How to Make the Perfect Martini

06/13/2016 at 12:08 PM ET

Martini Recipes
Nick Purser/Getty

Ordering a martini feels like making a statement. Not only is it bold and beautiful, but successfully navigating a packed bar while holding that slender stemmed glass will make you feel like you deserve a medal (or at least a free drink).

The martini’s history is shrouded in a haze that’s not unlike the feeling you get after you’ve had a few. The city of Martinez, California claims the drink was first served there in 1849 when a lucky gold miner rolled into town and ordered Champagne to celebrate his fortune. As the story goes, the bartender didn’t have bubbly on hand so he mixed him a concoction of gin and dry white wine, topped it with an olive and named it the Martinez (which was later shortened to Martini).

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Others believe the drink was first served by a bartender whose last name was “Martini” at New York City’s Knickerbocker Hotel around 1911.

The martini has been reinvented so many times there are even multiple recipes considered to be classic. Some common factors: Most call for gin or vodka, vermouth (some include both sweet and dry varieties) and a garnish of either lemon or olive.

Also, some facts to impress your friends during happy hour: A Bradford refers to a martini that gets shaken, “dirty” means there’s a splash of olive brine added and a Gibson has a cocktail onion garnish.

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In honor of this iconic concoction, we present the classic gin martini recipe—and three creative riffs on the basic recipe. Each of these variations calls for gin, in honor of the drink’s Prohibition roots, and should be stirred, which — despite James Bond’s order — is the original technique. (Many martini purists dislike how shaking makes the liquid cloudy.) Martinis taste best when served in ice-cold glasses, and some aficionados even keep a few in their freezer at all times should the mood strike.

Classic Gin Martini Recipe
3 oz. gin
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1 lemon twist or 3 olives, for garnish

Pour gin and vermouth into a shaker filled with ice. Stir and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist or olives.

Martini Recipes
Courtesy Gin Palace

Sweet Home
For something that’s slightly sweeter without being cloying, Chaim Dauermann, beverage director at N.Y.C.’s Gin Palace (where there are about 75 types of the juniper-flavored spirit on offer) created the Sweet Home. The cocktail, which debuts on their menu in May, was inspired by the original Martinez recipe, the Italian Negroni and spring weather. “It’s sweet, but with a lingering crisp, bright and bitter character,” Dauermann tells PEOPLE.

1½ oz. gin
¾ oz. cocchi Americano rosa
½ oz. campari
¼ oz. blackberry liqueur
Lemon peel, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker or tumbler, stir ingredients with ice until chilled, then strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

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Martini Recipes
Courtesy Dirty Habit

Green Thumb
Another tribute to spring, the Green Thumb, comes from the new Dirty Habit bar in San Francisco. It’s one of bar manager Brian Means’s favorite drinks on the menu, and he calls it “simple to make at home and very refreshing.” Although it resembles a classic martini, the addition of green chartreuse liqueur gives it an herbal flavor and a verdant hue. The drink will taste delicious even if you skip the nectar essence garnish, which is spritzed on at the end. But if you’re hosting a party, it’s a fun, festive touch that will get guests talking.

1½ oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
½ oz. green chartreuse
1 Rooibos tea bag (for nectar essence)
12 oz. gin (for nectar essence)

1. In a cocktail shaker or tumbler, stir ingredients with ice until chilled, then strain into chilled coupe glass. Spritz nectar essence (recipe below) on top of the drink.

2.  To make the nectar essence, add gin and tea bag to a large glass and let the mixture steep in the refrigerator for two to three hours. Transfer to a spray bottle.

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Martini Recipes
Courtesy Mockingbird Hill

Tuxedo Cocktail
The Tuxedo cocktail comes from Mockingbird Hill, a ham and sherry bar in Washington, D.C. Mixologist and co-owner Derek Brown traded the typical vermouth for a dry sherry. “This drink is tangy and very dry, with the lemon oil from the citrus rind and herbaceous quality from the gin igniting the appetite —  it’s a perfect aperitif cocktail,” Brown tells PEOPLE. The name pays homage to the Tuxedo Club, a swanky social institution in upstate New York where the tuxedo was first worn.

2 oz. gin
1 oz. sherry
1 dash orange bitters
Lemon peel, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker or tumbler, stir ingredients with ice until chilled, then strain into chilled cocktail glass. With the outer layer facing down, hold lemon peel over glass and pinch it, then place on rim of glass.

—Lexi Dwyer

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Anonymous on

The first two photos are of inferior glassware for any drink…

Cyndi on

Think I’ll stick with the classic. The first two of the three “twists” on the classic martini look hideous. @Anonymous: I agree – the glassware looks like cheap dollar store cr*p.