Dry Martini

By Timo Torner / Last updated on April 6, 2023

The Dry Martini is the classic interpretation of a Martini cocktail. A drink dominated by Gin and balanced by Vermouth and, optionally, cocktail bitters.
Dry Martini Cocktail with 3 olives

If you want a classy drink, you can't go wrong with a Dry Martini. And that's not only because it is the preferred drink of the most famous British secret agent. 

The Martini is simplistic yet balanced, served in a delicate and iconic glass. The flavors of the cocktail are subtle yet in perfect harmony.

However, this combination is not the ultimate traditional way to make this drink. Historically the cocktail was all but dry. So read on to learn more about this iconic drink.

Which Gin for the Dry Martini

For a perfect Dry Martini, it is essential to use the right ingredients and choose the best ratios. 

For a drink with such a limited amount of ingredients, dominated by Gin, you need to use a quality Gin as a base. And although there are so different types of Gin, a Dry Martini works best with a traditional Dry Gin.

If you want recommendations, head to the list with some of the best Gins for a Martini.

Classic Martini in front of grey background

How many olives in a Martini?

The traditional way to garnish a classic Martini is green olives skewered on a cocktail pick. The salty fruit brings additional taste to the drink and is meant to be eaten while sipping.

However, never serve a Martini with an even number of olives. That's supposed to bring bad luck to the person drinking the cocktail.

Instead, go for one or three olives. The only rule is that the number should be odd, though. The rest is a matter of preferences.

Perfect Dry Martini ratios

You won't find a definitive answer when it comes to the perfect measurements for a Martini - or any other drink, for that matter. 

Palates are different, and the safest bet is always to check with your guest or customer how they would like their Dry Martini. 

Yet, there is something like a golden ratio for the Dry Martini, which seems to work for most people: Using 5 parts Dry Gin per 1 part Dry Vermouth. This approach will most likely make a Dry Martini that's pleasant for everyone. Also, mixologist and book author David Embury stated:

"After extensive experimentation, I have arrived at the ratio of 5 to 1 as the proportion most pleasing to the average palate. Personally, I like a ratio of 7 to 1 even better…"

David Embury

Further, one single dash of orange cocktail bitters will help to balance the delicate flavors of your Martini cocktail. And as with most other drinks consisting of only alcoholic ingredients, a Dry Martini should be stirred in a mixing glass. - Contrary to the famous view of Mr. Bond.

Dry Martini with Gin and olives

History of the Dry Martini

Finding out for sure who the inventor was, is an impossible mission. There are countless stories, legends, and myths about how the Martini got created. 

To make things even more opaque, the stories date back to a time span of 50 years - between the 1840s and the 1890s. Ultimately, it seems most likely that the drink appeared in many places simultaneously during the 19th century. 

In the mid-1800s, many bartenders must have experimented with Gin and Vermouth. Therefore, it only makes sense that more than one came up with similar creations for their guests. 

The ratio of the ingredients did vary back then, and they do so until today. Bartenders all over the world discuss and argue about the ideal proportions of this drink. These days, the Martini is made of anything between 3-10 parts Gin per 1 part Dry Vermouth.

Interestingly the first acknowledged version of the Martini was not dry. Originally the drink was mixed using Gin and Italian Sweet Vermouth. It's seemingly a minor difference, however, it leads to a considerably sweeter drink.


Today, there are countless different types of Martinis. Especially, because so many cocktails use the name Martini despite having nothing in common with the original. -except for the iconic glassware.

The most popular traditional riffs are probably the Vodka Martini and the Vesper. In a Vodka Martini, the Gin gets substituted with Vodka, the Vesper combines both spirits in a split-base Martini.

Apart from those more traditional variations, there are also modern interpretations like the Espresso Martini or the French Martini. Both are not only delicious variations but are also recognized by the IBA as individual cocktails.

Then, if you like a more experimental approach to cocktails, check out this Dill Pickle Martini. This drink is based on Gin but also incorporates pickle juice to create a highly unusual Martini experience. That might sound strange to you, but it honestly works.

Dry Martini Cocktail with 3 olives

Dry Martini

The classic Martini recipe, made of Gin, Dry Vermouth, and orange bitters.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 217kcal
Cost: $3.50


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Mixing glass
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer


  • 2.5 oz Dry Gin
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash Orange bitters - optional


  • Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with plenty of ice.
    2.5 oz Dry Gin, 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth, 1 dash Orange bitters
  • Stir 15 to 20 seconds until the drink is well-chilled, then strain into a chilled Martini glass.
  • Optionally garnish with an uneven number of olive or a lemon peel.


Serving: 3.25ozCalories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 2.5gProtein: 0.1gSodium: 9.5mgPotassium: 46mgSugar: 2.5gCalcium: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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One comment on “Dry Martini”

  1. 5 stars
    The best combination is:
    Noilly Prat
    and Beefeater Gin.
    The recipe I use, pretty much identical, I got some 20 yrs ago from a jazz fan, who came up after a piano solo concert of mine and shared it in return.
    Needless to say - personally tested and approved. Another important notice: this is definitely a strong drink, so pls be cautious, ladies especially! Tastes best when sipped delicately and gradually throughout all the party. Beware: the second one could be too much! Just one gives you a wonderful light touch of booze, extended in time. Self control is a key word here - a pleasure overdosed turns into a bitter(sic!) experience, as always. Good luck, this is a demanding but also much rewarding cocktail...

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