Vodka Martini

Vodka martini in a glass with a twist of lemon

The Spruce

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
148 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 148
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*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.)

The vodka martini is a fantastic and easy cocktail to mix up. Not only is it the perfect way to show off a premium vodka, but it's also the foundation for every other vodka martini. This is one of the super drinks of the bar and a cocktail that home bar enthusiasts should try and master.

The vodka martini's popularity rivals that of the classic gin martini, which inspired it. It is the drink of choice for many who want a clean, dry martini without the aromatic botanicals of gin. Just like its predecessor, it can—and should—be adapted to suit your personal taste.

Originally called the kangaroo, the vodka martini was among the many cocktails that U.S. bartenders created when vodka first found a larger American market in the 1950s. Like many of the first vodka cocktails, it was simply a recreation of a gin cocktail, but with a vodka base.

Vodka's growing popularity coincided with drinkers' changing tastes. The famous "three-martini lunch" was a little less noticeable with vodka than an aromatic gin. Drinks such as the Moscow mule fueled vodka's surge and helped the martini rise to greatness. These days in restaurants in bars, you almost always have to distinguish whether you want gin or vodka in your martini.

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Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vodka martini ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    Pouring the ingredients into the shaker
    The Spruce
  3. Shake well or stir for at least 30 seconds.

    Shake the ingredients together for a vodka martini
    The Spruce
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass
    The Spruce
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist or olives. Serve and enjoy!

    Vodka martini garnished with a twist of lemon
    The Spruce 

Why Shouldn't You Shake a Martini?

James Bond famously ordered his martinis shaken, not stirred, but it's really a matter of preference. This recipe provisions for those who want to shake vs those who want to stir their cocktails. Why the distinction? Generally speaking, shake cocktails whose ingredients need integration: think citrus juices or a sour mix, for example. The general rule of thumb is that spirit-only cocktails should be stirred, but many like their vodka martini shaken. It is a case of personal preference for dilution and/or taste.

What Is a Dry Vodka Martini?

Over the years, the vodka martini began to lose its dry vermouth. Often, it didn't even make it into the glass—despite the contradiction, it's called a "dry vodka martini."

The recipe's ratio is in the 3:1 vodka-vermouth range, which gives the drink some depth. Of course, you can adjust this to your taste; many bartenders mix it at 5:1 (2 1/2 ounces vodka and 1/2 ounce vermouth). Keep at least a hint of vermouth, which makes it "extra dry;" otherwise, it's simply vodka straight up. If the taste is not your favorite, try rinsing the glass with it, then dump out the excess, which essentially seasons the glass with the fortified wine. You may find it very enjoyable.

Tips

  • The vodka you choose will either make or break this cocktail because vodka is the star; there's nothing to disguise a bad one. Pour the best vodka you have in the bar and use this recipe to test out new premium brands.
  • Make sure your vermouth is fresh. The fortified wine has a limited shelf life of just three months once the bottle is open. Write the open date on the bottle and replace it regularly to ensure the best vodka martini.
  • Orange or aromatic bitters are optional, but a nice addition. There are many fascinating new bitters on the market—try lavender, lemon, or peach. Even celery can make an interesting martini.
  • The typical garnish is either a lemon twist or a few olives. Both add flavor to the otherwise transparent cocktail, so it's often best to include one or the other.
  • There is an old bar superstition that using an even number of olives is bad luck. Plus, one large or three small olives is more visually pleasing than two.

How Strong Is the Vodka Martini?

The vodka martini follows suit with the gin martini, Manhattan, and other liquor-vermouth cocktails: They're not light drinks! With an 80-proof vodka and the average vermouth in this recipe's ratio, it mixes up to about 28 percent ABV (56 proof). To put that into perspective, two martinis are stronger than a straight shot of vodka. Sip slowly and know your personal limit.