Classic martini: Pour ½ ounce of vermouth and 3 ounces of gin over ice in a mixing glass. Stir well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Traditionally a martini is made with gin, a bit of vermouth and ice. It can be garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. But fictional British spy James Bond liked his martini made with vodka, preferably one made from grain.
In Ian Fleming’s book Casino Royale and in the 2006 movie of the same name, Bond gives out his recipe for what has become known as the Vesper Martini. It is named after Bond girl Vesper Lynd.
In the movie, actor Daniel Craig orders, “Three measures of Gordon’s (Gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.” (Kina Lillet is a French aperitif, hard to find and now sold as Lillet Blanc.)
As for shaken not stirred, most bartenders insist martinis should be stirred. Shaking the martini results in the ice melting faster than with gentle stirring. Shaking dilutes the drink and makes it colder. One prominent theory is Bond was trying to lower the potency of his beverage to assure he kept his wits about him.
Popular garnishes include green olives – martini enthusiasts insist on a minimum of three. Most people like a traditional pimento-stuffed olive in their martini, but experimenting with garlic and red pepper-stuffed olives, or jalapeno and red pepper, will add a little zest to your drink. Ernest Hemingway favoured frozen pickled onions.
In the Bond books, 007 drank scotch as much as martinis. A December 2013 British medical report warned that Bond is an alcoholic and headed for an early grave or is at the least likely to suffer from impotence, liver disease and a variety of other health problems.
Vesper Martini recipe
3 ounces of Gordon’s Gin
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano (an Italian aperitif wine)
1 part Kahlúa
2 parts vodka
1 part espresso
Optional: add simple syrup to taste.
Shake the coffee liqueur, vodka and espresso (or strong coffee) together with plenty of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass to get rid of all the small ice chips. Shake for an additional 10 seconds for optimal frothiness.