4 classic Gin Martini styles

(and a few others you might not have heard of)

Over the years ‘martini’ has been attributed to anything served in a martini glass, whether it’s a drink or a dessert. Then there is the discussion about whether it should contain vodka or gin, be shaken or stirred. I’m hoping you know my preference is for gin, and most definitely stirred*.

All that aside, The Gin Martini is one of the classics. Ice on the tongue, warmth in the belly, it oozes elegance, sophistication and conjures up images of Hollywood movie stars from a bygone era.

However, I know a few people who are a little scared to order a martini. Perhaps the famous Dorothy Parker quote has put them off?

“I like to have a martini,
 two at the very most.
 After three I’m under the table,
 after four I’m under my host.”

Everything in moderation, I say. The martini should be the perfect marriage of gin, vermouth and a dash of bitters. You can read how Greg Sanderson, owner of Eau De Vie Melbourne makes one of my favourite martinis here.

Here are a few options for you to try:

Dry Gin Martini


A dry martini refers to the ratio of gin to dry vermouth. Over the years the ratios have been 1:1 to 100:1 and everywhere in between. Some bars serve the gin straight up and wipe the rim of the glass with vermouth. However, 4:1 is a good place to start. (60ml gin, 15 ml vermouth)

Try: Martin Miller’s Gin, Sipsmith or Melbourne Gin Company.

 Wet Gin Martini

A wet martini typically has more vermouth than is found in a dry martini.

50/50 Gin Martini

A 50/50 is as it sounds. 50% gin, 50% dry vermouth.

‘Upside Down’ or ‘Reverse’ Gin Martini

This Martini contains more vermouth than gin.

‘Perfect’ Gin Martini

A ‘perfect’ martini contains equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, although it can obviously refer to a martini’s quality!

Dry Martini with a twist


Essentially a dry martini, but served with a citrus twist. I match my garnish to reflect the citrus notes in the gin I’m drinking, so I might sometimes choose lime, orange or even grapefruit.

Try with: Tanqueray 10, Stone Pine Dry GinFour Pillars Rare Dry Gin

Dirty Martini


A dry martini becomes ‘dirty’ with the addition of a small amount of brine from the olive garnish. I can’t emphasise enough that the quality of the brine and olives will massively affect the outcome of your Dirty Martini. We aren’t aiming for a salty, soupy mess, more a martini that has elevated savoury notes . (Use a strainer to get the cleanest brine possible).

Try with : The Westwinds Gin (Cutlass), Kangeroo Island Wild Gin, Gin Mare

Gibson Martini


The oldest published recipe for a Gibson martini is 1908. It’s made with gin and vermouth, but the bitters are omitted and silverskin onions are used as a garnish. A great martini for people who like their drinks on the savoury side.

Try with : G’Vine Nouaison, McHenry & Sons Classic Dry Gin

And if none of those suit, you could try a ‘Montgomery‘…The legendary WWII general is said to have preferred his martini 15 parts gin, one part vermouth! Or how about ‘The Churchill’? Winston Churchill was allegedly in favour of taking his martini one part gin, with a general wave of the glass in the direction of France.

How do you like your martini?

*while there is nothing inherently wrong with shaking your martini, it will result in a cloudier drink due to the aeration. I prefer the clarity of the stirred martini, but each to their own.


    1. Yay!

  1. Bitters in a Martini? Never heard of such a thing! Noilly Prat is an excellent Vermouth for Martinis but, if you have no Vermouth: Dry Sherry works pretty well, too!

  2. Whoops. I always thought a dirty martini meant it was vodka instead of gin. Learn something new everyday! *hangs head in shame*

    1. Well, it would be dirty to me if it was made of vodka! Glad to be of assistance Chris!

      1. Dirty? That would be almost unspeakable! 😉

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