14 Garnishes For Your Next Martini

When you're in the mood for a cocktail that's sophisticated, classy, and timeless — not to mention, boozy — nothing does the trick quite like a martini. Whether you're partial to vodka or gin, straight up or on the rocks, shaken or stirred (just kidding, please don't shake your martinis), the garnish in the glass is almost as important as the cocktail itself.

While of course, these final flourishes do wonders in terms of making a martini look professional and polished, there's more to it than pure aesthetics. When it comes down to it, a martini isn't complete without a garnish. Though they seem simple, a garnish has the power to completely transform a martini, taking it from salty and savory to citrusy and bright in an instant.

The world is your oyster (in some cases, literally — you'll see what we mean later) when it comes to adding the final touch to your beverage, and olives and lemon twists are just the beginning. Whether you're stuck in a martini rut, or you just need some boozy inspiration, we're here to share our favorite garnishes for your next martini.

Green olives

Let's start with the basics: Green olives are probably what you think about when you envision a classic martini — and these briny bites are a staple for a reason. Unlike many cocktails, martinis aren't inherently sweet. Clean, smooth, and slightly herbaceous are more accurate descriptors for this beloved beverage, and a salty green olive really amps up the savory notes in a martini. 

While any green olive will work just fine, if you're making a drink at home, we recommend shelling out a little extra cash for the absolute best olives for martinis, which in our opinion are Castelvetranos or Cerignolas. You can add green olives to any type of martini you please: classic, wet, dry, perfect, and dirty martinis are all enhanced by the addition of an olive.  

A bit of bartender trivia you should keep in mind when you're adding olives to your drink is that garnishing with two is considered bad luck. This means you should stick to adding either one or three. However, if you're like us, you'll definitely lean toward the olive trio!

Blue cheese-stuffed olives

If you want something that's a bit more adventurous than a standard green olive, try opting for the blue cheese variety instead. Blue cheese is notoriously funky and that signature note is the perfect foil to the bracing salinity of green olives. The creamy texture of the cheese makes for a delicious bite when you get to the end of your martini and are ready to enjoy a salty snack.

Now, some cocktail purists argue that adding a blue cheese olive (or any type of stuffed olive, for that matter) takes away from the true integrity of a martini's pure flavor. And while it's true that adding blue cheese olives does contribute a significant amount of flavor to the beverage, we think that as long as you're enjoying what you're drinking, there's no "wrong" way to garnish your drink.

Plus, adding a flavorful garnish like a blue cheese olive works to tone down the intensity of the booze and make the cocktail more palatable for those who don't like the straightforward taste of gin or vodka.

Lemon twist

A twist of lemon is another go-to garnish for a classic martini, and it's an option you can rely on at any bar or restaurant in which you can get your hands on one. Don't let the fancy-sounding jargon fool you — a lemon twist is just cocktail-speak for a piece of lemon peel.

The important thing to remember here is that you shouldn't simply plop the peel into your drink or just rest it on the rim of your glass. Instead, you need to "express" it over the top of your martini, which means you need to hold it with the peel facing down over the top of the drink and then twist it to release the oils in the rind. Next, rub the peel around the rim of your martini glass, add it to your martini, and voila! You'll have a perfectly executed martini with a twist.

Opting for a twist adds a kick of acidity and brightness that can make this booze-heavy beverage more drinkable. It has the power to add a layer of flavor to otherwise relatively neutral vodka, play up the citrus notes in gin, and amp up the zesty botanicals in dry vermouth.

Pickled onion

Savory beverage-lovers, this one's for you. Adding a pickled onion to a martini will not only make you feel like you're drinking a cocktail from a different era, but it will also transform a typical martini into a variation called a Gibson. Ordering a Gibson at a cocktail bar feels bold, grown up, and a little old-fashioned — and that's pretty much what this drink tastes like, too.

Although the dry vermouth in a martini works to soften up the hard stuff, it's also rife with savory notes that are emphasized by garnishes like pickled onions. For some people, it can be a bit difficult to think about adding something as pungent as a pickled onion to a cocktail, but doing so is a leap of faith you'll be glad you went for. Opt for this garnish if you're looking for a little bite, a little umami, and a whole lot of sophistication to a classic martini.

