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When James Bond utters the words “Martini, shaken note stirred”, how many of us know exactly what he’s ordering and why?

What’s the difference in taste between shaken and stirred martinis? And what even is a Martini?

A Brief History of Martinis

Martinis date back to the 1870s, when Occidental Hotel bartender Jerry Thomas created the cocktail in Martinez, California.

Apparently he created it especially for a miner who had found gold and wanted to celebrate. Unfortunately the hotel was out of Champagne, so Thomas created the Martini using Gin.

Gin or Vodka?

Although it is widely accepted that the first Martini was made with Gin, it is often popular with Vodka.

The difference is really in the flavour profiles of both drinks.

If you’re looking for something simple and easy going, then Vodka is probably the way forward. Gin will bring in a more complex flavour profile, with all the different botanical flavours coming in.

Dry or Wet?

This is a pretty simple one. A dry Martini has less vermouth than a wet Martini.

A Martini is typically made with a ratio of 1:5 Vermouth to Gin, but a wet Martini will have more than one part Vermouth.

Shaken or Stirred?

Again, there’s a simple explanation for this one. Do you want your Martini shaken with ice or stirred with ice?

Shaken will cool it down faster since there is a lot more and faster contact between the drink and the ice, whereas a stirred Martini will interact slower with the ice.

More dilution happens with shaken Martinis, but it really depends on how you like your drinks.


Finally we have the question of the Dirty Martini, or in other words, do you want to add olive juice?

It is also typically garnished with an olive, whereas other Martinis are likely to be garnished with peel.

So if you really like your olives, a Dirty Martini is definitely the way forward for you.

Other Types

There are also different types of Martinis that include Espresso and chocolate. There is even one called a Gibson, where the only change is that it is garnished with a cocktail onion.

Martini Experts

So now that you’re a Martini expert, you’ll know exactly what to say when you order one at the bar, without the risk of sounding like someone who’s watched too much James Bond.