Best Gin for Martini cocktails

The 9 Best Gin for Martini cocktails

By Timo Torner / Last updated on October 28, 2022 

First published on March 26, 2022 

Whether you prefer it extra dry, dirty, or shaken - the Martini is one of the most iconic cocktails. And the beauty of it is that you can adjust the restrained recipe by changing the Gin or the ratios to your liking without spoiling it.

Looking at the recipe for a (Gin) Martini cocktail, you've got to love the simplicity. The strong base of Gin mixed with just a bit of Dry Vermouth is all you need. To adjust the recipe to your liking, you can easily play with the ratio of the ingredients or switch the Gin base. -Our recommended ratio for a classic Martini is five parts Gin to one part Dry Vermouth.

With so many different types of Gin available, you have endless possibilities to craft your best Gin Martini cocktail. -From classic London Dry Gin to Plymouth Gin to New Western Gin. We help you find the best Gin for Martini cocktails.

And because a great Gin Martini needs a matching Vermouth, we included a Vermouth recommendation that fits best.

Our Top Picks

Mastering a Dry Martini

In its early days, a classic Martini used to be a mix of Sweet Vermouth and Old Tom Gin, a rather sweet type of Gin. 

Today, a classic Dry Martini uses Dry Vermouth, commonly Noilly Prat or Dolin Dry, and Dry Gin. And also, most Martini recipes are based on London Dry Gin, so it's no surprise we have some of those on our list.

Besides your choice of Gin and Dry Vermouth, the ratio of the ingredients is key to making your cocktail perfect. While 5:1 is the most pleasing to people's palates on average, your preference can differ. 

Seasoned Martini drinkers might want to increase the Gin proportion to 7 or even 10. But you can also start with a ratio of 3:1.

Elon Soddu, an ex-head bartender at The Savoy, has a tip for everyone to make your Martini the right way: 

"In a dry Martini, you use it (the Vermouth) just to rinse your glass, whereas, in a wet Martini, you actually add it into the mix, stirring it well."

Best London Dry Gin for Martinis

London Dry Gins have the most regulations regarding ingredients and production process. They're usually quite junipery with relatively similar flavor profiles. Nevertheless, you will find differences in quality and taste within this category.

Here are our choices for the best London Dry Gins for making a great Martini.

Sipsmith Gin

Sipsmith London Dry Gin

Region: UK
ABV: 41.6%
Tasting Notes: Juniper, pine, lemon, mandarin, and coriander
Best matching Vermouth: Dolin Dry

Sipsmith produces some of the best Gins on the market. But while I love their VJOP expression in other drinks, their standard London Dry Gin is my preferred choice for making a Martini. 

When combined with a lovely Dry Vermouth like Dolin, you get a very dry but delicious Martini.

Why we like it: Sipsmith has a beautiful balance of citrus, juniper, and floral notes. And it's those floral notes of the Gin that harmonize perfectly with the floral notes of Dolin Dry.

Beefeater Gin

Beefeater Gin

Region: UK
ABV: 44%
Tasting Notes: Almond, juniper, coriander, lemon, and licorice
Best matching Vermouth: Carpano Dry

Beefeater is probably the most classic option on this list. Traditionalists typically use it in a 5:1 Martini with a Carpano Dry or Dolin Dry Vermouth. And even if the Gin comes across as a bit ancient, Beefeater is still one of the best Martini Gins. In addition, it's also one of the more affordable options out there.

The flavor profile is very traditional and juniper-forward. -A perfect representation of the London Dry category, working perfectly in a Martini cocktail.

Why we like it: A good Gin for a Martini and quite budget-friendly, Beefeater Gin is way better than its reputation might indicate.

Bombay Dry Gin

Bombay Dry Gin

Region: UK
ABV: 43%
Tasting Notes: Almond, angelica, cassia, juniper, lemon, and licorice
Best matching Vermouth: Noilly Prat

Bombay Dry is another classic London Dry Gin and has a really unique flavor profile. This inexpensive option has wonderful earthy and grassy flavors. Used in a Martini, it makes for a light and well-balanced cocktail.

However, when you prefer citrus or spicy notes, this one might not be for you. Even though Bombay Dry Gin is well-balanced, it lacks that punch of citrus of many other brands. But since palates are different, this earthy base definitely deserves its place on our list.

Why we like it: It is a budget option that makes for a wonderful Martini with earthy and grassy notes.

Best New Western Gin for Martinis

New Western Gins are more modern representatives of Gin. Most of them are toned down when it comes to juniper and instead have unique and surprising flavor combinations. Think of rose, pineapple, coconut, or citrus. The unconventional flavor profile makes them particularly interesting in a Martini cocktail.

Tanqueray No. 10

Tanqueray No. 10 Gin for Negroni

Region: Scotland
ABV: 47.3%
Tasting Notes: Angelica, juniper, grapefruit, lime, and licorice
Best matching Vermouth: Dolin Dry

For many bartenders and Martini lovers, Tanqueray No. 10 is the perfect choice for a Martini. When made with the classic ratio of 5:1, the drink pronounces the Gin's complexity perfectly. 

