How to Set Up a Martini Bar

Torn image edge

A better way to serve cocktails

Classic or dirty: They choose

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. “You do not need to play bartender all night long!” In the summertime we love a spritz bar, and in the depths of winter, we love a hot cocoa bar. But, for our Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving dinners, we love a martini bar.

We love martinis because, while they look pretty classy, they are super easy to make and usually only require two or three ingredients. Here are all the steps to take to set your guests up for success this holiday.

You can't forget the classic dry martini.
Photo courtesy of Rhonda Atkins Photo
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The materials

The quality of your garnish goes a long way in impacting your martini quality - which is why we recommend clean garnishes by Filthy, linked below.

Pro Tip: Ease up your prep with this complete Martini Kit by our friends at Filthy
Photo by

The barware

  • Jigger, shot glass, or measuring cups
  • Cocktail shaker (for shaken) or mixing glass (for stirred)
  • Martini coupes
Don’t be intimidated if you don’t have “classic” martini glasses! We love mixing and matching our glassware to bring this to life. We especially love these coupes by Saludi Glassware.

Whichever glass you choose, instruct guests to fill it with ice while they’re making their drink so their glass chills before you pour it in.

The recipes

We recommend writing these on a sign and placing them near the bar to avoid any confusion. Martinis are easy… but best when made right ;) 

Classic martini

  • 2.5oz gin
  • 0.5oz dry vermouth
  • Green olive or lemon twist for garnish

Dirty martini

  • 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce olive brine
  • Olive garnish


  • 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Garnish: cocktail onion

See? These recipes are SIMPLE. Have guests that aren’t drinking? We love putting a fun NA drink into a martini glass. It instantly elevates the beverage, sans the ABV.

Some tips for martini success:

  • Place olives on a cocktail pick and peel lemons before guests arrive so that they can easily garnish their own martinis.
  • If you want to make things even easier, you can pre-batch your martinis! Alison Roman lays out just what to do here, suggesting the right proportions for martinis for a crowd.
  • You can also use champagne coupes in place of martini glasses!

Who knew you could make martinis so simply? Sophisticated isn’t so difficult after all… especially when you let Partytrick do the heavy lifting. 

Set up your next martini bar & host with Partytrick:

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