License to Pour: A Vodka Martini Fit for a Spy

You've got a license to pour. The assignment? A classic vodka martini.

Updated January 21, 2024
Crisp Vodka Martini Cocktail

Shaken or stirred, a vodka martini is one of the most recognizable cocktails in the world. This debonair drink immediately evokes hints of intrigue and adventure wrapped up in a delicate package. But unlike James Bond, you don't have to put your life on the line to have a sip of this classy cocktail. 

How to Make a Vodka Martini

Martinis are one of the easiest cocktails for amateur mixologists to make because you only need to combine and stir a handful of ingredients. Whether you're just a James Bond fan and want the whole experience or you wish to broaden your cocktail repertoire, this smooth vodka martini recipe will blow you away. 


  • 2½ ounces vodka
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Skewered olives for garnish


  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, vodka, and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with skewered olives.
Quick Tip

Flip your drink into a dirty martini by adding ½ ounce of olive brine. 

Related: How to Make the Perfect Marini

4 Variations and Substitutions to Try 

The vodka martini is practically perfect on its own, but there are still a few ways you can dress it up. 

  • Add a dash or two of orange bitters.
  • Experiment with the vodka and dry vermouth proportions, increasing and decreasing the amounts while maintaining a 3-ounce total pour.
  • Use different vodka brands to find the one that's best for you. Distilling processes can change the profile and taste, ultimately altering the martini's overall profile.
  • Vary the base flavors by using infused vodkas.

Dress Up Your Vodka Martini With These Garnishes 

While it's hard to improve on perfection, the vodka martini is always ready for a makeover. Shake things up with one of these fun garnishes. 

  • Instead of regular olives, consider blue cheese-stuffed olives.
  • For a slight tart citrus note, use a lemon peel or wheel.
  • If you want a more refreshing citrus note, consider an orange peel or wheel.
  • A dehydrated citrus wheel, like a lemon, orange, or lime adds a fashionable touch.
  • Transform it into a gibson by adding a cocktail onion. 

Shaken, Stirred, Gone

While modern cocktail-making loves the flashy stuff, you can't go wrong with the basics. Master the perfect vodka martini and you've got a trick up your sleeve that'll impress just about anyone who walks through the door. 

License to Pour: A Vodka Martini Fit for a Spy