Vodka Martini Recipe

The Vodka Martini is so much more than James Bond's favourite tipple.
The vodka martini recipe in a coupe glass







Who invented the Vodka Martini recipe?

Like many essential cocktail recipes the origins of the Vodka Martini recipe are shrouded in mystery.

What we do know is that it was invented around the end of the 19th century, with a “Dry Martini” listed in the 1904 book “American Bar”.

One popular theory is that the popularity of the vermouth brand Martini helped the name stick (that’s the view of bar legend Jim Meehan anyhow).

After it featured as the drink of choice in the first James Bond novel Dr. No the Vodka Martini recipe shot to superstardom.

As with many drinks throughout cocktail history, the Vodka Martini has been adapted over time.

In the 1970s it was reworked, switching the vermouth for sherry in the Flame of Love recipe.

Throughout the 80s and 90s punchy flavours were in and bartenders adapted the Martini again, leading to the Espresso Martini recipe and drinks like the Cosmopolitan.

Not strictly “Martinis” in the classic sense, these nonetheless delicious cocktails were served in a Martini glass and so took on the name.


How to make the Vodka Martini recipe

Vodka Martini Ingredients

Note – this recipe is for our preferred take: the wet martini. For a dry or perfect Vodka Martini recipe check out our tips below.

75ml Vodka

15ml Dry Vermouth

2 dashes aromatic bitters


In a mixing glass add your vodka and dry vermouth along with cubed ice.

Stir gently for a minimum of 30 seconds.

In a chilled martini glass spray two dashes of aromatic bitters.

Fine strain your stirred cocktail into the Martini glass.

Garnish with a twist of lemon or a single olive placed into the glass.

Everything you always wanted to know about the Vodka Martini recipe

Should you shake or stir a Vodka Martini?

Yeah we know, we know, the line is “shaken not stirred.” We’ve all seen a Bond film.

However, the classic recipe calls for stirring.

This is due to bartender rule of when to shake or stir cocktails: if your drink is an alcohol-only cocktail you should stir it.

Stirring chills the drink without over-diluting and means the silky texture of the alcohol will be undisturbed.

Any cocktails with non-alcoholic ingredients like juices, creams or fruit should be shaken so that the ingredients properly combine.

Rules are meant to be broken of course, so if you want to shake your Martini then go for it!

We always recommend trying the a version of the Vodka Martini recipe where the mix has been shaken, and one stirred so you can see the difference in flavour.

Are Vodka Martinis strong?

With over a double measure of vodka and a helping of vermouth, the Vodka Martini recipe can pack a punch.

It can seem more strong if you’re used to fruits and cocktail syrups softening the flavour of the alcohol.

Our tip: ensure you’re using one of the best vodka for cocktails, as a budget brand will often result in a poorly balanced drink.

What is the difference between a Dry or Wet Vodka Martini?

How “wet” a Martini is depends on how much vermouth is in the drink.

A dry martini will have the barest of traces of dry vermouth, with some bars going as far to simply splash the vermouth on the glass and then pour it away.

A wet martini, like our recipe above, includes more vermouth, usually between 10-15ml.

The vermouth provides a herbal, botanical flavour which complements the vodka.

A perfect Martini uses an equal mix of dry and sweet vermouth.

How many types of Martini are there?

Strictly speaking there are only two types of Martini: gin or vodka.

If you want to get a little more detailed, you could then split these into three types: wet, dry, or perfect. As we covered above the only difference is the amount of vermouth included.

At a pinch, we’d also allow the Dirty Martini in there as well, as it’s a variation of the classic Gin Martini.

That would give us seven types of Martini.

So why then do we see lists of easy Martini recipes with hundreds of Vodka Martini recipes listed?

Well, the word “Martini” has been adapted to mean any cocktail served in a Martini glass.

That’s why you’ll see drinks like the Breakfast Martini, or the ever popular Espresso Martini taking the Martini name, even though they don’t bear any resemblance to the classic Vodka Martini recipe.

Most don’t even contain Martini vermouth!

Glassware styles also change over time, so it’s now common to see the Martini served in a Coupe glass. They just look so elegant, we’ll allow it.

Where can I get the best Vodka Martini?

Any good cocktail bar will be able to mix you up a classic Vodka Martini.

Check out our city guides to the best bars in London, Oxford, Cheltenham, the CotswoldsManchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

However, with our tips above you could easily grab a cocktail making kit and mix up your own.

What should I drink next?

Fans of the smooth alcohol-only mix in the Vodka Martini recipe will enjoy the Negroni recipe.

Or to embrace your inner James Bond, try the Vesper Martini recipe.

Finally, check out more cocktail recipes with vodka for inspiration.