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“Shaken, not stirred” said good ol’ 007. Now, that’s only part of the mystical puzzle of how to prepare a martini.

When asked for one, I try to find the answer to the following 3 questions:

  • Would you like a gin or vodka martini?

Gin would be the classic version but vodka has become so popular, you’re better off double-checking. Even 007 prefers vodka. If you have different brands onboard, you can then also discuss which gin or vodka the guest prefers.

  • Would you like it dry, sweet or perfect?

A Martini is a cocktail made by mixing gin or vodka and vermouth. Vermouth is a type of aromatic fortified wine, of which the most known brand would be Martini. (Some say the cocktail is named after the brand, some say it was derived from a cocktail name Martinez. I’m afraid we’ll never know). Anyhoo, when mixing the drink you can either use dry vermouth (white Martini bottle), sweet vermouth (red martini bottle) or half/half for a Perfect Martini.

  • Would you like some olives, a lemon twist, or … 

And for the final touch, what shall we use to finish the drink? The classic options include olives or lemon twists, though many guests also like Dirty Martinis. For this option you simply add a bar spoon of olive brine when you add the gin/vodka to the mixing glass.

Now you might have noticed there is no question saying “stirred or shaken”… I’m from the old-school brigade that thinks a martini should only be stirred. But hey, if your guest wants it shaken, by all means, shake it baby!


  • 50 ml vodka or gin
  • 15ml of sweet or dry vermouth (as per above)


  • Olives
  • Lemon Twist


This cocktail is stirred in a mixing glass and strained into a martini glass.

(Read more on cocktail techniques here)

Fill about half of your mixing glass with ice and add the vermouth. Stir the vermouth for it to coat all your ice cubes. Toss out about half of the vermouth. Add your gin or vodka and stir for a good 30 seconds, minimum. The idea is to dilute the ice into the drink, rather than sipping a pure gin/vodka shot. Strain your mix into a martini glass and serve.

For extra brownie points, pre-chill your martini glass by filing it with ice and a bit of water whilst you’re making the drink. When you’re done mixing, toss the ice and strain the drink into the martini glass.

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