Orange twist

This one isn't necessarily common, but there are people out there who enjoy adding a twist of orange to their martini rather than the standard twist of lemon. The idea here is essentially the same — opting for orange adds some much-needed brightness and an aromatic dose of citrus flavor to an otherwise overwhelmingly boozy drink. Treat it like you would a lemon twist and express it over the top of your drink, and you'll have yourself a martini that isn't lacking for acidity.

We like this one with gins that feature notes of (unsurprisingly) orange or even orange blossom. You can use an orange twist with a vodka martini too, but we think gin is a much more appropriate pairing.

We're not going to lie, the main reason you'd probably reach for an orange twist is if you don't have any lemon on hand, but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, so we encourage you to keep an open mind. You never know when you're going to discover a garnish that's going to change how you drink your martinis.

Grapefruit twist

A grapefruit twist is another good option for when you want to add a little zip and zing to your martini. Grapefruit is bitter, tart, and refreshing — and it also happens to be a prominent flavor note in some gins. Opting for a grapefruit twist is a good way to shake up (or if you've been paying attention, stir up) your martini routine, without venturing into totally unknown territory. You'll still get the juicy aromatics you know and love from drinking martinis with lemon, but with an added layer of both flavor and visual interest.

We highly recommend sticking to gin martinis for this one, and Malfy Gin Rosa is the perfect bottle to reach for if you're interested in finishing off your beverage with this garnish. The pink Italian gin is infused with Sicilian grapefruit, lemon, and other botanicals, so adding an extra kick of grapefruit makes for a match made in cocktail heaven. Grapefruit also goes well with rosemary, so you can look for gins that are heavy on the herb, as well.

Espresso beans

If a savory drink just isn't for you — and you prefer martinis of the espresso variety — there's only one garnish that will do the trick for a cocktail that's as much about the caffeine as it is about the alcohol. We're talking about espresso beans.

In our opinion, an espresso martini recipe isn't complete until the cocktail is topped with a few coffee beans. When we say a few, we mean three, to be exact. Adding precisely three beans isn't just about looks. Tradition has it that the trifecta represents health, wealth, and happiness, so omitting a bean would constitute a cocktail crime.

A good espresso martini will have a nice layer of foam on the top, so the beans will float on the surface of the drink and contrast nicely with that gorgeous white froth. While the beans are technically edible and can be nice to chew on, most people don't choose to consume them, so this garnish is more about appearance and lore than utility.


If your initial reaction to the idea of adding a pickle to your martini was one of extreme skepticism, don't worry. The concept becomes a lot less outlandish when you think about how well olives work in the same context. Both are salty, briny, and ideal for turning a run-of-the-mill martini into a complex, savory sipper. Not only does finishing off a martini with pickle add some delicious salinity, but it also adds an addicting hint of acidity from the vinegar in which pickles are brined.

Now that you're on board, we encourage you to take this idea one step further and make your martini "dirty" with pickle juice instead of olive brine. The best part is, you can use any type of pickle you please. From herbaceous dills, to bracing half-sours, to cute and tiny cornichons, almost any variety can be used in a martini. You can even get a little wild and throw in a spicy pickle for a boost of extra heat. Crunchy snacks pair beautifully with martinis, and we can almost guarantee you'll enjoy sinking your teeth into this garnish when you get to the bottom of your cocktail.


If you ask us, caviar and martinis are two of the most sophisticated consumables out there. As you might expect, combining the two results in a seriously bougie beverage. Luckily, when you're feeling fancy, this uptown pairing is entirely delicious. It's also one of the few instances in which we'd recommend reaching for an ice-cold bottle of vodka as the base of your martini.

Think about it this way: Vodka and caviar are a common pairing, and swapping out straight vodka shots for an elegant martini can make indulging in both the liquor and the black gold (which is a nickname for caviar) even better.

