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Cotswold Cocktail School - Martini Cocktail Recipe

ABV 30% / 3 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Gin

A Brief History of the Martini

The Martini's origins are debated, but it is widely believed to have evolved from earlier gin-based cocktails in the late 19th century. Over time, it became a symbol of elegance and sophistication, particularly during the Prohibition era in the United States when it was associated with speakeasies and the "Roaring Twenties" culture. The Martini's enduring popularity continues to this day, making it a classic cocktail that transcends generations.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Martini is a masterpiece of simplicity, boasting a classic, balanced taste:

  • Gin: There is a choice between gin or vodka as the base spirit sets the stage for your Martini. Gin imparts herbal and botanical notes, while vodka lends a clean, neutral character.

  • Dry Vermouth: Dry vermouth, used in varying proportions, adds a touch of complexity and herbal bitterness to the cocktail.

  • Garnish: Whether it's a twist of lemon peel or a plump olive, the garnish adds aromatic oils and a hint of citrus or brininess to the Martini.

The result is a cocktail that's crisp, bracing, and effortlessly sophisticated—an embodiment of cocktail elegance.

Food Pairings

To enhance the Martini experience, consider these delectable food pairings:

  • Oysters: The briny freshness of oysters complements the Martini's bracing character, creating a match made in culinary heaven.
  • Caviar: Elevate your Martini with the indulgent pairing of caviar, offering a delightful contrast of textures and flavours.
  • Charcuterie and Cheese: A selection of cured meats and artisanal cheeses provides savoury complexity that harmonises with the cocktail's elegance.
  • Canapés: Delicate canapés like smoked salmon, foie gras, or cucumber with cream cheese are perfect bite-sized companions to a Martini.

Difficulty rating - Moderate

Only use quality ingredients as there’s no place to hide the tang of cheap gin/vermouth. Master the dry martini first then try your hand at other variants such as a reverse martini, dirty martini, vodka martini, sake martini etc.

Bar Equipment

  • Mixing glass, mixing spoon & jigger
  • Hawthorne strainer & conical sieve
  • Martini or coupe glass
  • Channel knife/peeler


  • 60ml London Dry Gin
  • 15ml Dry Vermouth
  • 1 x dash of orange bitters
  • Ice
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  • Place ice into mixing glass and pour in gin and vermouth. Gently stir of 20-30 seconds
  • Double strain into a chilled martini/coupe glass and add 1 dash of orange bitters
  • Garnish with the lemon twist*

*Using a channel knife or peeler take a lemon strip for the widest part of the lemon roughly 8cm long. Diagonally cut the ends of the strip with a knife. Wrap and twist around a straw/clean pen. Place the twist onto the glass rim or directly into the drink.

What's the best Gin for a Martini?

he choice of the best gin for a Martini cocktail largely depends on your personal taste preferences. However, traditionally, a London dry gin is the preferred and most commonly used gin for making a classic Martini. Here are a few reasons why London dry gin is a popular choice:

  • Juniper-Forward Flavour: London dry gins are known for their strong juniper flavour. Juniper is a key botanical in gin and imparts the classic piney and resinous notes that many associate with a Martini.
  • Clean and Crisp: London dry gins typically have a clean and crisp flavor profile, making them an ideal base for a Martini. They provide a well-defined gin character that pairs nicely with dry vermouth.
  • Versatility: London dry gins are versatile and work well in various Martini styles, whether you prefer it "dry" with minimal vermouth or "wet" with a bit more vermouth.
  • Balance: The juniper-forward nature of London dry gins balances nicely with the herbal and slightly bitter notes of dry vermouth, creating a well-rounded Martini.

Popular brands of London dry gin that are frequently recommended for making Martinis include Tanqueray, Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, and Gordon's. However, there are many other excellent London dry gins available, and your choice may also depend on your budget and personal taste preferences.

It's worth noting that the Martini is a cocktail with a long history and has evolved over time. Today, some Martini enthusiasts experiment with different types of gins, including those with more botanical complexity or unique flavor profiles. So, while London dry gin is the traditional and widely accepted choice, don't hesitate to explore other gins if you're looking to create a Martini that suits your personal taste preferences.

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