Freezer Door Martini with Lemon Bitters
Meet my new favorite way to make cocktails for a party. This freezer door martini with lemon bitters, gin, and dry vermouth is smooth, boozy, and the only way to serve cocktails to a crowd. Everything gets mixed in one bottle for batching and easy pouring. Cheers, friends!
I have been throwing dinner parties ever since I moved into my first house ten years ago as a little college freshman. I mean, dozens of parties from cozy family dinners to eating pizza and drinking cheap beer on the living room floor with my friends.
And it’s taken me until like, right now to learn how to easily make classic drinks for a crowd. Of course, there’s always batch cocktails like berry lemon rosé sangria or pitcher Cadillac cranberry margaritas. But sometimes you just want a classic martini. And this frozen version is genius.
These freezer door cocktails are a total game changer for dinner party drinks. All you do is mix everything together in a bottle, freeze it for a few hours, and voilà. Martinis for all.
Why you’ll love this drink
Honestly, bartenders are probably giggling right now, because this is a trick they’ve been using forever. Martini snobs are probably in the process of writing me an angry email denouncing the “sacrilegious” nature of this recipe. But if you’re into the concept like I am, here’s why you need to try this recipe:
- These martinis are the best of stirred and shaken. They’re super smooth like a stirred martini but they’re also ice cold like a shaken one.
- These martinis take about five minutes to mix up. So easy!
- With a 3:1 ratio of gin to vermouth, they’re balanced, boozy, and crisp. The best.
- It’s the perfect drink situation for a crowd. 8 cocktails, 1 bottle, the end.
The ingredient list
- Gin – I like a classic London dry gin. But you can use whatever gin you like best. Just pick something higher-quality because this is a very spirit-forward cocktail.
- Vermouth – there is a dry versus sweet vermouth debate amongst martini fans, but personally, I like dry vermouth. And it’s the most traditional option! Again, pick something high-quality.
- Water – classic martinis are either shaken or stirred with ice which dilutes the drink a bit. Since we’re just mixing this cocktail in a bottle, we need to add water to make up for the lack of ice. Most martinis will end up being about 20% water content, so we’ll use 20% water in this bottled version! Make sure to use filtered water for the best taste.
- Lemon bitters – this is another hot debate when it comes to martinis, but I personally love some citrusy bitters in my martini. If you’re not a fan, just leave them out.
- Garnishes – a lemon twist or a couple of green olives is the go-to. Use your favorite!
- Liquor – if you like a vodka martini, feel free to use your favorite vodka instead of gin!
- Bitters – orange bitters are more often used in martinis. But grapefruit would be amazing too.
- Garnishes – a cocktail onion is another classic choice. If you go this route, I would use more savory bitters like celery or Bloody Mary bitters.
How to make this cocktail
- Start by pouring some of the gin out of the bottle. Save it for another time!
- Then, add the vermouth straight into the bottle of gin.
- Add the filtered water to the gin-vermouth mixture.
- Add a few dashes of lemon bitters to the bottle. Cap the bottle & give it a few good shakes to mix everything together.
- Freeze the martinis for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Pour about 3 ounces of the gin martini into a glass. Garnish with a twist or olive and enjoy!
Bitters are like salt and pepper – add them to taste! I typically prefer more bitters so I added about 16 dashes to this bottle. But, I would start with 8, taste, and add more if you like.
For a dirty martini…
If you like a dirty martini, no problem! Just replace the water with olive brine. Then, taste a sip of the martini and add more brine if you like. Just be careful not to add too much brine or the martini might end up slushy instead of crisp and smooth.
This lemon gin martini is best ice cold out of the freezer with a lemon twist or green olive. Make these martinis for:
- Dinner parties
- Happy hour at home
- House parties
- Date nights
- Cozy nights in
Storing & make-ahead
To store the martinis, all you have to do is place the bottle in the freezer! They will last for months in the freezer (although let’s be real, they probably wont!).
Since the martinis need to freeze for at least 4 hours, this makes it the perfect make-ahead cocktail. Just mix everything together and freeze until you’re ready to serve.
If you’re throwing a big party, feel free to make a few freezer door cocktails! Each 750 milliliter bottle will make about 8 cocktails. So, this is a super easy recipe to scale up depending on how many people you’re serving.
- A jigger for measuring
- A jar for storing the extra gin
- Martini glasses
- Cocktail picks
Tips & tricks
- In this lemon gin martini recipe, we’re using a 3:1 ratio of gin to vermouth. But if you prefer a different ratio (4:1, 5:1, etc.) feel free to adjust. Just make sure you’re still using the 5 ounces of water to dilute the cocktail!
- If the martinis start to get slushy in the freezer, just add more gin. You want the alcohol content to be above 25% (50 proof) so it doesn’t freeze.
- Pick a gin that’s 80 proof (40% alcohol) or higher. This will keep it from freezing or turning slushy!
- If you do get ice crystals in the martinis, just give the bottle a shake. After you pour the cocktail, the ice crystals will melt after a couple of minutes.
- For an extra-chilled martini, freeze the glass. Just place the glasses in the freezer for an hour or two before serving.
What is a freezer martini?
Simply put, they’re just batch martinis that’s been mixed up in a bottle and frozen until they’re nice and chilled. This is nothing new though! Bartenders have been using this little trick for years.
What is the best gin to use?
That will totally depend on what you like! But generally, you’ll want something higher-quality since this is a very spirit-forward drink. When in doubt, just go with your favorite gin. These are some of my go-tos:
- Sipsmith London Dry
- Beefeater London Dry
- Boodles London Dry
- Empress 1908
How much alcohol is in this cocktail?
The total alcohol content will depend on the alcohol percentage in the gin and vermouth you use. I used Sipsmith which is about 42% ABV and Dolin dry vermouth which is about 17% ABV. With the water added, that makes each 3 ounce drink about 30% alcohol.
What is a martini vs. a dirty martini?
A classic martini has gin, vermouth, and sometimes bitters. A dirty martini, on the other hand, has a splash of olive brine for a savory, salty flavor.
Does gin freeze?
In a regular home freezer at 0°F, gin won’t freeze. The alcohol percentage is high enough that it will be perfectly chilled but not slushy or completely frozen.
More party drinks
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Freezer Door Martinis with Lemon Bitters
- 750 milliliter bottle of gin
- 5 ounces dry vermouth (148 milliliters)
- 5 ounces filtered water (148 milliliters)
- 8 dashes lemon bitters, plus more to taste
- Lemon twist or green olives, for garnish
- Martini glasses
- Pour 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of gin out of the bottle. Reserve it in a resealable bottle or jar for another time.
- Add the vermouth, water, and bitters to the bottle of gin. Cap the bottle, give it a few shakes, and freeze the martinis for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Pour about 3 ounces (90 milliliters) of the chilled cocktail into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or olives. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong