Shaken, Not Stirred: Get your Martini Right with Tips from Indian Mixologists

Whether you like it shaken or stirred, the gin and vermouth plus olives based cocktail, Martini, is a classic for the right reasons. So to celebrate World Martini Day, we bring you the tips straight from mixologists to make your Martini real good.

Srushti Pathak
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World Martini Day

"A medium dry vodka martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred," said James Bond and that became the catchphrase for this cocktail. A quintessentially American drink, the Martini is a classic for reasons. On the occasion of World Martini Day, we bring you everything you need to know about the Martini plus recipes from expert Indian mixologists. But before that, a brief lesson in the history of the cocktail.

The Contested Origins of the Martini

James Bond Martini

Many believe the Martini was invented in the 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco by bartender Jerry Thomas.

Thomas evolved a one-part sloe gin, two parts sweet vermouth, maraschino and a dash of bitters with a lemon concoction into a drink he called the Martinez, which he made for passengers departing on the ferry to the town of the same name. It was said to also be prepared for miners celebrating striking gold.

Others believe it was invented in 1911 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York by bartender Martini di Taggia, and served to billionaire John D. Rockefeller with equal parts London dry gin and dry vermouth. However, recipes for the drink were published as early as 1862, in Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders’ Guide.

Stronger versions of the martini include two parts gin, and even up to five parts gin, to one part vermouth, garnished with olive or lemon.

A “dry” martini has little to no vermouth at all – the focus being gin.

Expert Talk

Local Samosa spoke with Prinkesh Singh, Senior Head Mixologist at Kembara in Mumbai, Stanley Fernandes, Bar Manager at Kyma in Mumbai, Kuber Bhat, Head Bartender at The BlueBop Cafe in Mumbai and Aniket Aswale, Bar Manager at Malaka Spice. Here, they have answered all the questions about how the drink is made, what makes it special and some recipes for you to try right away!

Indian Mixologists
In Frame: Aniket Aswale, Stanley Fernandes and Prinkesh Singh

What’s in a Martini?

Mr. Fernandes shared,” A martini is a classic cocktail traditionally made with gin and dry vermouth, and often garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. It is known for its simplicity and elegance, typically served in a martini glass. There are various versions of the martini.”

Mr. Singh explained, “A martini is a classic cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. It is typically served in a martini glass. There are many variations, including the vodka martini, which substitutes vodka for gin, and the dry martini, which uses less vermouth. The preparation can also vary, with options such as shaken or stirred, depending on personal preference. The martini is known for its simplicity and elegance, making it a staple in cocktail culture.”

Types of Martinis

Mr. Singh shared, “There are many variations of martinis, each with distinct ingredients and preparation methods. Here are some of the most common types: 

  • Classic Martini: Made with gin and dry vermouth, garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. 

  • Dry Martini: Uses less vermouth than the classic martini, making it "drier" in taste. 

  • Wet Martini: Contains more vermouth than the classic martini, resulting in a "wetter" taste. 

  • Dirty Martini: Includes a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is garnished with an olive. 

  • Vodka Martini: Substitutes vodka for gin, popularised by James Bond's preference for it "shaken, not stirred." 

  • Gibson Martini: Similar to the classic martini but garnished with a cocktail onion instead of an olive or lemon twist. 

  • Vesper Martini: A combination of gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet (or a similar vermouth), named after the Bond character Vesper Lynd. 

  • Perfect Martini: Made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth along with gin or vodka. 

  • French Martini: Includes vodka, Chambord (raspberry liqueur), and pineapple juice. 

  • Espresso Martini: A modern variation made with vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and a touch of sugar syrup. 

  • Appletini: A sweet, fruity variation made with vodka and apple schnapps or apple juice. 

  • Chocolate Martini: Combines vodka with chocolate liqueur for a rich, dessert-like cocktail. 

