How to Make a Vodka Martini

This is a cocktail you'll savor, even if you tend to steer clear of vodka.


  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth


  1. Stir the ingredients well with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a lemon twist (or an olive).

Truth be told, we find the vodka martini much improved by a dash or two of orange bitters. Up to you.

If you live a life around alcohol, you'll come across your fair share of Martini purists. Gin, of the London dry persuasion. A whisper of dry vermouth. Stirred, never shaken. Three olives, no more and no fewer. Cold enough to frostbite your frontal lobe.

Vodka Martini drinkers play it fast and loose with the rules in comparison. Most want zero vermouth, all vodka. And many shake instead of stir, churning flecks of ice through the cocktail that cut through the antiseptic burn of the liquor but also overdilute the drink. If this is how you've always had your vodka martini before your New York strip, we're not here to change what's been working for you. But if you want something with a bit more depth, or you're a martini drinker that is vodka-curious, try it this way.

A little vermouth can go a long way. Don't be scared of it. And in our book, a splice of lemon does more for the cocktail than olives—munch on those on the side. We'd even go so far as to throw a couple dashes of orange bitters in the mix. Most important: stir your vodka martinis to keep them from getting too watery. You want a flavorful drink with a little bite, don't you?

A Little Background

A vodka Martini wasn't always called a vodka Martini. It used to go by the name "the Kangaroo." How fun. Shame, really, that it never caught on. After a detour into "Vodkatini" territory, the name landed where it is today. Why wasn't it called a vodka Martini in the first place? Because when Americans started drinking Martinis, gin was king and vodka hadn't crossed over from Russia. But eventually, in the 1950s, vodka grew into its own with American drinkers. And then overtook American drinkers. It was so accommodating—went with everything on the bar cart, tasted like next to nothing. So the vodka version dug its heels in until it was considered a Martini in its own right.


If You Like This, Try These

If you haven't sworn a blood oath to vodka, then next up ought to be the Classic Gin Martini. Even a Dirty Martini, briny with olive juice. Then there's the Vesper, James Bond's peculiar take on the cocktail, with both vodka and gin as well as Lillet. But if it's vodka and only vodka for you, then let us point you toward the bottles we like best for drinking straight and very, very cold.

FromEsquire US

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