The Martinez is the grandfather of the Martini, and the earliest of all Martini recipes. It’s the cocktail that swapped out whiskey for gin in a Manhattan.
Martinez are sweet cocktails, often called a ‘sweet martini’. It’s defining characteristics are using Sweet vermouth and Gin. Originally, they were made with Genever / Jenever and Old Tom gins.
Typically served 1:1 or 1:2, and usually a bar spoon of either orange liqueur (aka Curaçao like Grand Marnier or Triple Sec like Cointreau) or Maraschino (cherry) liqueur. Generally, we recommend pairing Maraschino with more spicy gins, and Orange liqueur with more citrusy gins when making a Martinez.
Watch the sweetness with Martinez. An Old Tom, Sweet vermouth and a Liqueur are all sweet and all have sugar in, so the trick is to choose the vermouth on its bitterness and liqueur to be balanced against the sweetness
The Marguerite is relatively unknown but it’s the daughter of the Martinez and the Martini’s mother. It swaps the Sweet vermouth from a Martinez for Dry vermouth, but retains a bar spoon of orange liqueur or Maraschino.
This is normally served a degree drier than a Martinez typically at 1:2 to 1:4 ratios.
The Martini is just gin and dry vermouth, served as we explained anywhere from sopping wet 2:1 all the way to bone dry at 1:15. It’s normally garnished either with a lemon twist or an olive.
Some people add a drop or two of bitters in their Martini too, particularly orange bitters.
The Gibson is a normal Martini and instead of using a lemon twist or olive, you put a pickled onion in.
Typically, the onions used are silverskin onions pickled in a good white wine vinegar.
The Dirty Martini is a normal Martini with a spoon or two of olive brine, and always served with olive as a garnish. We recommend using juniper-forward gins in a Dirty Martini, particularly those that will louche, as this will make the martini look industrially dirty. For this reason, as those gins are normally Navy Strengths, they’re also normally served quite wet between 1:2 and 2:5 too.
Some people make it even ‘dirtier’ or ‘filthy’, by adding olive oil, capers (and using caper brine), pickled zucchini or anchovies in the mixing glass when stirring.
Another ‘filthy’ martini option is to simply drop the contents of an oyster into a Martini so you have oyster sea water and oyster as well.
A 'Burnt' Martini is one that has a splash of really smoky peated Scotch Single Malt whisky added to give a different flavour profile, instead of brine.
Unlike Dirty Martinis, they tend to be more traditional Martinis with the extra splash of whisky - so just follow your preferred Martini recipe.
Vodka Martinis are a very recent ‘kangaroo’ cocktail – the first was made in 1957, almost 100 years after the first Martini was made! Anyway, a ‘Vodka Martini’ must always use ‘vodka’ as a prefix or be called a ‘vodkatini’.
The same rules apply otherwise as normal (gin) Martinis, it should still have vermouth and be served as normal with the same garnishes.
Vodka is ultimately the most neutral-flavoured of all spirits. ‘Naked’ or ‘Desert’ Martinis are often Vodka Martinis with no vermouth and just a twist because they want something so ultimately dry that even the botanicals in gin are too wet for them – but this is excessive and stretches the definition of a Martini.
We do recommend trying a Vodka Martini though, especially with really good vodkas like Black Cow, Belvedere or Konik’s Tail, as they can be amazing!
The Vesper Martini is the Martini Ian Fleming wrote about in Casino Royale, where James Bond asked for a Martini with “3 parts Gordon’s, 1 part Vodka, and shaken with Kina Lillet and a twist of lemon”. There’s one really big problem about this cocktail: Kina Lillet hasn’t been made since 1982, though Sacred Amber and Cocchi Americano come close.
Nevertheless, it’s possibly the most talked about drink ever made, albeit one that’s difficult to master. Like we mentioned with Vodka Martinis, vodka is ‘dryer’ than gin, so adding vodka to gin, ‘dries’ it, thus making the Vesper even dryer while still using vermouth. Typically, this is extra dryness is offset in a Vesper by using a Sweet vermouth though.
We also have much better gins and vodkas at our disposal nowadays. Using a more strongly-flavoured gin than Gordon’s allows us to use less gin and more vodka to make it more balanced. Because Kina Lillet can’t be found, you can either use Cocchi Americano but with an orange twist, or use Sacred Amber with the traditional lemon twist.
Either way, Vespers are an ‘Advanced Martini’ as it’s tricky to balance and master. However, we recommend making Vespers with 2 parts gin, 1 part vodka and a sweet white vermouth of your choice, keeping to the Ratio finding trick we suggested.