Here are all the best types of martinis! Try everything from the classic dry martini to all the fruity flavored vodka spins.
There is no cocktail with so many variations…the martini! The martini is one of the most iconic cocktails of all time. People have been drinking it for a century. The thing is: so many different drinks can be called a martini! Here are the two main categories of martinis:
Dry martinis: The original! The classic martini is gin and vermouth: searing and spirit forward. There are several types of martinis that vary the basic components in this category.
Sweet vodka martinis: It’s a wonder many of these are called martinis at all! Sweet and fruity, they’re made with vodka and range the gamut of flavors.
We’ve got a martini for every drinker and occasion. Ready to get started?
At the top of the list of the best types of martinis: the Classic Dry Martini! With one sip it announces itself: crisp, cool, searing, and spirit-forward. It’s seeped in tradition, and there’s no cocktail that has the amount of variations: shaken or stirred, gin or vodka, straight or on the rocks. But here’s how to make a classic dry martini…the best way. (Though we like ours dirty too…)
How to make the classic martini even more perfect? Make the Dirty Martini! Add a splash of olive juice to your martini, and the way it rounds out the flavor is true perfection. It’s tangy, salty, briny and complex. The martini is seeped in tradition, and as you might expect: we have our own opinion on how to make it perfectly.
Here’s a type of martini invented by a fictional character that went on to become a classic. Meet the Vesper martini! Yes, James Bond created this drink in the 1953 book Casino Royale, and it lives on today. The magic ingredient is Lillet blanc, a lightly sweet, vaguely floral fortified wine that brings life and personality into this drink. Here’s more about it and why you should try a Bond martini…stat.
Calling all martini lovers! Have you met the Gibson cocktail? This classic gin drink is essentially a martini with an onion garnish. This switch up on the classic “lemon or olive” garnish brings a savory element that makes it an altogether new drink. The Gibson is crisp, cool, searing, and spirit-forward, punctuated by the pungent onion garnish.
Let's move to the sweet types of martinis! Here’s a sophisticated vodka martini that’s calling your name: the French martini. This martini is hardly related to the classic dry martini at all. It’s a fruity and balanced, featuring a fancy French black raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice. Each sip is so intriguing and nuanced, it’s hard to put the glass down! This one’s become a favorite over here.
This zingy type of martini is perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart, served with a sugar rim and a lemon twist. It looks so festive that it’s great for celebrations of all kinds. Whatever the occasion: this martini delivers! You'll be surprised by the crisp, clean flavor and the sophisticated vibe. It’s now solidly a part of our cocktail repertoire.
This type of martini is as refreshing as it is sophisticated: the Cucumber Martini! It’s a cool, crisp take on the classic martini starring cucumber, vodka, and the floral notes of St Germain. Take one sip and your palate will be amazed: it’s fresh, dry, and floral, with just the right scent of cucumber. It’s great for summer, but it works anytime.
Looking for a fun type of martini as a signature drink for your next gathering? Try a Pomegranate Martini! Crisp, sweet tart, fruity, and light: it’s much closer to a Cosmo than the classic martini. But instead of cranberry juice like the Cosmopolitan, it’s made with pomegranate juice instead. Serve it up in a martini glass and you’ve got a sophisticated cocktail that’s refreshing and easy to drink.
Here’s a type of martini that’s full of big fruity flavor: the Watermelon Martini! This vodka martini is all about the watermelon, with a pure, refreshing flavor. It’s just sweet enough to let the fruit shine through, and it goes down pretty easy. Add that watermelon wedge garnish and it’s a great signature drink for summer.
Here’s a tasty, sweet tart spin on the vodka martini that you’ve got to try: the Cranberry Martini! It’s refreshing, zingy and perfectly balanced, starring Cointreau orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice. If you think this drink bears a striking resemblance to the classic cocktail the Cosmopolitan, you’re right! Prepare to be impressed with this one.
Coffee lovers, here’s the cocktail for you! Meet the Espresso Martini. This one is an ideal pick-me-up for a lazy afternoon or an after dinner drink…it even doubles as dessert! Bittersweet coffee pairs perfectly with the rich sweetness of Kahlua. Add vodka and the trio makes a full-flavored sophisticated drink that tastes like much more than the sum of its parts. It’s cool, frothy, and just sweet enough. Watch out: these go down easy.
Here's another sweet, dessert-like martini: the chocolate martini! It's rich and creamy, basically a dessert in a glass! It’s got Irish cream and creme de cacao for maximum flavor, like the liquid version of your favorite chocolate bar. Mix this up for special occasions like a romantic dinner…or just anytime you need a sweet treat in cocktail form.
Here’s a zingy cocktail that makes the most of this unique citrus fruit: a Blood Orange Martini! Why not grab a bunch to mix up deliciously sweet tart cocktails? You can also use bottled blood orange juice. This drink matches the floral citrus from the blood orange with the tang of lime juice, making a balanced, drinkable flavor.
Try this sweet tart red martini is beautifully fruity: the Raspberry Martini! This drink is stunning and full of bright berry flavor: from first sip, you’ll be sold! The sweet tart, lightly floral flavor of raspberry is beautifully pure, thanks to homemade raspberry syrup.
Here’s a drink that blew us away with its nuanced, rich flavor: the Key Lime Martini! It’s made with this incredible Spanish vanilla liqueur that makes anything taste delightful. Add to that tart key lime juice and a graham cracker drink rim, and well: it’s not overly sweet or one note like you might expect. It’s full of complexity and nuance…and completely irresistible.
Last up in our types of martinis: the Mexican martini! This recipe takes the best of a classic martini and a classic margarita in the same glass! Like a good margarita, it’s seriously tangy, not too sweet and citrusy. Then it’s got a hint of dry vermouth like a martini, and it’s garnished with an olive. And don’t forget that salt rim! It’s the perfect unique cocktail to impress a load of guests, or down as you inhale a basket of chips.
Here are all the best types of martinis! Try everything from the classic dry martini to the dirty martini to fruity flavored vodka martinis.
For the Classic / Dirty Martini
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) gin (or 2 ounces for a Dirty Martini)
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) dry white vermouth
1/2 ounce olive juice (Dirty Martini only)
For the garnish: olive or lemon peel
For the Vesper Martini
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) gin
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vodka
1/2 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) Lillet Blanc
For the French Martini
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) vodka
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) pineapple juice
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
For the garnish: raspberry (optional)
For the Classic / Dirty Martini: Combine the gin and vermouth (and olive juice, if using) in a cocktail mixing glass. Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds until very cold. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass (purists chill the glass first). Squeeze a lemon peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass, then place it in the glass and serve. Garnish with a lemon peel or olive.
For the Vesper Martini: Place the gin, vodka, and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until cold. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon peel as in Step 1.
For the French Martini: Add the vodka, pineapple juice, and Chambord or raspberry liqueur to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it until cold. Strain into a cocktail glass. If desired, garnish with a raspberry.
Keywords: Types of Martinis
More types of cocktails
Outside of these types of martinis, there are so many great cocktail recipes to try! Here are some of our best drink collections:
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.