Imperial Cocktail

Imperial Cocktail
Datacraft Co Ltd/Getty Images
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
307 Calories
1g Fat
34g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 307
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Protein 6g
Calcium 18mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Give your dry gin martini a cherry twist with the imperial cocktail. It's a delightfully simple cocktail recipe that adds a small amount of maraschino liqueur to the gin-vermouth combination, giving the drink a kiss of fruity sweetness.

The imperial is a fantastic dinner cocktail that will pair well with a variety of foods. You might really enjoy it with a good steak or prime rib dinner, but it is equally enjoyable with seafood entrees.


  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist​

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes.

  3. Stir well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Garnish with a lemon twist. Serve and enjoy.


  • Make this martini with your favorite gin and be sure to explore various brands and styles. The classic London dry gin always offers a great taste, but there are many craft gins available that would be fantastic in this drink as well. Some of the softer gins may actually work better against the maraschino than the juniper-forward options.
  • It's easy to treat vermouth like it's a liqueur because it's so essential in the bar. In fact, it's a fortified wine and has a much shorter shelf life. If your bottle of dry vermouth has been open for longer than three months and was not stored in the refrigerator, it's best to replace it. You will see a big improvement in all of your martinis.
  • Unless you have real maraschino cherries, it's best to avoid the temptation to garnish this drink with the average neon red maraschino. They're bleached and packed in a syrup that will leech into the drink and throw it off balance.

Recipe Variations

  • Just like the martini, this recipe is best when you adapt it to your personal taste. You can, for instance, pour less vermouth to make it "drier" or go with equal parts gin and vermouth, like the 50-50 martini. Also, feel free to shake it if you prefer or switch to vodka for a simple twist on the vodka martini.
  • Some people may also enjoy a little more maraschino, so try doubling the liqueur to 1/4 ounce or triple it with a full 1/2-ounce pour.
  • Cherry Heering is one of the best substitutes for maraschino. You drink will be a little sweeter while lacking that bitter almond tone for which maraschino is known. The switch will also give the drink a slight red color.
  • Kirsch is another good substitute that retains maraschino's clear color and gentle bitterness. It's definitely not as sweet as the other two cherry liqueurs.

How Strong Is an Imperial Cocktail?

Martinis may be sophisticated drinks, but they are not light on the alcohol. On average, you can expect your imperial cocktail to fall in the 27 percent ABV (58 proof) range. That's pretty potent and, while you may not feel tipsy after the first round, subsequent drinks can catch you by surprise.