The differences between these martinis lie in the base spirit (gin or vodka), the type and amount of vermouth, the additional ingredients (like olive brine for a dirty martini), and the garnish. Each variation offers a unique flavour profile and caters to different taste preferences.”

Mr. Aswale said, “There are different types of Martini like wet, dry, dirty Martini. The major difference between wet and dry Martini is that a dry Martini gives dryness because of more gin and less vermouth and as for the wet Martini, the ratio is 3:1. Also, a dirty Martini has to be stirred with muddled olives that give a tangy taste.”

Gibson Martini

Martini: Make it Right

Mr. Singh shared some insights, “Making a martini involves a few basic rules that ensure a well-balanced and enjoyable cocktail. Here are some key guidelines: 

  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: A good martini relies on the quality of its ingredients, particularly the gin or vodka and vermouth. Choose premium spirits for the best results. 

  • Chill Everything: Chill your martini glass in the freezer or by filling it with ice and water before you start. Use plenty of ice when mixing to ensure the cocktail is cold.

  • Correct Ratio: The classic ratio for a martini is about 3 parts gin (or vodka) to 1 part vermouth. Adjust the amount of vermouth to your taste for a drier or wetter martini. 

  • Mixing Method: Stirring and shaking are both acceptable methods, though traditionally, martinis are stirred to maintain clarity. Shaking aerates the drink, which some prefer, and is popularised by James Bond’s preference. 

  • Stir or Shake Properly: If stirring, use a bar spoon and stir gently for about 30 seconds. If shaking, shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds. This ensures proper chilling and dilution. 

  • Strain Into a Chilled Glass: After mixing, strain the cocktail into your chilled martini glass using a strainer to keep ice shards out. 

  • Garnish: A classic martini is garnished with either an olive or a lemon twist. For a dirty martini, use an olive and a bit of olive brine. A Gibson martini is garnished with a cocktail onion. 

  • Serve Immediately: A martini should be served immediately while it’s still cold.”

Mr. Bhat dished out some expert tips.

  • Chill Everything: Chill the glass, shaker, and ingredients for the best result.

  • Proportions Matter: Adjust the gin (or vodka) to vermouth ratio according to preference. Common ratios range from 2:1 to 6:1.

  • Stir or Shake: Stirring is traditional, but shaking (popularised by James Bond) dilutes and chills the drink faster, resulting in a slightly different texture and taste.

  • Strain Well: After stirring or shaking, strain the mixture into a chilled glass to avoid ice shards.

  • Garnish Appropriately: Use a lemon twist for a hint of citrus, an olive for a salty kick, or a cocktail onion for a Gibson.”


What makes a Good Martini

Mr. Singh shared, “A good martini should have a clean, crisp, and balanced flavour. The key characteristics include: 

  • Smoothness: The alcohol should be well-balanced, without any harsh edges. This is why high-quality spirits are essential. 

  • Crispness: The drink should be cold and refreshing, with a slight bite from the alcohol. 

  • Botanical Flavours: For gin martinis, the botanicals in the gin (like juniper, citrus, and herbs) should be prominent but not overpowering.

  • Subtle Vermouth: The vermouth should add a slight complexity and depth without dominating the drink. The amount of vermouth can vary according to preference, leading to a "dry" (less vermouth) or "wet" (more vermouth) martini. 

  • Garnish Influence: The garnish (olive, lemon twist, or cocktail onion) should impart a subtle flavour to the martini, enhancing the overall profile.”

“A good Martini should have a well-balanced taste with a crisp and clean flavour profile. The gin or vodka should be prominent but complemented by the vermouth, creating a smooth and nuanced drink. The garnish adds a finishing touch of flavour and aroma,” shared Mr. Bhat.

Order Like a Pro

Mr. Singh mentioned, “When ordering a martini, clear communication with the bartender is important to get the drink to your preference. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Base Spirit: Specify whether you want gin or vodka. Example: "I’d like a gin martini" or "I’d like a vodka martini." 

