

15. Gibson Cocktail

Gibson Martini with skewered cocktail onion garnish

The Gibson cocktail was on everyone’s lips thanks to its cameo in the multi-award-winning Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit. Combining gin, dry vermouth, and the delightful acrid bite of a pickled cocktail onion, this drink is an acquired taste, but a true classic.

16. Lemon Drop Martini

Two pretty Lemon Drop Martinis on a glass table, garnished with a sugar rim each

Perky and pretty with a tempting sugar rim, the Lemon Drop Martini was named after a zesty candy popular in the 1970s. Odds are you’ve probably seen it in your granny’s candy bowl. Happily, the cocktail itself is not fuddy-duddy by any means. Combining citrus vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and sugar syrup, it’s a lively sip with plenty of pep.

Make it with: SKYY Infusions Citrus Vodka

Get zesty, bestie! The Best Grand Marnier Recipes, from Cocktails to Soufflés 

17. Cucumber Martini

A Cucumber and Wasabi Martini served with a plate of sushi

Cool, crisp, and clear, our Cucumber Martini is a deliciously different sip that is tailor-made for a summery cocktail hour. It also makes a wonderful counterpoint to summery eats like sushi.

18. Watermelon Martini

Two glasses of Watermelon Martini on a serving platter with a rose next to a pool on a sunny day

The humble watermelon is perhaps one of nature’s most versatile fruits, and we love using it to brighten up a summertime Martini. Create a refreshing Watermelon Martini at home by combining vodka, fresh lime juice, and ripe watermelon. A great tip for leftover fruit is to freeze it in cubes to use in smoothies or more martinis later.

Read next: 11 Watermelon Cocktail Recipes to Impress a Crowd

19. Cranberry Martini

Close up top view of a festive Cranberry Martini, presented on a white surface surrounded by pine cones, cranberries and ginger biscuits

Particularly popular around the holidays, the festive Cranberry Martini is a dainty drink that has a zingy bite of bitter-sweetness thanks to the addition of fresh Cranberry juice. If you love a Vodka Cranberry, this is a drink you’ve got to try!

Get crafty: How to Make Sugared Cranberries for Cocktails the Quick & Easy Way

20. Key Lime Martini

Key Lime Martini with mint and lime garnish

Made with vanilla vodka, key lime juice, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and heavy cream, the Key Lime Martini will go down an absolute treat. Just be sure to use cream of coconut, not coconut cream – the former is a syrupy ingredient rather than the creamy one you get in a tin.

21. Pear Martini

Close up of a Pear Martini in an ornate glass with a gold rim, posed on a serving platter with fresh pears next to it, and an arrangement of pear blossoms in the backdrop

Perfect for fall, the crisp Pear Martini is quick to whip up and only requires four ingredients. It combines pear-flavoured vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. You can also make it a little stronger by using dry vermouth in place of the lemon juice and syrup if you’re keen on an extra kick.

22. Peppermint Martini

Two Peppermint Martinis with crushed candy rims

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Peppermint Martinis, and warm woolen mittens… These are a few of our favourite things when the festive season rolls around! Creamy and minty fresh, this cocktail will be the cherry on top of your holiday menu.

23. Clementine Martini

Two Clementine Martinis on a table in a light, bright modern lounge, next to a bowl of fresh clementines

This effervescent citrus cocktail is a little celebration in a glass. To make a Clementine Martini, start by juicing some fresh clementines. Combine 90ml clementine juice, 60ml vodka, 30ml Grand Marnier, and 15ml fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until frosty, strain into a serving glass, and enjoy!

24. 50/50 Martini Recipe

50 50 martini with lemon twist on a silver tray

If you love gin and vermouth in equal measures or simply want to keep things on the lower side of the boozy scale, then this 50-50 Martini recipe is the perfect cocktail for you. Made half and half with gin and vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters for some zest, this delicious gin-based drink is zesty, yet sophisticated.

