Five Different Takes on the Vodka Martini


Photo Credit: Vandal

The martini is a drink that hardly needs an introduction – it’s the official vice of James Bond, after all. Its drinkers signal to the world that they’re cultured, classy and maybe a little bit mysterious. For the uninitiated, a classic martini is made with gin and vermouth and garnished with an olive or lemon twist. Another variation uses vodka in place of gin, and drinkers can have the cocktail on the rocks or, as Mr. Bond would prefer it, “shaken, not stirred.”  Either way, be it through vigorous stirring or a good shake, the drink is intended to be so cold it almost hurts.

According to NPR, the martini has its origins in the 1800s, where it can be traced back to California’s Gold Rush. It’s said that a bartender grabbed whatever he had on hand to concoct a celebratory elixir for a miner who had just struck gold. He called it the Martinez, named after the town the bar was located in. Word spread, and the drink ended up in the Bartender’s Manual.

Another account places the martini’s origins in San Francisco, and yet another with a bartender in New York. Many also think the name comes from the Italian vermouth maker, Martini & Rossi, who started its marketing operations in 1863. Whatever the true version of events, the martini is here to stay. World Martini Day is Sunday, June 19, so JustLuxe uncovered five decadent takes on the classic recipe for you to enjoy at home or out with friends.

Photo Credit: Anthony Bohlinger

Spring Thyme

Created by Anthony Bohlinger (New York: Maison Premiere, Seamstress)

2 ounces Elit vodka

.75 ounce sage-infused Dolin dry vermouth

2 dashes of celery bitters

Prepare the vermouth: add 40 sage leaves and 6 thyme sprigs in bottle for 2 hours, then strain out. To prepare the drink, add all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a small sprig of thyme and sage attached to a mini clothespin. Express oils from a small piece of lemon over cocktail and discard.

Photo Credit: Anthony Bohlinger

Cloud 18

Created by Anthony Bohlinger (New York: Maison Premiere, Seamstress)

1.5 ounces Elit vodka

.5 ounce superior vermouth (blend of noilly prat and Dolin dry)

.25 ounce creme de violet

2 dashes lavender bitters

4 dashes Germain Robin absinthe blanche

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. In a martini chiller glass, place three pieces of culinary dry ice into the bowl section of the glass and add 2 ounces of warm water, and give it a quick stir. Top with the martini glass and pour in the cocktail from the mixing glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender and express a lemon zest over top.

Photo Credit: Belvedere

The Classic Belvedere

2 ounces Belvedere vodka

1.25 ounces Lillet blanc

Twist of pink grapefruit

Combine Belvedere and Lillet in mixing glass and stir over ice until very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a twist of pink grapefruit.

Photo Credit: Vandal

Golden Hour

Created by Edwin Medina (New York: Vandal)

2 ounces Elit vodka

1 ounces Contratto vermouth bianco

.25 ounces Luxardo maraschino liqueur

2 dashes of angostura bitters

2 dashes of orange bitters

Absinthe spray

Edible gold flake garnish

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass that has been sprayed with absinthe. Garnish with edible gold flake.

Edwin offers his inspiration: Bianco vermouth and vodka are a no brainer combination in my book. The addition of maraschino liqueur and bitters make it that much better.

Photo Credit: Sweetwater Social

Citrus Blossom

Created by Nola Woodall (New York: Sweetwater Social)

1 grapefruit peel garnish

1.5 ounces Elit vodka

1.5 ounces Dolin bianco vermouth

Stir all ingredients with ice and serve up in a martini glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

The bartenders from Sweetwater Social offer their inspiration: The Citrus Blossom is a more feminine style martini. It's made with a healthy amount of bianco vermouth to render the drink slightly lower proof. The Moscato d'Asti is intensely aromatic with floral and citrus blossom notes and it offers a mild effervesence.

Jackie Bryant Jackie is the Lifestyle Editor at Her freelance work has appeared at, Harper's Bazaar, The Infatuation, and Locale Magazine. Her favorite vices are peaty alcohol, rich textiles, far-flung hotels, and all food from any part of the world that can be found in a dumpling-like format. She can usually be found hanging out in her current homes of San ...(Read More)

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