Differences Between Sweet & Dry Martinis

By Christopher Godwin

Both sweet and dry martinis are commonly prepared in bars, restaurants and homes all over the world. While gin is the classic spirit used in both cocktails, vodka has become a popular alternative as its stock has risen since the 1950s. While there are differences between sweet and dry martinis, they have one thing in common: their simplicity. Both cocktails are made with only a few ingredients -- the spirit of choice and sweet or dry vermouth or a combination of the two.

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Dry martinis are commonly garnished with a green olive.

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Dry Martini

A dry martini is made with 2 oz. of gin or vodka and 1/4 oz. of dry vermouth. Traditionally, a dry martini is stirred in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes, strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a twisted lemon peel, though many choose to garnish the drink with a green olive instead.

Extra-Dry Martini

An extra-dry martini is similar to the dry martini, but even less dry vermouth is used in the cocktail. To make an extra-dry martini, combine 2 oz. gin or vodka and 1/2 tsp. dry vermouth in a cocktail glass with ice. Stir the cocktail for five revolutions and strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass. Run a lemon peel around the rim of the cocktail glass and drop it into the drink or add a green olive before serving. Many variations of the extra-dry martini involve using vermouth-infused olives in place of vermouth.

Sweet Martini

A sweet martini has a much gentler flavor and lower alcohol content than both the dry and extra-dry martini and is made with sweet vermouth instead of dry vermouth. To make a sweet martini, combine 1 oz. gin or vodka with 1 oz. sweet vermouth in a cocktail glass with ice cubes and stir for 10 revolutions. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twisted lemon peel or green olive.

Perfect Martini

A perfect martini, named so because it is a cross between the classic martini and a sweet martini, is made with a combination of sweet and dry vermouth. To make a perfect martini, combine 2 oz. gin or vodka with 1/2 oz. dry vermouth and 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth in a cocktail glass with ice cubes and stir for 10 revolutions. Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish the drink with a fresh orange slice.