30 Best Martini Recipes

Classic and Modern Cocktail Recipes Inspired by the Gin Martini

Dirty Martinis in glasses

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Martini recipes are everywhere, and they come in a variety of flavors. Yet, it's important to remember that there is the martini, and then there are martinis. Quite often, the latter has little or no resemblance to the original other than the serving glass.

The classic gin martini will always remain a favorite for many drinkers. It was the love for this drink (and its equally timeless cousins like the Manhattan) that spurred an entire movement—a separate martini culture within the broader cocktail scene. The martini has evolved into a style of drink: Fancy, short drinks served in cocktail glasses that are often strong. Modern martini menus are filled with almost every flavor imaginable—from apples to chocolate and coffee to spices—and they're a lot of fun to explore.

  • 01 of 30

    Vodka Martini

    Vodka Martini recipe, martini with lemon peel

    The Spruce Eats / Ali Redmond

    Clean and crisp, the vodka martini is a 20th-century classic. Originally, it went by "kangaroo," but that name didn't last long. It's really nothing more than a martini that replaces the gin with vodka, though it's less aromatic, and that appeals to many drinkers. The same options as to how dry to make it and whether to include a lemon twist or olive garnish apply. If you prefer to shake rather than stir, it's also the better choice of the two cocktails.

  • 02 of 30

    Dirty Martini Recipe

    Dirty Martinis in glasses

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    When you hear someone talk about a "dirty" martini, it's time to break out the olives. Featuring dry vermouth, you can make it with gin or vodka, and it even works with tequila. Use the brine from the olive jar, make your own, or pick up one of the olive juice options specifically designed for this cocktail. The options are numerous, and it's a fantastic savory cocktail any way you make it.

  • 03 of 30

    Dry Gin Martini

    Dry Gin Martini

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    There's no better way to kick off a martini recipe collection than with the martini. Made of gin and dry vermouth with an optional dash of bitters, the gin martini has an iconic taste marked with a dry botanical flavor profile. There is much debate among connoisseurs about the ratio, style of gin (or vodka), and garnish that is the best. And yet, most will agree that it is one of the best cocktails ever created.

  • 04 of 30

    Perfect Martini

    Perfect Martini

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    There's a special vocabulary in the martini world: Ironically, "dry" means less dry vermouth, and "perfect" means the drink includes equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth. The perfect martini is the gin-based version of this, though you can also make a perfect vodka martini or perfect Manhattan with whiskey.

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  • 05 of 30

    Gin and It

    Classic Gin & It Cocktail

    The Spruce / Mateja Kobescak

    The "it" in this martini is simply sweet vermouth, a cousin of dry vermouth with a lot of character and a sweet and earthy taste. The combination of gin and sweet vermouth—also known as red vermouth—makes for a very simple and sweet gin martini that is easy to fall for, particularly if you don't like your martinis dry. 

  • 06 of 30


    Vesper martini recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    The Vesper is a fascinating cocktail. Compared to the gin martini, it has a slightly sweet, bitter taste contributed by Lillet, while the vodka tames the gin's botanicals. It's a drink that both gin and vodka drinkers can appreciate and fun to tweak to your personal taste.

    Top Shelf, Please

    While you may be able to save a little money on tall drinks with lots of juice and soda, martinis deserve the best of your bar. For these cocktails, use top-shelf distilled spirits, fresh mixers, and clean ice to create the best-tasting drinks.

  • 07 of 30

    Chartreuse Martini

    Chartreuse Martini

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    The green Chartreuse in this martini adds a subtle touch of sweetened herbs that pairs wonderfully with the botanicals found in gin and dry vermouth. It also makes this a fabulous dinner drink. Few Chartreuse cocktails offer as pure a taste of the green herbal liqueur as the Chartreuse martini. The recipe is straightforward, and all you really need to do is add green Chartreuse to the classic gin martini.

  • 08 of 30

    Saketini Recipe

    Saketini sake martini

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Vermouth is the typical modifier in martinis, but it's not the only option. In the saketini, it's replaced with sake, and the drink can be made with either gin or vodka. With the variety of gin, vodka, and sake styles available, this cocktail offers endless pairing opportunities. Each combination will have a subtle uniqueness, and most are best with a cucumber garnish.

