How To Order a Martini (According to Bartenders)

How To Order A Martini

Many people think of the classic image of James Bond ordering a martini when they think of how to order a martini. However, there’s much more to it than simply saying “shaken, not stirred.”

For clarity, A martini is a classic cocktail that traditionally consists of gin or vodka and dry vermouth. It is often garnished with an olive or a lemon twist and served in a conical glass. It’s a classic, timeless drink and is often associated with sophistication and elegance.

So how do you order a martini?

Specify what type of martini you want and whether you want it shaken or stirred. Also, specify what garnish you want, how strong you’d like your martini, and how you want it served.

If all this sounds like a lot, it’s really not. Whether you’re a beginner drinker or a more experienced connoisseur, this guide will help you order a martini that is perfect for any occasion.

Types of Martinis

Types Of Martinis

There are many different types of martinis; no two people like their martinis the same way, and this versatility has contributed to the martini’s popularity. Below are some popular martini types.


A classic martini is made with gin, a dash of dry vermouth, and garnished with an olive or lemon twist. It’s the first thing people think about when you say martini. You can think of it as the default martini.

The ratio of gin to vermouth is a matter of personal preference. It is served in a chilled martini glass and is usually stirred, not shaken. This method helps bring out the flavors of the gin and gives the martini a smooth, silky texture.


A dry martini is a classic cocktail made with gin and dry vermouth. It is usually garnished with a lemon twist or an olive. Compared to a classic martini, a dry martini has less vermouth and a stronger, more intense flavor

A dry martini is usually served straight up, meaning it is shaken or stirred with ice and then served without any additional mixers or juices.


The ratio of vermouth to gin or vodka is what differentiates a wet martini from a dry martini. A wet martini contains more vermouth than a dry martini.

The vermouth adds a sweeter flavor and a more subtle flavor of alcohol compared to a dry martini. It’s weaker than a dry martini and perfect for people who want a sweet drink and don’t want to get drunk.


There are two common types of vermouth– dry and sweet. A sweet martini is simply swapping out the dry vermouth for sweet vermouth.

As the name implies, sweet vermouth is sweeter than dry vermouth. You can also opt for a “perfect martini,” which is a mix of both dry and sweet vermouths.


A dirty martini refers to a martini made with gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and a small amount of olive juice. This gives the martini a unique and flavorful taste.


A vodka martini is made with vodka instead of gin. People prefer a vodka martini for its smoothness and its subtle flavor. Vodka does not have any inherent taste, allowing the other ingredients to be the stars of the drink.

Vodka also has a slightly lower alcohol content than gin, which can make it a better choice for those who don’t want a super strong drink.

How To Order a Martini

How To Order A Martini

Now that you know the different types of martinis let’s jump right into how to order a martini at a bar.

Be Specific About the Type You Want

Know what type of martini you would like. Do you prefer gin or vodka? Do you want a classic martini, a dry martini, a dirty martini, or a vodka martini? Once you’ve decided on the type of martini you would like, you can order it.

Knowing what type of martini you want will help the bartender make your drink quickly and efficiently. Of course, you can ask the bartender for recommendations if you’re not sure of what you like.

Shaken or Stirred?

If you’re not an avid martini drinker, this question from the bartender can throw you off, except you watch James Bond, of course.

A shaken martini is made by pouring all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes and then shaking it vigorously for several seconds. This results in a slightly cloudy liquid and a frothy texture.

A stirred martini is made by adding all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stirring it for several seconds with a bar spoon. This results in a clear liquid and a silky texture.

Both methods create a delicious martini, but personal preference will determine which one is preferred.

Choose Your Garnish

If you would like your martini to be garnished, you should also specify this when ordering. The most common garnish for a martini is olive, but you can also request a lemon twist or other garnishes.

It is believed that the salty flavor of the olive helps to enhance the taste of the drink. As for lime and lemon twists, they help bring out the flavors of the gin or vodka in the martini. They also add a subtle sweetness to the drink.

Specify How Strong You Want Your Martini

You should specify how strong you would like your martini. A standard martini is usually served with a ratio of 2-3 parts gin or vodka to 1 part vermouth.

However, if you would like a stronger or weaker martini, you should let the bartender know.

Luckily, you now know most of the martini ordering lingo, like dry, wet, or dirty. Let the bartender know how you like it, and if it’s your first time, you can keep tasting varieties until you find your drink.

Choose Your Liquor Brand

If you’re ordering a martini for the first time at a bar, it’s totally fine to go with the flow, but after a while, you’re going to need to be much more specific.

The bartender serves you the cheapest brand of vodka or gin available, so if you want a higher quality martini, you should state the brands you want.

If you’re specifying the brand, you don’t need to call the name of the alcohol with the brand. For example, if you want to order Grey Goose Vodka, you only need to say “Grey Goose.”

Final Thoughts

Now you see that ordering a martini isn’t so scary. After your first few times, you’ll be comfortable walking into your regular bar and saying, “the usual.”

Remember to continue trying new garnishes or brands so you can find your favorite martini.