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Dirty or not, this classic cocktail is simple. Gin (the classic) or Vodka and Dry Vermouth with an Olive or zest of Lemon to garnish.

Aficionados disagree on the correct ratio of Gin to Dry Vermouth that makes the perfect Martini, and the debate over the true origin of the martini can be just as contentious.


Some claim that it’s simply a dryer version of an older cocktail called the Martinez; Martinez, California, the birthplace of this cocktail, thus stakes its claim to the title of birthplace of the Martini. Others claim that the drink’s name simply comes from Martini & Rossi, an Italian company that’s been exporting its Vermouths since the 19th century. Still others claim that the drink was created by and named for Martini di Arma di Taggia, the bartender at New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel, although there’s evidence that the cocktail may have been invented well before he started mixing drinks.

By 1922 the Martini reached its most recognizable form in which London dry Gin and dry Vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker’s choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.

A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.

Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with Gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, “A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy,”

There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be “shaken, not stirred,” following Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes. The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford.However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that “a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.” A Martini may also be served with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.

How to make one yourself

We love Jamie Oliver’s recipe and he’s right. Buy the best spirits you can afford as value brands just won’t cut it.

• Vodka (Grey Goose) or Gin (Bombay Sapphire) depending on your preference
• Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
• Orange Bitters
• Garnish with zest of Lemon and/or Olives on a stick

• Fill a glass with ice.
• In a large mixer add 1 part Noilly Prat Original Dry to 2 parts Bombay Sapphire or Grey Goose with a dash of orange bitters.
• Stir for 20 seconds
• Strain into a classic cocktail glass.
• Cut the zest of a lemon into a strip, twist it and waft it over the glass and add OR add an olive or two on a stick.
• Drink and be very, very sophisticated!