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  • 09 of 30

    Lemon Drop Martini

    Lemon Drop Martini

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

    The sweet-sour style is also found in a modern classic. The lemon drop martini was devised in the 1970s and is so popular that countless bottled versions are available. And yet, there's nothing quite like a freshly made lemon drop, and it's so easy. All you need is a top-shelf vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup; add the sugary rim if you like.

  • 10 of 30

    The Last Word

    The Last Word Cocktail Recipe

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

    The Last Word recipe is fairly easy, pouring equals parts of its four ingredients. The gin's botanicals are accented with the herbal array of Green Chartreuse and the dry, semi-bitter cherry of maraschino liqueur. The lime simply brings it all together with a tinge of tartness.

  • 11 of 30


    Cosmopolitan Cocktail in glasses

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    When transitioning from dry to fruity martinis, one cocktail reigns supreme. The cosmopolitan is an icon of the modern martini bar, mixing vodka (often citrus) and Cointreau with lime and cranberry juices. While it has a reputation for being sweet, if you back off the cranberry a bit, it's actually pleasantly dry.

  • 12 of 30


    Classic Martinez Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    According to cocktail history, the Martinez was most likely created before the martini. First printed in the 1887 edition of "The Bon Vivant's Companion: Or How to Mix Drinks" by "Professor" Jerry Thomas, this is a very old drink recipe. It has a gin base but is slightly sweeter than the martini, thanks to the combination of sweet vermouth and maraschino liqueur. Add aromatic bitters and a lemon twist, and you're ready to enjoy this enduring tipple.

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  • 13 of 30


    Classic Manhattan cocktail recipe

    ​The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Whiskey's answer to the martini, the Manhattan is equally simple, satisfying, and versatile (with nearly as many variations created over the years). Rather than dry vermouth, this recipe prefers sweet vermouth. You can make it with any style of whiskey you like. Rye whiskey is the classic choice, while Canadian and bourbon whiskeys were more common during the mid-20th century.

    Only Fresh Vermouth

    Vermouth is a key ingredient in many martinis. The fortified wines are essential for any well-stocked bar, though it doesn't have the shelf life of the liquors that surround it. Once open, it's best to store vermouth in the fridge and use it within three months. If you don't pour it often, write a "best by" date on the label so you avoid stale vermouth.

  • 14 of 30

    Apple Martini

    Green apple martini cocktails on a white marble counter

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Apple martinis come in many varieties and colors. You can have a bright green vodka apple martini, a drier appletini that skips the schnapps, or one that's kissed with butterscotch or spiced with cider. The apple martini, also known as an appletini, is a sweet and delicious cocktail with a vodka base.

  • 15 of 30

    Espresso Martini

    Espresso Martini

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    It should be no surprise that the coffee house taste eventually made its way into the bar. Both types of establishments specialize in crafting great drinks, and the espresso martini is just one result of this cross-beverage affair. To ensure it's not one-dimensional, this vodka martini tosses mocha touch into the recipe, pairing crème de cacao with vodka, coffee liqueur, and chilled espresso.

  • 16 of 30

    Chocolate Martini

    Easy Chocolate Martini in a glass

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    How many ways can you make a chocolate martini? There are simply too many to count. Some are creamy and indulgent, a few add a hint of citrus or spice, and some pair chocolate with mint or coffee. This chocolate martini recipe keeps it simple with vodka and crème de cacao. The liqueur is sweet—not creamy—and the drink is perfect for any occasion.

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  • 17 of 30

    Sugar Cookie Martini

    Sugar Cookie Martini

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Sweet, delicious, and far quicker to make than actual cookies, the sugar cookie martini is sure to become a new favorite. It's the perfect dessert cocktail for the holidays and other celebrations, but it's also easy enough to enjoy on a weeknight when you have an insatiable sweet tooth.

    The recipe requires three common bar ingredients, so you likely won't have to run out for anything special. While it's not exactly like a sugar cookie, the flavor combination of vanilla vodka, amaretto, and Irish cream comes about as close as you can get. 

  • 18 of 30

    Chocolate Orange Martini

    Chocolate and Orange Martini in martini glasses, garnished with orange slices

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    The combination of chocolate and orange is a favorite in cocktails and there are a number of drinks that highlight the delightful duo. This chocolate and orange martini is one of them and it's a very fun vodka martini to mix up. The chocolate rim really makes this drink feel special.

  • 19 of 30

    Twentieth Century Cocktail

    Twentieth Century Cocktail in a glass

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    While you may not think that gin, chocolate, and lemon work well together, this recipe offers a pleasant surprise. The mix of gin and crème de cacao is amazing and, as Gary Regan points out in "Joy of Mixology," the lemon "acts as a foil to the sweet liqueur." Adding the elegance of Lillet Blanc brings it all together to create a timeless drink.