25. Affogato Martini

Affogato Martini served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Made with espresso, vodka, chocolate and coffee liqueur, and ice cream, this indulgent Affogato Martini is the ultimate nightcap treat. The are also loads of variations you can try. Experiment with different liqueurs and different ice cream flavours (like cherry).

Try it with: Frangelico

26. Candy Corn Martini

Festive Candy Corn Martini cocktail with candy corn garnish on the rim.

Now and again you just need to have some fun with it! A guaranteed crowd pleaser, this Candy Corn Martini is a neon orange grown-up drink made with Candy Corn-infused vodka for extra sweetness and fun.

Things to consider when choosing your Martini

Woman pouring London dry gin into a glass with ice

Gin or vodka: Which Martini suits your taste?

Choosing between a gin or vodka Martini sets the stage for your entire cocktail experience. A gin Martini offers a botanical journey, featuring complex flavours driven by juniper and a medley of herbaceous notes. It’s a choice for those who relish depth and a touch of tradition in every sip.

On the other hand, a vodka Martini provides a cleaner, crisper canvas. It’s pure, and smooth, and allows any added flavours to shine through more distinctly. Your preference hinges on whether you seek the layered allure of gin or the sleek simplicity of vodka.

Exploring Martini variations

The beauty of a Martini lies in its versatility. A dry Martini, with minimal vermouth, emphasises the liquor’s character, whether it’s gin or vodka. It’s sharp and bracing. A perfect Martini strikes a balance, using equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, offering a harmonious blend that’s neither too sweet nor too dry. Meanwhile, a wet Martini leans into the vermouth, resulting in a richer, more aromatic drink. Each variation invites you to explore different aspects of this timeless cocktail.

Shaken or stirred?

The debate between shaken and stirred is as time-honoured as the Martini itself. However, for the connoisseur, stirring is the preferred method. Stirring gently chills and dilutes the cocktail, preserving its silky texture and nuanced flavours. Shaking can introduce air and ice shards, which may cloud the drink and slightly alter its taste. For the purest expression of a Martini’s elegance, always opt for stirring.

Straight up or on the rocks?

When it comes to presenting a Martini, straight up is the gold standard. Served in a chilled glass without ice, it ensures the drink remains undiluted, delivering a pristine flavour profile. On the rocks, while convenient, risks watering down the cocktail as the ice melts, muting its sharp, clean notes. For a true Martini experience, straight up is the way to savour every refined sip.

Twist or olive?

The choice between a lemon twist and an olive garnish significantly influences your Martini’s final touch. A lemon twist imparts a bright, citrusy aroma, lifting the drink with a hint of zest that complements both gin and vodka. It’s crisp and refreshing.

An olive, on the other hand, adds a briny depth, offering a savoury contrast that pairs especially well with the herbal notes of gin. Both garnishes have their charm; the twist is for those who enjoy a citrus lift, while the olive is perfect for a savoury edge.

Watch: How to strain your cocktails like a pro

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The three types of martinis refer to the three martinis that most bartenders will know how to make from memory—the Dirty, the Vesper, and the Gibson.

This is entirely up to you and your flavor preferences. Traditionalists argue that the best type of Martini is the classic Gin Martini there are so many different kinds of martinis to try.

A traditional Martini contains gin and vermouth, while a Dirty Martini has a dash of olive brine added, usually taken from the bottom of a jar of olives used for garnishing. The olive brine gives Dirty Martinis a salty, acidic flavour, making it one of the few savoury cocktails.

If you’d like your Martini sans vermouth, ask your bartender for it ‘bone dry’ and they’ll whip you one up that contains either very little or no vermouth.

Now known by many as the ‘James Bond Martini’, 007’s drink of choice in Casino Royale is the Vesper Martini. In the 1953 book, Ian Fleming writes that it’s made by shaking together gin, vodka and Kina Lillet.

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