How to Stir a Cocktail - Martini

There is not much better than a chilled, glistening martini. Don’t muddy the experience by shaking it. Properly stirred, the martini becomes a jewel of refreshment.


3 oz. gin 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc


stir with ice garnish with a lemon twist


Natalie - The Liquid Muse 27 Jul 2011
5:01 am

Nice job Charlotte - you make me thirsty for a delicious Hendrick’s / Lillet martini!!!

AaronWalls 27 Jul 2011
8:32 am

Excellent!  I love your take on this classic, Charlotte.

jellydonut 27 Jul 2011
10:57 am

It also tastes nothing like vermouth. I detest vermouth but love Lillet.

If you hate the Martini, try it with Lillet instead of vermouth. :)

charlie 27 Jul 2011
12:58 pm

Great episode, Charlotte.

1) I had a boss who insisted we always stir our martinis in the mixing glass, not the tin, and I see you are doing the same here. I would think the metal would conduct the heat out of the fluids more efficiently than glass, but he decreed otherwise with no explanation.  At first I thought maybe it was so the guest could see the drink through the glass, but if they’re watching that closely then surely they can see you pouring in the first place. Aside from tradition (he was very old school), I can’t think of any other reason. Do you know why this is?

2) Why do you use a julep strainer instead of a Hawthorne?

Many thanks.

P.S. I had a martini at The Capital Grille the other night and the barmaid shook it. I nearly fainted.

Alan 27 Jul 2011
3:33 pm

No bitters? :(

I’m always worried with stirring that I’ll crack off some of the ice whilst stirring and end up with shards in the glass. For this reason I tend to be delicate with stirring, perhaps too delicate.

@Charlie, I had a Manhattan made for me that was stirred in the Boston shaker tin but it was put sitting into a mixing glass filled with ice and water. I thought it was a bit odd and perhaps unnecessary. The bartender may have just been adding a little extra theatre or something.

charlie 28 Jul 2011
5:44 am

Alan -  Sometimes I’ll do a little up and down chopping motion on the ice cubes with my barspoon towards the end of the stirring cycle. It adds a few tiny crystals to the top of the poured martini and they sparkle nicely in the lighting in our bar.  It looks great and the ladies especially seem to like it. Obviously, you don’t want to do it too much or the drink will get too much dilution, and you don’t want to create air bubbles, either. I think it’s easier with cubes that aren’t extremely cold because they’re more fragile. And the final look may also depend on how the bar itself is actually lit.

Of course this only works if the guest is at the bar; the crystals will melt by the time the waiter gets to a table.

[BTW, I like some orange bitters in my gin martinis, too.]

blair frodelius 28 Jul 2011
10:09 am

Alan and Charlie,

I agree, orange bitters are awesome in a martini!  I’ve even floated a few drops of lemon bitters on top of the drink, if I’ve suddenly discovered I’m out of fresh lemons.


Blair Frodelius

charlie 29 Jul 2011
8:08 pm

Blair -

I have experimented with many bitters in my gin martinis and I always come back to orange, but I must admit I’ve never tried lemon. It seems so obvious, so right-there-in-front-of-your-face that it never even occurred to me (and I prefer a twist over olives). I will find some and give it a go.

Tonight I stirred a Manhattan in my shaker tin. The guest said it was nice and cold.  ;-)

George R. Welch 9 Aug 2011
7:43 am

Great show!  I also add a dash or orange bitters (I prefer Regan’s) but I agree that it might not go quite as well with Hendricks.

In a comment thread on Robert’s show, there was a discussion of using Cocci Americano instead of vermouth or Lillet.  I’d really like to plug that here.  Cocci American has a definite bitter character that is missing in Lillet.  Both of them wrap around the gin in a way the vermouth does not, but the Cocci has a really wonderful after-taste that marries with the gin.  It’s wonderful!

Try using exactly the recipe above, but with Beefeater-24, Cocci Americano, and a generous dash or Regan’s orange bitters.  Just thinking about it makes me drool. :-).


charlie 10 Aug 2011
8:20 am

Oops! Sorry, Charlotte. I just noticed you had already answered the question about the mixing glass in another section.

However, I’m still interested in why you use the julep strainer instead of the Hawthorne. Does it fit the mixing glass better, or is this simply your personal preference?

Many thanks.

- charlie

CVoisey 11 Aug 2011
4:26 pm


I stick to a Hawthorne strainer when straining from a tin and a julep strainer when straining from the glass.  These combinations reduce spillage!  The julep and the glass in particular ensure a nice clean singular stream of cocktail liquid whereas a Hawthorne and glass combination often results in unsightly spills from the side of the glass.

Hope that helps to answer your quesiton


charlie 14 Aug 2011
9:32 am

That helps a lot. Thanks, Charlotte.

steve7500 5 Apr 2012
1:19 pm

  Well I just bought a Julep Strainer and a bottle of Hendrick’s. I have also made this Lillet Martini with 3 Oz of Boodles gin,1 oz Tito’s Vodka, and 1/2 oz of Lillet and a Lemon Garnish.. I will now admit that I like Charlotte’s way better. I have really taken to Hendrick’s and will continue to use it. The colder the better !

Sachin pokhrel 29 Jun 2012
6:12 pm

I learn a lot from this web site and respect all the mixologist since i am also a bar tender

steve7500 30 Jun 2012
8:31 am

This is a great site and even though I don’t care for every recipe,I do like most of them.
My comment is this, Charlie mentioned that the barmaid at a Capital Grille shook his Martini - I see this more often than not and attribute it to “lazy” or too busy. I would like to suggest that some of these bartenders start watching the Small Screen Network . My first Vesper Martini was at a very well known Deli / restaurant in Ann Arbor. I was at the bar and it was pretty busy. The girl suggested the Vesper ,made it the way Charlotte does and it was delicious. She smiled and graciously gave me her recipe. I ordered another and gave her a nice tip. We were all happy.I did not have to tell her that I wanted my drink stirred,I could see she was doing it. I do ask the bartenders to stir and not shake,after all,I’m paying for it.

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