Dry, dirty, shaken, or not stirred; here's how to make America's favorite classic cocktail like a pro.
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Martinis are the perfect example of something simple, but not easy. This clean, classic, uncomplicated cocktail manages to stir up more controversy than almost any other drink.

Clearly, customizing a martini to your specific palate is important. If you've been drinking them for years, you probably know exactly how you like yours, but if you're new to martini land, welcome! We recommend tinkering with a few different ingredients (and ratios) to find what suits you.

No matter how you mix it, H. L. Mencken was real woke when he said, "Martinis are the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet." Here are six simple steps to make your version of the classic cocktail like a pro.

Spring for high-quality liquor.

Considering this cocktail is essentially 100% alcohol, use spirits from a delicious, dependable distillery. Start with around 4 ounces gin or vodka, and 1 ounce vermouth; and adjust as necessary. Here are a couple reliable brands we love:

Have fresh ice on hand.

Always use clean, new ice when mixing a martini. Chipped ice is best, since it cools faster than cubes. Remember that ice from your freezer is affected by the food around it, so keep that in mind when you make at ice home.

Stir—but not for too long.

Traditionally, you stir spirits as to not "bruise" them. We recommend a brisk stir with a long-handled spoon for about 20 seconds. You can still shake things up if you like your martini with a bit extra dilution and a charged mouthfeel.

Chill your glassware.

Before serving a martini, chill your glassware in the freezer or with ice cubes. Around 5 to 10 minutes of chill time should do it.

Keep your vermouth kickin'.

Whether you prefer your martini bone dry (no vermouth), dry (some vermouth), or wet (more vermouth); always refrigerate your vermouth once opened. It spoils quicker when left at room temperature.

Get creative with your garnish.

Olive, lemon twist, and onions are classic martini garnishes; but try something different. An orange or grapefruit twist, spoon of caviar, cucumber slice, or edible flowers are pretty pairing ideas for crowning your creation.

Tips provided with help from Brent Lamberti, elit Vodka Ambassador.