Shaken Not Stirred: Martinis 101

When ordering a martini, one projects an image of sophistication and class. However, with all the lingo surrounding the drink, it can be intimidating to order. To get exactly what you want, and look suave doing it, you have to know what you’re talking about. Here at Kapow, we want to help you seize that coolness. We put together a Martini 101 guide so you can sound like the martini pro you are.


What is a Martini:

A martini is a classic cocktail that is crafted with an unequal portion of dry vermouth and gin. The cocktail is served chilled, in the familiar conical stemmed glass. The martini can come garnished with either a green olive or a lemon twist.

The Vodka Martini:

Also known as a “Vodkatini” or a “Kangaroo”, the vodka martini, is made with vodka in lieu of gin.

The Dry Martini:

If you’re ordering a dry martini, that means you would like a little less vermouth in your cocktail. A very dry martini would be crafted with little to no vermouth.


The Wet Martini:

Contrary to a dry martini, a wet martini has a little more vermouth than the standard amount.

The Dirty Martini:

The oh-so-popular dirty martini is crafted with olive juice or olive brine to add a little kick to the cocktail.

The Martini with a Twist:

If olives aren’t your style, you might be asking for your martini with a twist, meaning you would like your martini with lemon instead of olives.


The Gibson:

If neither olive nor lemon strikes your fancy, you may order a Gibson. A Gibson uses two onions in lieu of olives.

Shaken vs. Stirred:

Ah, cue the Bond music. A shaken martini means that the cocktail is mixed in a cocktail shaker with ice. This is probably the more popular way to order a martini—the shaker adds a sense of pageantry. Purists however, believe that martinis are traditionally stirred in order to not bruise the gin, and yes, gin can bruise.


Martinis come in many varieties. Ordering “a martini” is as ambiguous as saying you’d like “a cocktail”. So the next time you find yourself ordering a martini, we hope this guide helps you exhuberate cool.



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