Martini with a Twist Recipe

If there’s any cocktail to master, it’s the Martini With a Twist. So we’re showing you how to properly make the classic iconic cocktail…

vodka martini - white cocktail drink

The martini may only require a few ingredients.

But don’t be fooled by its simplicity because one of the greatest things about a martini is that it is highly customizable.

From choosing to make it with vodka or gin, to the choice of vermouth, and the optional bitters and garnishes that can be added to amp up the aromas and flavors, you can get different variations on the same cocktail. 

Knowing your ingredients and the right technique will get you the perfect martini every time!

best vodka for martini - angled shot of martini drink

What is a Martini With a Twist?

Its name, Martini With a Twist is literally what the cocktail is. It’s a martini garnished with a lemon (or citrus) peel twist. 

The classic martini consists only of two main ingredients: vodka or gin and vermouth. And typically optional ingredients like bitters and olives or citrus peels are used for garnish.

This twist can be lime, orange, or the classic choice, a lemon peel.

how do you make a martini - a close up shot of the lemon garnish

Vodka or Gin for the Perfect Martini?

The most classic cocktail experts will always choose gin since it was how it was originally made.

But even from time to time, James Bond opted for vodka as the liquor of choice for his martinis.

Gin martinis usually showcase a wider array of aromas and flavors while vodka-based martinis boast a smoother cleaner taste that can accentuate the aromatic details of the vermouth.

Whether you choose vodka or gin, both are good options and all based on preference.

If you don’t know which one to choose, our advice is to try both so you can properly decide!

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a cocktail that brings the perfect balance between sweet and sour, with a touch of citrus from limes and minty freshness, this Simple Martini Royale Cocktail Recipe may be the best choice for you.

vodka martini recipes - pouring in a liquor in a jigger and cocktail shaker

Should you Shake or Stir the Martini?

007 may have always ordered his martinis “shaken, not stirred”. But both methods are correct.

The purpose of shaking or stirring your cocktail is to chill, mix and dilute the drink.

If making a gin martini, we recommend stirring the cocktail instead of shaking it. Shaking can “bruise” the botanics of the gin, which are very subtle and delicate. And thus result in a bland cocktail.

However, vodka martinis don’t have this problem. So it’s up to you whether you want to stir or shake your vodka martini. 

Cocktails that call for juices, fruit purees, egg whites, etc. need to be strongly mixed and blended.

But since the classic martini only integrates spirits, you don’t need to be extra strong when it comes to mixing the different liquids.

If you decide to stir the cocktail, make sure to do it properly for a minute, so it can be properly chilled.

James Bond probably asked for “shaken and not stirred” to get a very chilled martini that’s a bit watered down.

Because keep in mind, that a martini is an all-spirit cocktail. So a splash of very chilled water from the ice cubes won’t kill the final cocktail. It actually makes it more palatable. 

what is martini - a single serving of the martini cocktail

What is a Dirty, Dry, or Wet Martini?

A dirty martini is made using olive brine as one of its ingredients (as well as an olive or two as garnish). Therefore, since the brine isn’t clear, the final cocktail results in a foggy “dirty” appearance.

Olive brine adds a nice salty touch. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check our Pickle Martini for the ultimate “dirty martini”.

A dry martini on the other hand is a martini with less vermouth. It’s only one part vermouth and 3-6 parts gin or vodka (depending on how strong and long you want your martini).

You can also make it “extra dry” with only a splash of vermouth.

On the other hand, a wet martini consists of a higher amount of vermouth. So the ratio is 1-1 (equal parts vermouth and gin or vodka).

This traditional dirty chai latte for a perfectly creepy Halloween cocktail is another dirty cocktail that you can’t go too wrong with its deliciousness!

whats in a martini - lemon with liquor at the back

What Ingredients Go Into the Martini With a Twist?

Gin or Vodka — The main liquor. (Our choice for today was vodka as seen in the photos.)

Vermouth — Always choose white dry vermouth. (We used a Martini Extra Dry.)

Orange bitters — A delicious and fragrant variation of cocktail bitters made from orange peels, sugars, and spices like coriander, anise, and cardamom.

Orange bitters can be omitted if you don’t have any on hand. But if you do, a dash of orange bitters always elevates a martini.

how to make a martini - lemon and a cocktail shaker

Useful Equipment to Make the Martini With a Twist

Martini glass — The iconic V-shaped glass. If you don’t have the classic martini glasses, serve in a rock or old-fashioned glass. 

Cocktail shaker —  To mix all the ingredients, whether you shake or stir your martini. 

Cocktail jigger —  To measure the amount of each liquid.

Spoon — For the stirred version. Ideal for making a gin martini.

Optional: Lemon zester —  To create the lemon twist for garnish if you want a thin strip look.

Optional: Knife — To create a bigger lemon peel twist look.

Cocktail strainer — To get the cleanest, smoothest martini.

straight up martini - single martini cocktail

For more easy martini recipes, check out a few of our favorites from the archives —

best vodka for martini - angled shot of martini drink

Martini With a Twist Cocktail Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes
The Martini With a Twist, a refreshing and aromatic iconic cocktail you want to learn how to make properly.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Cocktails


  • Martini glass
  • Cocktail jigger
  • Cocktail spoon for the stirred version
  • Lemon zester optional if you want thin lemon peels
  • Knife
  • Cocktail strainer


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 dash orange bitters
  • Fresh lemon peel for garnish
  • Ice


Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 1
Calories: 163kcal


  • For best results and because martinis are never served with ice, chill your martini glass in advance, preferably for 15-20 minutes at least beforehand. 
  • Only use freshly cut lemon peels since you want the fresh essential oils and aromas from the lemon.


  • In the cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, dry vermouth, and orange bitters.
  • Stir with a cocktail spoon for around 60 seconds. Or shake for 30 seconds.
  • Cut the lemon peel twist using the lemon zester to achieve the thin twist look or using the knife for a thicker twist look
  • Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass.
  • Squeeze the lemon peel on top of the glass to release the essential oils and aromas.
  • Add the peel to the brim of your glass as a garnish.

For a thick lemon peel twist:

  • Mark an oval shape into the lemon peel with a knife.
  • Cut the lemon peel.
  • Make a thin slit in the center of the peel diagonally.
  • Roll the twist into the cocktail spoon to achieve a more “twist” look.
KEYWORD: martini with a twist

Don’t forget to share your martini with a twist cocktail with us on Instagram using the hashtag #sugarandclothloves. We always love seeing all of your creations! Looking for more quick and delicious recipes? You can find them all right here with a few desserts to go along with them.

Please note that we may earn a commission for some of the above affiliate links. However, products featured are independently selected and personally well-loved by us!

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  1. I made these over the weekend for a few girlfriends and they were a huge hit! I just sent the recipe to another friend who is having a get together this weekend!5 stars

    1. Aww. Thanks, Fran! The best compliment to hear is when our recipe gets forwarded and sent to their friends!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing martini with twist recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!5 stars