Make a martini with either gin or vodka and dry vermouth. Martinis come in shaken and stirred varieties; most bartenders default to preparing a martini shaken unless otherwise specified.
To make a shaken martini, fill a shaker to the brim with ice cubes to ensure proper chilling. Add 3 1/2 to 4 ounces of either vodka or gin and just a splash of dry vermouth. Shake well for 30 to 60 seconds to create the perfect chilled combination before pouring into a martini glass. Place the glass in a freezer for at least 15 minutes prior to pouring the beverage to achieve optimal temperature.
Make a stirred martini by first pouring the splash of dry vermouth into a shaker filled with ice, stirring it briefly and then draining it into the chilled martini glass. Next, pour the vodka or gin into the shaker filled with ice and stir again for about 10 seconds. Strain it into the chilled glass with the vermouth, and it is ready to garnish.
There are many garnish options for martinis, including olives, capers, lemon peel and cherries. A martini garnished with a cocktail onion is known as a Gibson. Adding a few drops of absinthe to a martini makes it a Third Degree.