  • 20 of 30

    Banana Split Martini

    Banana Split Martini in a martini glass and garnished with fruit

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Banana split martinis are fun cocktails to mix up at home. The​ simple vodka martini is filled with the tempting duo of bananas and chocolate, but there's so much more you can do with this delicious dessert cocktail.

    Just like a real banana split, play with this recipe and add your favorite "toppings," from strawberries and pineapple to caramel and whipped cream. Even the drink's ingredients offer opportunities to customize the flavor. 

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  • 21 of 30

    Vanilla Martini

    Vanilla martini in a glass

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    Originally, this martini featured Navan, a naturally flavored vanilla liqueur that was utterly delicious. It has since been discontinued, much to the dismay of its many loyal fans, so a substitute is required. Tuaca, Bols Vanilla, and Galliano are all viable vanilla liqueurs and each will make a great vanilla martini.

  • 22 of 30

    Tequini Recipe

    Tequini (Tequila Martini)

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    The variety in tequila styles ensures that there's a martini for everyone's taste. On the drier side, the tequini uses dry vermouth, and an unaged blanco tequila is preferred. For more of a Manhattan-style cocktail, switch to an aged reposado or añejo tequila and sweet vermouth, and you'll have a Spanish Harlem.

  • 23 of 30

    Lavender Lemon Drop Martini

    Lavender Lemon Drop Martini

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    A great twist on the typical lemon drop martini, this version muddles lavender buds to release their wonderful essence into a simple syrup. The lavender adds a great floral essence to offset the bright citrus of the lemon.

  • 24 of 30

    Aviation Cocktail

    Aviation cocktail recipe

    ​The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack 

    To make the beautiful aviation cocktail, you will need to find a very specific liqueur. Créme de violette is the key ingredient, and this is one of the few cocktails that use it. The sweet, floral taste is an ideal accent to gin, maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice, and the liqueur gives the aviation its stunning purple color.

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  • 25 of 30

    Gimlet Recipe

    Classic Gimlet Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    A number of sour drinks are classified with martinis because they appear so often on modern cocktail menus alongside their drier counterparts. Among the "up" drinks that are a must for gin lovers is the gimlet. It simply combines gin and lime cordial—a sweetened lime juice—to create a snappy cocktail.

  • 26 of 30

    Kamikaze Cocktail Recipe

    Kamikaze Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

    If vodka is your preference, mix it with lime and triple sec to create the kamikaze cocktail. A staple on today's cocktail menus, it's said to have been invented sometime after World War II, though it really found fame in discos during the '70s. No matter its origins, it is a fun drink that's easy to mix up and best with fresh-squeezed lime juice.

  • 27 of 30

    Bee's Knees Recipe

    The Bee's Knees Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats

    Sweeping back to Prohibition and switching to lemon juice, this cocktail really is the bee's knees. Using honey syrup as a sweetener, it's thought that the sweet-sour drink was created to mask the aroma and taste of "bathtub" gin that was common during the speakeasy days. While there's no need to disguise today's array of fantastic gins, the recipe remains a hit.

  • 28 of 30

    French Martini Recipe

    French Martini

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Essential in the martini world, the French martini is a fruity delight. The uncomplicated mix of vodka, black raspberry liqueur, and pineapple juice has a sweet-tart tropical taste that is irresistible. It's also one of the cocktails that propelled the French liqueur, Chambord, to its legendary status in the bar.

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  • 29 of 30

    Eucalyptus Martini

    Eucalyptus Martini in a glass, garnished with a floating eucalyptus leaf

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    The eucalyptus martini is the creation of mixologist Humberto Marques, owner of the Curfew bar in Copenhagen, Denmark. Marques' focus is on fresh ingredients in cocktails, and he has some wonderful recipes and flavor pairing studies. This is one of his most fascinating creations, and it is truly a unique, innovative cocktail.

  • 30 of 30

    Massey Cocktail

    Massey Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Absolutely fascinating, the Massey cocktail is a newer creation filled with classic style. The recipe adds Irish whiskey to the combination of gin and sweet vermouth, though things get really interesting when you add Green Chartreuse and Campari to the mix. It is a wonderful dinner drink and an exciting opportunity to do something unusual with Irish whiskey.