With my husband Robert’s unique Vodka Martini recipe, you can surprise and wow your friends and family at your next gathering. He’s become known far and wide for his super popular dry martinis, which call for a special ingredient and no vermouth. They are easy to make – and you can even whip up a batch ahead of time!

Table of Contents
  1. What is a Dry Vodka Martini?
  2. Vodka Martini Without Vermouth
  3. What is in a Vodka Martini?
  4. What is the Smoothest Vodka for a Lemon Twist Martini?
  5. How to Make a Martini
  6. How to Make a Lemon Twist
  7. Robert’s Tips on Making a Perfect Vodka Martini
  8. How to Serve a Dry Vodka Martini
  9. Dry Vodka Martini With a Twist FAQs
  10. Other Martini Recipes to Try
  11. More favorites from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen
  12. Dry Vodka Martini with a Twist

What is a Dry Vodka Martini?

Martinis are one of those classic cocktails that never seem to go out of style. The elegant stemmed glass, the pristine clarity of the vodka, and the pop of citrusy color from the lemon zest – all combine together into a deliciously cool, sophistated, iconic drink. Ever since the first time I tried one, vodka martinis have remained one of my favorite cocktails!

In fact, from the time we first started dating, my husband Robert and I have always enjoyed sharing a martini together. Even when we were traveling around the country in our Airstream trailer, Robert often whipped up a scrumptious batch of martinis for us campside. His favorite recipe is his Vodka Martini with a Twist.

Robert pouring martinis

Vodka Martini Without Vermouth

These days, we tend to enjoy Robert’s special vodka martinis at home. His secret? Rather than follow the classic vodka martini recipe, he swaps out the dry vermouth for Cointreau (an orange-flavored liqueur)! The result is a scrumptious martini cocktail that is cool, clean, velvety smooth, and not sweet but with very slight fruity overtones.

What is in a Vodka Martini?

The very first martini recipe reportedly called for orange bitters, so Robert’s recipe actually hearkens back to the classic martini’s beginnings! Robert’s famous recipe only includes two ingredients (just like a traditional martini):

  • 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) high quality vodka
  • Splash to 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cointreau, or other orange flavored liqueur (like Triple Sec). Can also use ginger liqueur.

He prefers to garnish his martinis with a lemon twist (see directions on how to make one below and in the recipe card), but also has olives on hand, in case a guest requests them.

“Robert’s tips are great – best martini I’ve ever made!”

Kevin

What is the Smoothest Vodka for a Lemon Twist Martini?

One of the keys to a great martini is to use top quality vodka. In general, we prefer Tito’s or a Colorado brand, Silver Tree. When we’re traveling the country in our Airstream trailer, we make a point to seek out and try local craft vodkas. We’ve had fun trying them all!

two martini glasses filled with Vodka Martini with a Twist

How to Make a Martini

Here are the easy steps to follow in making a martini:

  1. Prep glasses.
    Fill martini or coupe glasses with ice water to quickly chill; let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and dry.
  2. Prep shaker.
    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes (large cubes won’t melt as quickly as small cubes in the spirits and/or liqueur).
  3. Add ingredients and shake.
    Add vodka and Cointreau and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Strain and pour.
    Pour through a cocktail strainer into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish and serve.
    Rub a lemon twist around the rim of the glass, then drop it into the martini.

How to Make a Lemon Twist

There are many different ways you can make a lemon twist for a martini. Here is Robert’s preferred method:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, start near one of a lemon pole and shave downward to get a wide strip of lemon peel. Try to get as little of the white part (the “pith”) as possible, as it’s bitter.
  2. Cut vertically into smaller (1/8-inch thick) pieces.

Quick Tip

Use a separate cocktail strainer to pour the shaken mixture into your chilled martini glasses. Often the strainers built into shakers don’t tend to work very well – and don’t let the ice crystals flow through to the glass.

