Different Types of Martinis

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Martini is one of the most famous cocktails. And it is an excellent example of how to achieve great things with limited ingredients.
Different types of Martinis

It is not only due to James Bond that the Martini reached such tremendous popularity, but the movies sure played a role in making this drink so successful. 

The classic Martini solely consists of two elements: Gin and Vermouth. As with many other classic cocktails, there are many riffs on this traditional recipe. 

And because it is hard to keep track of all the different types of Martinis, I put together an overview of the most important ones.

The Two Categories of Martinis

There are plenty of different types of Martinis. But they all belong to one of the following categories. They either can be categorized as original Dry or the sweeter Vodka Martinis.

Dry Martinis are more spirit forward. They consist only of alcoholic ingredients like Gin and Vermouth, while Vodka Martinis are usually mixed with various fruity components. 

The latter actually is pretty far from a classic Martini. Honestly, the principal thing they have in common is the Martini glass.

Stirring vs. Shaking

One of the main questions regarding the Martini is how to prepare it. Hard to believe, but the answer is pretty straightforward:

A classic Martini made of Gin/Vodka and Vermouth should be stirred in a mixing glass with ice. If creating a Martini with non-alcoholic ingredients like juices or espresso, shaking is the way to go.

Either way, serve the drink in a chilled Martini glass. For this, you can put your glass in your freezer or put some ice cubes in it while you prepare the cocktail.

Garnishing a Martini Cocktail

Traditionally a Martini is garnished with a single olive or with three of them. Be warned, it must be an odd number, and Martini drinkers can be picky about this. 

But with all those different types of Martinis, there are also more types of garnishes. The most common garnishing elements are:

  • Spanish olives
  • Stuffed olives
  • Pickled onions 
  • Citrus peels
  • Fresh fruit

And as I said, Martini drinkers can be particular about this. Your best bet is to ask how they want to have their Martini. 

That does not only apply to garnish but also to the measurements of the drink. Martini aficionados often have a clear understanding of how their perfect Martini has to be.

Different types of Martinis

But now, let's get to our compilation of the different types of Martinis.

Classic Martini

Classic Martini Cocktail

The godfather of all Martinis.

A classic Martini consists only of Gin and Vermouth. And these two elements make for a delicious, aromatic cocktail while keeping it simple.

Some people prefer replacing Gin with Vodka, but the real deal definitely is made with Gin. But all you Vodka lovers, don't worry, it's next on the list.

Classic Vodka Martini

vodka Martini

Here it is, the Vodka Martini, a less aromatic version of a Martini due to the neutrality of Vodka.

As with every cocktail that has only a few ingredients, you want to make sure you use high-quality. Especially with the Vodka, make sure to use a decent one.

Absolut Vodka is a good choice. Grey Goose and Belvedere are even better.

Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini

The Dirty Martini is probably the most popular riff. It sticks with the original ingredients of Gin and Vermouth and then adds olive brine. 

Yep, the brine of jarred olives goes into this drink. And it works great and creates a more savory version of this cocktail classic. Garnish it with olives speared on a cocktail pick.

Dill Pickle Martini

Dill Pickle Martini

The Dill Pickle Martini is quite similar to the Dirty Martini regarding the ingredients. 

It's also based on Gin and Vermouth but replaces the olive brine with dill pickle brine. 

Another recipe that may sound weird at first but turns out to be beautiful. I totally recommend trying this Dill Pickel Martini.

Gibson Martini

Gibson Martini

The Gibson is a version with only minor changes. In fact, the only difference is the garnish: 

Instead of a Spanish olive, a Gibson Martini stars a pickled onion. So, it is a close relative to the classic Martini but sports an unusual garnish.

And again: Always garnish with odd numbers. So use one or three onions for your Gibson, never two.

Vesper Martini

Vesper Martini

The Vesper, or also Vesper Martini, is a fictional cocktail. The recipe goes back to 1953 and the very first James Bond book written by Ian Fleming. 

Now, almost 70 years later, the Vesper is a cocktail classic. Agent 007 really did a great job making Martinis famous.

The recipe for this cocktail is potent. Three ounces of Gin, 1 ounce of Vodka, and 0.5 oz of Kina Lillet get mixed to create this boozy drink. 

Typically garnished with a string of lemon peel, this cocktail looks very classy.



This twist on the Vodka Martini, the Sherrytini, replaces the Vermouth with fino Sherry. That brings back some aromatic notes that are missing in the classic Vodka Martini.

This sherry version is usually garnished with the peel of an orange.



Are you in the mood for a Japanese twist? Then the Saketini is a perfect choice. It can be made with either Gin or Vodka and is mixed with traditional sake wine.

I prefer the Gin version to keep it more classic, but the decision is up to you.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Considerably far from being a Martini, but oh so delicious. The Espresso Martini is a mix of Vodka, coffee liqueur, and a fresh shot of espresso. 

The shaken cocktail is served in a Martini glass and garnished with three coffee beans.

Chocolate Martini

Chocolate Martini

The Chocolate Martini is a sweet and chocolaty version of a Martini. A bit too sweet for my tastebuds but great if you're craving a sweet drink. 

Vanilla flavored Vodka is mixed with chocolate liqueur and Irish cream to produce this creative twist on a Martini.

Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini

Raspberry lemon drop Martini

That is another sweet version of a Martini. The Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini is made with Citrus Vodka, lemon juice, syrup, Chambord, and fresh raspberries as a garnish. Sweet and tart but also far from being classic.

French Martini

French Martini Vodka Cocktail

The French Martini is kind of a modern classic and was invented in the 1980s by Allan Katz. It's a very fruity twist that contains Vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice.

Cucumber Martini

Cucumber Martini

A more classic approach to a Martini, only using Gin and Vermouth but in different measurements. As the name suggests, the cocktail is garnished with cucumber.

If you're looking for a suitable Gin to make this drink, check out Hendricks Gin. It's cucumber-based and does work great in a Cucumber Martini.

Blood Orange Martini

Blood Orange Martini

Blood orange is a deliciously sweet, sour, and bitter citrus fruit and can be a fantastic ingredient for cocktails.

To create a Blood Orange Martini, you will need blood orange juice, Vodka, lime juice, Cointreau, and simple syrup. -Quite the list, considering a classic Martini only requires two. But the resulting cocktail tastes splendid.

Not like a classic Martini, but definitely a drink I keep going back to.

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One comment on “Different Types of Martinis”

  1. Best Martini I ever had was in Elk Rapids, Michigan, made by my then son-in-law, (and bartender) Chris. It was 3/1 Bombay Sapphire/Martini & Rossi Vermouth with a float of Lillet on top. So crisp and wonderful.

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