Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Perfect James Bond Martini

Did James Bond make the martini famous? Or did the martini help make Bond cool?

The classic line of “shaken or stirred” has been used by men for decades.  Bond instructs the bartender in the phrase “shaken and not stirred” in Diamonds Are Forever and Dr No and it has been in our lexicon ever since. But did Bond make the martini famous – or did the martini help Bond. And what is the perfect James Bond Martini?

The history of the martini is murky, “Professor” Jerry Thomas, a famous and influential 19th century bartender, invented the drink at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, sometime in the late 1850s or early 1860s. As the story goes, a miner, about to set out on a journey to Martinez, California, put a gold nugget on the bar and asked Thomas to mix him up something special. Thomas produced a drink containing Old Tom (sweetened) gin, vermouth, bitters and Maraschino, and dubbed it the “Martinez” in honor of the customer’s destination.

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The big question is gin or vodka? Purist insist it be gin for the classic martini, but numbers say vodka is preferred. Vodka sales are about $7.5 billion annually while gin is around $5 billion. If you order a classic martini, you will probably be served gin unless you say vodka. Bond seems fairly fluid in his choice, he orders 19 vodka martinis and 16 gin martinis throughout Fleming’s novels and short stories.

Like Bond’s creator Ian Fleming, James Bond prefers his cocktails shaken and not stirred. A traditional martini is stirred rather than shaken, but Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett shared the author preferred martinis shaken since he believe it preserved the flavor.

Bond like celebrity chef Justin Khanna

Internationally known celebrity chef Justin Khanna has his take on the martini.
“The perfect Martini, to me, takes advantage of the “blank canvas” nature of this timeless cocktail. “Many cocktails restrict you to specific garnishes, and even fewer allow the liberty to swap the base spirit.
With the Martini, a vodka base that’s heavy on the olives and light on the vermouth is just as “right” as one made with gin and a twist of lemon, even though they couldn’t be more different once you take your first sip. Accompanied by a bowl of olives, bleu cheese or salty potato chips to snack on, and I’ll savor this iconic cocktail in bliss.
I personally love the body, complexity and herbaceous kick of vermouth, often making it a co-star in my version”

The Khanna Martini

  • 2 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Lemon zest twist
  • Combine vodka and vermouth in a shaker with ice.
  • Shake for 10-20 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist, first rubbing it along the rim for a burst of citrus aroma.

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Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis’s Margo Channing, FDR, Frank Sinatra, and Jessica Walter’s Lucille Bluth are all noted martini fans. One of the most fun is the great Megan Mullally’s Karen Walker from the show Will & Grace.

The Karen Walker Martini


  • 2.5 oz. High-end vodka
  • .5 oz. Dry vermouth
  • .5 oz. Olive brine


  • Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake well
  • Strain in chilled cocktail glass

The Perfect James Bond Martini


  • 2 ¼ ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 lemon twist, for garnish
  • 1 olive (for garnish)


  • Combine vermouth and gin in a mixing glass filled with ice
  • Fill glass with ice and stir rapidly. Continue adding ice and stirring until the additional ice has been submerged within the cocktail
  • Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass
  • Express the lemon twist over the cocktail
  • Place expressed lemon twist and the skewered olive on the chilled rim

As famed writer and wit Dorothy Parker shared about martinis:

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”



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