  • Vermouth Preference: Indicate your preferred amount of vermouth. "Dry" means less vermouth. "Wet" means more vermouth. "Perfect" means equal parts dry and sweet vermouth. 

  • Mixing Method: State if you prefer it stirred or shaken. Example: "Stirred, please" or "Shaken, not stirred." 

  • Garnish: Mention your choice of garnish. Example: "With an olive" or "With a lemon twist." 

  • Special Requests: Include any other preferences, such as the amount of ice, additional ingredients like olive brine (for a dirty martini), or specific brands of spirits.”

Kembara’s Signature: Hanami Recipe

Image Courtesy: Kembara


  • 45 ml Gin 
  • 5 ml Maraschino Luxardo 
  • 15 ml Dry Vermouth 
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters 
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish 
  • Glassware: Vintage Coupe glass 

This cocktail blends the floral and botanical notes of gin with the subtle sweetness of Maraschino Luxardo and the complexity of dry vermouth, all balanced by the slight bitterness of Peychaud's bitters. The maraschino cherry garnish adds a final touch of elegance and flavour.

Kyma’s Elderflower Martini Recipe

Elderflower Martini


  • 45 ml gin
  • 15ml elderflower liqueur
  • 5 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 5 honey tears drop
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist or edible flower for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake well until the mixture is chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or an edible flower. This martini combines the floral notes of elderflower with the classic elements of a martini, creating a refreshing and aromatic twist.

Kembara’s Dirty Martini Recipe

Dirty Martini


  • 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka 
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth 
  • 1/2 ounce olive brine (adjust to taste) 
  • Ice 
  • Olives for garnish 
  • Glassware: Martini glass 

The Dirty Martini is known for its savoury, briny flavour, which comes from the addition of olive brine. Adjust the amount of olive brine to your taste preference for a dirtier or cleaner martini. 

Kembara’s Pornstar Martini Recipe 

Pornstar Martini


  • 2 ounces vanilla vodka 
  • 1 ounce passion fruit liqueur 
  • 1 ounce passion fruit puree or juice 
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed) 
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup 
  • Ice 
  • 1/2 fresh passion fruit for garnish 
  • 1 shot of sparkling wine or champagne (served on the side) 
  • Glassware: Coupe glass or martini glass 

The Pornstar Martini is a popular, fruity cocktail that typically features vanilla vodka, passion fruit, and a side of sparkling wine or champagne. This cocktail is known for its vibrant, tropical flavours and the contrast between the sweet, tangy martini and the crisp, bubbly sparkling wine. 

The BlueBop Cafe’s Espresso Martini Recipe

 Espresso Martini


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
  • 1 oz Freshly Brewed Espresso (cooled)
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup (optional, depending on sweetness preference)
  • Coffee beans for garnish

Chill a martini glass by filling it with ice water. In a cocktail shaker, add vodka, coffee liqueur, freshly brewed espresso, and simple syrup (if using). Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds until well chilled and a frothy layer forms. Discard the ice water from the martini glass and strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with a few coffee beans on top.

The Espresso Martini is a modern classic, known for its rich, bold flavour and a perfect pick-me-up for any time of the day. Smooth and rich with a balanced combination of coffee and alcohol, the Espresso Martini is both refreshing and invigorating, with a slight sweetness from the liqueur and syrup.

The BlueBop Cafe’s Apple Martini Recipe

Apple Martini


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Sour Apple Schnapps (or apple liqueur)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Apple slice or cherry for garnish

Chill a martini glass by filling it with ice water. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, sour apple schnapps, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled. Discard the ice water from the martini glass. Strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with an apple slice or cherry. 

Tart and sweet with a refreshing apple flavour, the Appletini is vibrant and crisp.

indian mixologists Vodka Martini Dirty Martini Dry Martini Classic Martini World Martini Day Martini Gibson Martini Chocolate Martini Appletini Espresso Martini French Martini Perfect Martini Vesper Martini