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A martini pick is a supremely underrated bar tool. “I don't like having to fish around in my drink to enjoy the garnish or waiting until the drink is finished and getting an olive in the face as it falls out on the last sip,” says Anthony Caporale, director of spirits education at the Institute of Culinary Education. So, he reaches for a martini pick, a tool that doubles as a way to garnish a drink and stir a cocktail.
“My guiding principle for garnishes is that they should make a drink both look better and taste better,” Caporale says. “So for martinis, I always use two of whatever the garnish is (olives, cherries, cocktail onions, etc.) and place them on the pick so that they're touching each other and at a level where the liquid in the glass falls right between them. This way, one is under the surface—in the drink—adding flavor and one is above the surface—out of the drink—adding visual appeal.”
For all you martini lovers, opt for one of the following martini picks to help take your happy hour to the next level.
Best Overall: Sur La Table Stainless Steel Martini Picks
Easy to clean
Smaller in size
These martini picks from Sur La Table pose the question: If you’re going to make a great martini, why stick a wooden toothpick in it? These sleek stainless steel cocktail picks come with six per set, ready to be perched on your favorite martini glass. They are on the smaller size at 3.75 inches long, making them ideal for adding olives to vermouth or a smaller-sized cocktail, as well as a standard martini glass.
These martini picks clean easily in the dishwasher, though if you don’t have a dishwasher bag or a small cutlery section, consider rinsing by hand to avoid losing them. Then, store them in a vintage glass atop your home bar to make sure you don't misplace the teeny picks.
What's Included: (6) 3.75-inch stainless steel martini picks
Best Disposable: Royal Bamboo Knot Cocktail and Hors' D'oeuvre Pick
Not really reusable
Consider these a cross between a martini pick and a disposable toothpick—reach for them when making martinis, appetizers, sandwiches, and more. Plus, “these knot picks are made entirely of bamboo, thus they are completely biodegradable and can be thrown out with other food waste. That makes them an eco-friendly and convenient option for us,” says Oscar Amaya, bar manager at Rusty Pelican Miami.
“We use these martini picks to prop up the pickled toppings (cocktail onions, gherkins, and more) for bloody marys and orange slices or rinds for Aperol spritzes. I’ve also used martini picks to spear cucumber ribbons for garnishes in gin drinks as well as melon balls, berries, and maraschino cherries.”
What's Included: (100) 4-inch martini picks
“A pick can be a particularly welcome stirring tool in drinks that tend to settle or are served on the rocks,” says Caporale.
Best Set: Cauyuan 20-Piece Cocktail Picks Set
Easy to lose in the dishwasher
If you often entertain a large group of friends, you’re going to need enough martini picks. This set includes 20—perfect for the hostess with the most (or the home bartender who tends to lose martini picks). There are five different styles, each adorned with a small cocktail tool, like a jigger or shaker.
Made with food-grade, anti-corrosive, rust-proof 304 stainless steel, these picks can be used to stab olives for martinis, pineapple for piña coladas, and more. At 4.3 inches long, they're long enough to perch on a variety of different glassware options. Try hosting a bar book club with your friends; pick a new mixology book every month and make a different cocktail from each one. These cocktail picks will make a perfect accompaniment to your new drinks.
What's Included: (20) 4.3-inch martini picks
Best Budget: Geiserailie 36-Piece Stainless Steel Martini Picks
You may not need all sizes
While your standard 4-inch pick will sit pretty on a martini, what if you’re drinking a highball or Collins? This set of affordable cocktail picks includes a size for every type of cocktail. The 4-inch pick is ideal for a rocks glass (think cherries for a Manhattan or citrus swirls in something bitter and boozy), while the 6-inch pick will stand tall in larger rocks glasses and higher capacity drinks served up. Use the 8-inch picks for garnishes in highballs, Collins, and bloody marys. Made with 304 stainless steel, the material is easy to clean, food-safe, and rust-resistant.
Try adding slices of citrus and herbs in your favorite highball drink. For a bloody mary, add pickles, tomatoes, bacon, or chilled shrimp for an over-the-top brunch drink. These picks will make sure the garnishes don’t float around your drink—and if they do, the pick will help you scoop them up at the end.
What's Included: (36) 4-, 6-, and 8-inch martini picks
“Keep your martini simple and use the best ingredients,” says Miller. “It's not called the 'King of Cocktails' for nuthin'!”
Best Design: FS Objects Spar Cocktail Picks
Not the most affordable
Though these are arguably the smartest set on the market, don’t let looks fool you—these chic picks offer a rainbow of uses. Use them to spear olives and other garnishesor to pick up charcuterie and other tiny snacks.
The design subtly nods to the nautical. The different stainless steel designs are inspired by flags, fishing bobbers, and buoys without leaning towards kitschy. The set includes four picks, each one slightly different, so you can identify your drinks in a crowd.
At 5.25 inches long, these are suited to most standard cocktails from martinis to rocks glasses. This set isn't the cheapest option on the list, but if your home bar is stocked with high-quality glassware, these cocktail picks do an excellent job of meeting those standards.
What's Included: (4) 5.25-inch martini picks
“A little garnish goes a long way when it comes to a cocktail presentation. Without a proper garnish, the drink looks totally naked, in my opinion. I would go as far to say that a martini without a garnish is not a martini. The garnishes have purpose: They add another level of complexity to your drink both aesthetically and to the flavor profile." — Oscar Amaya, Bar Manager at Rusty Pelican
Best Glass: Hay Sip Spiral Straws
Doubles as a straw
Not entirely a martini pick
These picks play double duty: They offer a low-effort, high-design way to garnish a drink and are also straws. They work well in both hot and cold drinks, so consider them an asset through summer drinking season and in warm drinks, like hot buttered rums and mulled wines. Each one is a different color, too, so you won’t mix up your drink with a friend’s.
Note that glass is not the most durable material when it comes to cocktail picks. Be sure to wash carefully and store properly. These are made from borosilicate glass, so they are more durable than a standard glass, but do be careful not to clink them against the sides.
What's Included: (4) 7.8-inch straws
What to Look for in Martini Picks
When it comes to martini picks, length matters. If it's too long, the pick will awkwardly lean out of the glass. If it's too short, you will have to fish your pick (and any fallen garnishes) out of your drink with your fingers. Around 4 inches is a good length for standard martini glasses, but look for longer picks if you enjoy highballs or drinks on the rocks.
Consider that your pick will largely live in your drink. With this in mind, you’re going to want a pick made with material that can withstand being submerged in stick liquids. Avoid lacquered or painted martini picks. They will chip in your drink and tarnish over time.
Pick a design that matches yours. Do you want a show-stopping cocktail pick that makes a statement or a more subdued one that lets the cocktail do the talking?
What goes on a classic martini pick?
Olives are the obvious answer here, but if you’re thinking of martinis, you can also garnish with a lemon twist or pickled onion depending on how you prefer it to be served.
What other drinks can you garnish with a martini pick?
Many drinks that require garnishes can benefit from a cocktail pick. Consider adding cherries to your old-fashioned or savory options, like pickles, cheese cubes, jalapeño, bacon, and more to a bloody mary.
How do you wash a martini pick?
“This can be challenging, but I've found that mesh dishwasher bags can do the trick if the mesh isn't too wide,” says Caporale. “When all else fails, handwash carefully in soapy water, then soak in sanitizer according to directions and dry.”
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. She is based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III qualification.