Everything you need to know about the different types of Martinis

Nouvelle Glass Personalised Florence Martini Glass

Whether you're a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond (movie or book) or not, you will have heard the quote "Shaken Not Stirred" in your bar adventures, trivia nights or silly banter with friends.   Although this quote is unmistakably famous, a Martini purist would be "shaking" their heads.  This English secret agent isn't as sophisticated as you may think.  Traditional martinis are actually stirred, not shaken!  So like with all our guides, we're keeping it simple once again.

Classic gin martini in florence glass

What is a Martini?

A Classic Martini aka Gin Martini aka Traditional Martini is quite simply:

  1. Made from Dry Gin with Dry Vermouth
  2. Traditionally stirred with ice
  3. Strained in Martini glass
  4. Garnished with unstuffed Spanish olive


Order a Martini Like a Boss (with a Dirty Twist)

So now you know what a Classic Martini is.  But don't know what any of the other types of Martini are?  If we take a Classic Martini and swap things for other things, you will then get the following:

  • Swap the olive garnish with a cocktail onion = Gibson Martini
  • Swap the gin for vodka = Vodka Martini
  • Swap the olive garnish with a twist of lemon peel (lemon twist)  = With a Twist
  • Add splash of olive brine (aka olive juice) = Dirty Martini
  • No Dry Vermouth = Naked Martini
  • Less Dry Vermouth = Dry Martini
  • More Dry Vermouth = Wet Martini
  • Replace Dry Vermouth with Lillet Blanc = Vesper Martini
  • Use 50% Dry Vermouth and 50% Sweet Vermouth = Perfect Martini

What is your personal preference when it comes to Martinis?

Martini glass with olives


Interesting Martini Facts

"Shaken Not Stirred"

So why is this famous movie quote wrong?  Why shouldn't you shake a martini? Stirring results in a perfectly blended and velvety Martini.  Shaking a cocktail involves putting the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.


Shaking your Martini leads to over-mixing, over-dilution and small broken ice shards mixing into the delicate masterpiece.


Espresso Martinis

If you're a coffee drinker, you maybe wondering why the Espresso Martini is not on the list above.

Ask most bartenders to make you an Espresso Martini, and they'll do it with a smile.  But underneath, they're probably cringing.  It could be that Espresso Martinis aren't actually Martinis.  It doesn't have Gin nor Vermouth, the two classic ingredients to a Martini.  It is just Vodka, Espresso, Coffee Liqueur and depending where you order, sugar syrup. 

They're probably cringing because they've been burned before!  Espresso is hot, so it means you have to shake it more to cool it down and sometimes it causes the shakers to pop open accidentally, causing a mess.

Or they It could just be judging you because it is just a fad and people order them because it is popular, rather than actually liking the taste of them.

So why call it a Martini?  A lot of the new cocktails in the late nineties were served in a Martini glass, so they just named them so (remember the Chocolate martini?).


The Martini Glass

There are many stories about where the Martini glass originated.  One of the most popular stories is from the US prohibition, where the glass design made it easier to dispose of the contents during a raid.  Depending on what you read, this is true or simply a myth.  This isn't a history blog, but one thing that we do know is that the Martini glass existed way before the Martini was ever a thing.

Before the Martini Glass came the cocktail glass, most likely during the 19th century (again many versions of this history!). The simple construction of the bowl and long stem, meant that cocktails would stay chilled for longer, preventing those hot human hands from holding onto the bowl and spoiling that liquid masterpiece.

Today, the Martini evolved into what it is today, slightly taller and wider than its predecessor.  But, to complicate it further some bartenders don't even serve Martinis in Martini glasses anymore!


World Martini Day

Yes!  There is a dedicated day to celebrated this exquisite classic cocktail.   It is celebrated on the third Saturday in June, every year.  This year it will be held on Saturday 18th July, 2022.   You can find out more about events around the world and how to get involved on the official site here: https://www.worldmartiniday.com/  Hashtag: #WorldMartiniDay


'Martini Variations'

As mentioned, there are many Martinis out there that simply borrow the name, disappointing many Martini Drinkers out there.  These are just a few of the ones we found, that you may (or may not) have heard of:

  • Mocha Martini
  • Savory Martini
  • Sunset Martini
  • Blood Orange Martini
  • French Martini
  • Pomegranate Martini
  • Cucumber Martini
  • Mexican Martini
  • Breakfast Martini
  • Key Lime Martini
  • Cranberry Martini
  • Passion Fruit Martini
Cocktail being poured into a martini glass


Share and win your own personalised Martini glass

We look forward to hearing your stories over a dirty Gin Martini! Once you’ve received your personalised beer glass we would love you to share your Nouvelle Glass experiences with us. Follow us and tag us on Tik Tok and Instagram @nouvelleglass #nouvelleglass and go into our monthly draw to WIN your own #personalisedglassware.