And especially for fans of citrus, this Gin is excellent. The flavors of grapefruit and lime really shine through.

Why we like it: Tanqueray ten, just like regular Tanqueray, is one of the best Gin for a Dirty Martini. So, if you need a bottle that tackles both dry and dirty, this one is a great choice.

Iron Balls

Iron Balls Gin Bangkok bottle

Region: Thailand
ABV: 40%
Tasting Notes: Lemongrass, pineapple, coconut, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger
Best matching Vermouth: Riserva Carlo Alberto Dry Vermouth

Iron Balls Gin makes for a surprisingly good Martini when used right. This tropical Gin, made in the center of Bangkok, has a truly unique flavor profile. 

To make this Gin shine in a Martini, you might want to make a more wet version. Apply a ratio of 3:1 with Riserva Carlo Alberta Dry Vermouth and garnish the Martini with a lemon twist. It clearly is not ideal for enthusiasts of traditional Dry Martinis but makes for a wonderfully modern and tropical twist.

Why we like it: Made from housemade pineapple and coconut wine, the Gin is full of tropical Asian flavors. Think of Lemongrass, ginseng, coriander, and ginger. -A must-try for Martini lovers who like to experiment. 

Hendrick's Gin

Hendrick's Gin

Region: Scotland
ABV: 44%
Tasting Notes: Rose, cucumber, floral, coriander, and juniper
Best matching Vermouth: Dolin Dry

Hendrick's Gin is another unconventional Gin but works brilliantly in a Martini cocktail. The notes of rose and cucumber add a nice touch to the drink without being overpowering. Hints of juniper shine through but are overall very restrained.

And Hendrick's Gin also is one of my favorite Gins for making a Gin & Tonic.

Why we like it: Hendricks is a standout Gin for many mixed drinks, the Martini being one of them. The unusual flavor profile makes it a superb choice for everyone who wants to try something new and unexpected. 

Monkey 47

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

Region: Germany
ABV: 47%
Tasting Notes: Herbaceous, juniper, pine, citrus, floral, and angelica
Best matching Vermouth: Mancino Pink Vermouth

Monkey 47 is famous for its extensive list of ingredients. The 47 botanicals used to make the Gin create a complex range of flavors. My preferred choice for the Vermouth part here is Mancino Pink. 

However, as Mancino is so subtle in taste, you'll need to use more of it. Try a 2:1 ratio or even go for 1:1. Combined with Monkey 47's vast amount of botanicals, you'll get a very complex and utterly delicious drink.

Why we like it: The 47 botanicals make for a flavor sensation when used in a Martini. We love the notes of pine and other grassy flavors that shine through when used in a Martini.

Nikka Coffey Gin

Nikka Coffey Gin

Region: Japan
ABV: 47%
Tasting Notes: Yuzu, citrus, pine, pepper, caramel, and orange
Best matching Vermouth: Noilly Prat

Nikka is most famous for producing premium Japanese Whiskey. Maybe you even stumbled across their Coffey Grain Whiskey before. It's distilled using the same Coffey stills as their Gin. It's a great choice if you prefer Dry Martinis made with citrus-forward Gins.

And while most citrus-forward spirits contain lemon, lime, or grapefruit, this Asian-style Gin is flavored with Yuzu and Amanatsu. It's best served with a lemon twist to emphasize the citrus notes of the Gin. 

I seriously like it in a Martini, but some people may find it too bitter for their taste buds. Thus, if you're sensitive to bitter flavors, skip that one.

Why we like it: We like the interplay of sweet and fruity Asian ingredients combined with a distinct bitter note.

Special mention: Plymouth Gin

Plymouth is actually its own category. But I want to include it as a special mention because the citrus-flavored Gin fits wonderfully in a well-crafted Martini.

Plymouth Gin White Negroni

Region: UK
ABV: 41.2%
Tasting Notes: Juniper, lemon, orange, angelica, and juniper
Best matching Vermouth: Noilly Prat

Plymouth Gin is famous for its unique flavor, soft texture, and smooth mouthfeel. It works great in a Martini combined with Noilly Prat in a 2:1 ratio. Add two dashes of orange cocktail bitters to your Martini, and you get an amazing Martini.

If you don't like the taste of Noilly Prat in this particular case, try it with a Dolin Blanc. Though it's not a Dry Vermouth, it works exceptionally well with Plymouth Gin.

Why we like it: Plymouth Gin is a fantastic choice for a Gin Martini with a traditional flavor profile. It's also super easy to mix and pairs well with the most common Dry Vermouths.

Final Verdict

Besides the traditional London Dry Gins, we included some less common options in our list of best Gins for Martinis. Try to make a Martini with Hendrick's Gin or Iron Balls to experience your Martini in a new way.

If you're looking for a more classic option as the base in your Martini, opt for a Tanqueray No. 10 or Sipsmith.

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