Caviar is salty and rich, with aromatic hints of the sea. It's also surprisingly buttery, and these flavors cut through and enhance the intensity of vodka like a charm. We'd recommend saving this one for a special occasion, but trust us when we tell you that drinking a martini garnished with caviar is an experience that you'll never forget. When the time is right, you should also serve some extra caviar as a sidecar for your cocktail — just be sure not to serve caviar in a metal bowl, as doing so can negatively impact its flavor.


By now, it's probably going to come as no surprise that we're going to recommend a salty, savory, briny bite as the garnish for your next martini. This time, it's in the form of every foodie's favorite bivalve — oysters. These snackable, slurp-able, gems of the sea are great for more than just happy hour, as they can work as a unique final touch on your martini.

If you plan on using oysters in martinis, just know that the sky's the limit when it comes to incorporating these tasty mollusks into your cocktails. Whether you want to go all-out and infuse your vermouth with oysters or just let it go for a swim in your glass, you can choose your own seafood and liquor pairing adventure with this one. It's also a good idea to serve these creative concoctions alongside a platter of raw oysters with all the trimmings. After all, who wants just one oyster (or just one martini)?


Like we said, martini garnishes are about more than just adding a beautiful finishing touch to your drink. Tinctures are concentrated flavor extracts, and they can be used as a garnish that will go a long way in terms of adding flavor to your martini. This one's not something that everyone has on hand in their refrigerator, but reputable cocktail bars (and serious at-home cocktail connoisseurs) often make homemade tinctures to add to their creations.

Either an eyedropper or an atomizer can be used to impart a tincture's flavor into a martini, and doing so adds to both the taste and the aroma of a drink. When you take a sip of a martini, what you smell is almost as important as what you taste, so even just a light mist of a concentrated elixir can completely change your martini drinking experience.

Tinctures are made by infusing a high-proof neutral grain spirit (think Everclear) with various ingredients. Martini-friendly tincture ideas include concentrates that contain herbs, olive oil, citrus rinds, and spices.

Pickled veggies

If we've successfully convinced you to try adding regular pickles (by which we mean, pickled cucumbers) to your martinis, we're going to go out on a limb and ask you to dive deeper into the exciting world of garnishes by considering other varieties of pickled veggies. All it takes is vinegar, salt, sugar, and some spices to pickle just about anything, and just about any kind of pickle can be used as a garnish for a martini.

Ramps, carrots, green beans, okra, and more can all be tossed in your glass as a crunchy, savory treat to enjoy with your beverage. Making your own homemade canned pickles is a fun and delicious activity to try at home, but you can also find almost every type of pickled veggie under the sun in specialty grocery stores and online if you don't have the patience to wait for that tasty fermentation to happen. As an added bonus, you can serve a platter of pickled veggies on the side for the perfect addition to your cocktail hour.

Dehydrated fruit

While we don't recommend this one for classic martinis, there are some variations of the drink for which dehydrated fruit makes the perfect garnish. Sometimes you want something a little lighter, sweeter, and fruiter than the traditional version, and there are plenty of recipes out there that will satisfy your craving for a classy cocktail without overwhelming your palate with booze.

One of our favorites is called the French martini, which contains a pleasantly fruity mix of pineapple juice, raspberry liquor, and vodka. It's the perfect martini for people who don't like martinis, and a slice of dehydrated pineapple makes a great finishing touch. Plus, dehydrated pineapple makes a chewy, tropical treat that's fun to enjoy alongside your cocktail.

Appletinis and lemon drops are also martini variations that are better suited for those who want a more approachable drink, and dehydrated apple and dehydrated lemon can be used to garnish these versions.


While the hefty measure of booze in a martini is probably enough to make you feel toasty, adding a little spice results in a beverage that really brings the heat. If you're a spice fanatic, we're here to tell you that it's completely possible for your martini to make you sweat — in a good way.

However, we're not talking about adding slices of raw jalapeños to your glass. Rather, this is another example of how pickling is your friend when it comes to garnishing martinis. Pickled hot cherry peppers add a delicious touch of spice and tang. Not to mention, the pop of bright red color adds an eye-catching visual element that will make you want to show off your gorgeous drink.

Spicy peppers aren't your only option, either. You can take your martini in a milder direction by garnishing it with a pepperoncini, which is a mild, sweet pickled pepper.