Robert’s Tips on Making a Perfect Vodka Martini

Here are Robert’s secrets on how to take your martinis from good to great:

  1. Always serve your martinis up – that is, without ice. Martinis are meant to be sipped, and even large ice cubes will melt before you’re done and dilute the flavors.
  2. Chill your martini glasses. You can chill your glasses either by putting them in the freezer or filling them with ice water to quick-chill for 2 to 3 minutes just before using.
  3. Put all the ingredients and a handful of ice cubes in your shaker and shake vigorously for around 10 to 15 seconds. You want it not only to be very cold, but also to form ice crystals that will then float on top of the martini.
  4. Use a separate cocktail strainer to pour the shaken mixture into your chilled martini glasses. Often the strainers built into shakers don’t tend to work very well – and don’t let the ice crystals flow through to the glass.
Martini glass filled with Vodka Martini with a Twist

How to Serve a Dry Vodka Martini

I like to pair Robert’s Vodka Martinis with these appetizers:

Dry Vodka Martini With a Twist FAQs

And, here are answers to martini-related questions I often get asked:

What makes a martini dry?

A martini is considered “dry” if it has very little vermouth; and “very dry” if it has no vermouth. Robert’s martinis have no vermouth, but we don’t call them “very” dry because of the other ingredient he puts in place of the vermouth.

Shaken or stirred?

Well, for the most part it’s personal preference. Robert I like our vodka martinis very cold, so like James Bond, we prefer our martinis shaken. In fact, we have a growing collection of martini shakers – crystal, silver and aluminum.

Olives or a twist for the garnish?

We prefer a lemon twist in our martinis, and I include directions on how to make a lemon twist in the recipe!

What’s the difference between a martini and a vodka martini?

Historically, the name “martini” with no liquor or other ingredient being mentioned, would refer to the original cocktail, which was made with gin and vermouth. If “vodka” is specified in the name, it’s used instead of gin.

Is Vermouth necessary in a martini?

No, vermouth isn’t a required ingredient in a martini.

What is a martini without vermouth called?

It’s called a “very dry” martini.

What is the twist in a martini?

A twist is a small piece of lemon peel, usually 1 to 2 inches in length and very narrow (around 1/8 inch).

Other Martini Recipes to Try

2 stemmed glasses holding vodka martinis with twists, with a shaker in the background

More favorites from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen

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martini glasses filled with Vodka Martini with a Twist

Dry Vodka Martini with a Twist

With my husband Robert’s unique Vodka Martini recipe, you can surprise and wow your friends and family at your next gathering. He’s become known far and wide for his super popular dry martinis, which call for a special ingredient and no vermouth. They are easy to make – and you can even whip up a batch ahead of time!

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 martini 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) good quality vodka
  • Splash to 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cointreau, or other orange flavored liqueur. Can also use ginger liqueur
  • Lemon twist – see directions in Notes section

Instructions

  1. Fill martini or coupe glasses with ice water to quickly chill; let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and dry.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes (large cubes won’t melt as quickly as small cubes in the spirits and/or liqueur).
  3. Add vodka and Cointreau and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Pour through a cocktail strainer into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Rub a lemon twist around the rim of the glass, then drop it into the martini.

Notes

How to make a lemon twist: . Using a vegetable peeler, start near one of a lemon pole and shave downward to get a wide strip of lemon peel. Try to get as little of the white part (the “pith”) as possible, as it’s bitter. Cut vertically into smaller (1/8-inch thick) pieces.

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes” By Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: cocktails, quick and easy, make ahead
  • Method: shaken
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 glassful
  • Calories: 438
  • Sugar: 12.5 g
  • Sodium: 2.9 mg
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: martini, cocktails, lemon, vodka

martini glasses filled with Vodka Martini with a Twist

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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Comments

  1. Excellent! Felt like a pro making these martinis. Especially like the tip about using the strainer to get the ice chips.

  2. Thank you! I was out of olives and looking for a new alternative to my usual slightly dirty martini. I’ve heard of using orange bitters, but I didn’t have any in my bar so I was delighted to find this recipe using Cointreau. Thank you for sharing and for the tip of using the cocktail strainer for the icy crystals!

  3. Hi Robert, oh… yeah! This is the one I was looking for! Very smooth and clean (w/Cointreau). I concur with Mack…I’ve tried other ideas for a simple yet good (sweet) alternative to my regular dirty martinis i.e. lemon drop, bitters and orange, etc.and all close, but not the one. This one is so simple, it’s genius! Over the top the winner and next go-to. Thank you!

  4. Highly recommend this recipe – really easy to make, and tastes delicious! My girlfriends were very impressed.