How Do I Order My First Martini?

Old Fashioned Woman Drinking a MartiniIs there a more elegant drink than a martini? Whether it’s a rich socialite, a secret agent, or a powerful businessman, people with wealth, power, and class seem to prefer martinis. It’s no wonder so many people would like to drink them. It’s also no wonder that so many people are just a little intimidated by the idea of ordering a martini.

There’s just something about the look of a martini. Maybe it’s the elegant glass with the thin stem, or maybe it’s the olive, or maybe just the sound of the word, but when someone orders a martini, it instantly elevates the class of the room. To order your first one, you need to know were to order it, what type you want, and how you want it prepared.

Where should I order a martini?

While a martini is a wonderful drink, you’re probably not going to want to order one at the local redneck bar. Even if you’re proposing a toast to Hank Williams, you’re still going to get stared down by the John Deere cap-wearing regulars for ordering a “froufrou city drink.” The same goes for biker bars, although the beating you receive there will probably be more severe.

Because there’s mixing involved, martinis also probably aren’t going to be available at places like sporting events and barbecues. Even parties are not a sure place to find martinis, although higher-end parties will usually have them, especially if they have a full bar.

Probably the best place to order a martini is a classy bar or nightclub. Not only are they readily available there, but holding one immediately singles you out as someone with taste and class. Or it singles you out as a poser, but hopefully you know how to carry yourself so that you can at least fool people into thinking you have taste and class.

Martinis are highly acceptable in corporate America, which makes them a great drink to close a deal or celebrate an office victory. Remember though, that they are strong, so you don’t want to start pounding them down during work. Save them for the little get-together after the office closes.

What’s in a martini?

A martini is traditionally defined as a drink with either gin or vodka combined with dry vermouth. That seems like as good a place to start as any. While the gin or vodka is the heart of the drink, the vermouth is what makes it dry.

There are a number of other things that can be added to a martini, either for appearance or to affect the flavor. For example, a traditional gin martini might have gin, vermouth, ice, and a garnish of either an olive or a lemon rind. Different variations of martinis might also have different liquors, juices, or fruit slices added.

What types of martinis are there?

Martinis have come a long way since their old two ingredient definition. The two obvious types of martini are gin and vodka martinis. Gin martinis are by far the most popular, and if you order a martini, you will be getting gin unless you specify that you want vodka.

Whether you go with gin or vodka, there are several special variations you can have. By adding sour apple schnapps, apple juice, and a lemon wedge, you can have the “appletini” made famous by drunken, horny cougars on a famous television show. By adding peach nectar, peach schnapps, and a lemon rind you will create a Bellini martini. By adding Crème de Cacao, you can have a chocolate martini, and the list goes on.

One of the most popular modern martinis is the “cosmopolitan.” This new classic contains gin or vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, triple sec, Grand Marnier, and a lemon wedge.

What do I need to specify when I order a martini?

First, state the variety of martini you want and specify if you want vodka; or just say “martini” if you want gin and vermouth. Next, we come to the classic question—shaken or stirred? If you’re a guy, you’re going to want your first one shaken just so you can do your best James Bond voice.

The martini is one of those rare drinks where the garnish is kind of important. An olive will react with the gin and increase the strength of the drink while a lemon rind will add a bit of a similar taste without the added strength. Other fruit slices might add a specific touch of flavor to a particular variation of martini. To keep it simple and safe, you should probably ask for the lemon rind the first time.

Every sophisticated drinker should at least try a martini at some point to see if it might become their drink of choice. Just keep in mind the different types and garnishes and you’ll be fine, really. Just don’t ask for a straw and everyone will assume you know what you’re doing.