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Different Types of Martinis

Master Martini Terminology

Dry, dirty, shaken — when it comes to tasty martinis, ordering can be a little more complicated than it should be. Before you hit the bars to celebrate National Martini Day (it's today!), get the full scoop on everything you need to become a martini maven.

Here, we're giving you the liquor lowdown on all the different drink versions so that the next time you approach the bartender, you'll sound as seasoned as James Bond or good ol' Karen Walker from Will & Grace.

  • Gin or vodka: When you order a martini, you'll usually get a cocktail made with gin and a hint of dry vermouth — fortified wine flavored with a variety of herbs — in a five-to-one ratio. Expect an olive or a twist of lemon peel as garnish. Many martinis use vodka instead, but make sure to specify with the bartender if that's your preference.
  • Dry, wet, or perfect: Ordering it "dry" is asking for a martini with less vermouth than usual. A "wet" martini — you guessed it — comes with more vermouth than the standard ratio. And "perfect"? Well, that just means the drink uses equal amounts of gin and vermouth.
  • Shaken or stirred: "Shaken, not stirred" might sound familiar thanks to Mr. Bond. A shaken martini, mixed in a cocktail shaker with ice, usually produces an icier, cloudier, and slightly more diluted drink. A stirred martini chills the cocktail without diluting it quite as much from the ice.
  • Dirty: Olive lovers are sure to appreciate a "dirty" martini. This version adds olive juice for an extra briny taste.
  • Gibson: A gibson is still a martini; the only difference is that is comes garnished with a cocktail onion instead of an olive or peel.
  • Vesper: For something a bit different, try a vesper: a martini composed of gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, and a lemon twist.

Of course, martinis come in flavored versions, like cranberry, too. Now that you have the entire 411, get ready, get set, and sip away!

Photo: Susannah Chen
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