7 Delicious Martini Variations

World's Best Martini Variations

Perhaps the most controversial of all cocktail suffixes (people do love to be dramatic when it comes to their drinks) is the ever-present “-tini.” The Appletini, the Choco-tini, the Lychee-tini and their ilk have long been the favorites of bachelorette parties and the bane of cocktail purists everywhere. We try not to be too judgmental, but we do have to concede that the aficionados have a point in this case: the only thing any of those Martini variations have in common with their namesake is that they’re served in the same kind of glass.

Before anyone gets too defensive, let’s make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with ordering a Cosmopolitan or a Raspberry Martini, and we’ve been known to enjoy the hell out of them from time to time. But since we strive for accuracy (and because we’re enormous, incorrigible history geeks), this guide to Martini variations is going to stick to the classics that can trace their lineage directly back to the original Martini recipe. Perfect for spicing up your next James Bond theme party, baby shower, or poker night, these seven cocktail recipes are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

  • Gin, Dry Vermouth, Olive brine, Olive
    The Dirty Martini is a classic Martini variation that's extremely simple: all you need to do is add a barspoon or two of olive brine from the jar for a salty, savory kick. It's one of the few cocktails that's truly salty (although the extent of that saltiness depends entirely on your taste), so it's a favorite among folks who aren't into sweet, citrusy drink…
  • Gin, Vermouth, Cocktail onion
    The Gibson is a variation of the Martini that is spirit-forward with a salty and savory flavor.
  • Gin, Vodka, Lillet
    The Vesper is a spirit-forward cocktail that should be served neat. This is the first martini James Bond ordered in Casino Royale.
  • Vodka, Dry Vermouth, Olive
    The Vodka Martini is, as the name would imply, simply a variation of the classic Dry Martini that uses vodka instead of gin. It makes for a very different drink, in which the aromas from the vermouth are more pronounced relative to those of the spirit. And, as a bonus, it lets you order a sexy-looking Martini even if you can't stand the thought of drinking g…
  • Gin, dry vermouth, St. Germain
    The Elderflower Martini is a slightly sweeter, flowery take on the classic Dry Martini that uses St. Germain elderflower liqueur to complement the floral notes of a good gin. You might even want to try this recipe with an Old Tom gin, as it's a little sweeter and less powerful on the juniper.
  • gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters
    The Martinez is a predecessor of the Martini, likely invented in the Bay Area city of Martinez, California in the mid-1800s. It utilizes a classic combination of gin, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and adds a bit of a twist with some maraschino liqueur. While Martini drinkers may scoff at the use of sweet vermouth instead of dry, it's actually much closer to t…
  • gin, dry vermouth
    The Martini is a timeless classic, and probably the most recognizable gin cocktail of all time. It can be made many different ways with either vodka or gin, but this recipe is a classic version that uses a bit more dry vermouth than many modern recipes (like the Dry Martini). James Bond, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and other fictional and histor…
  • Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters
    From the eponymous Turf Club in Manhattan, circa 1884, this cocktail is an early predecessor of the Martini. Originally made with equal parts Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth, the Turf Club also works well with juniper-heavy gins.

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