james bond’s martini – gay frat dorm cocktail of the week

james bond casino royale martini

“Shaken, not stirred.”

I don’t think Bond ever said that in one of the original novels or short stories by Ian Fleming. It was indeed how he liked to drink his favorite manly cocktail of the 50s and then the movie version 60s.

 

Getting right to the punch, in the first novel, Casino Royale, James Bond ordered a dry martini, one, in a deep champagne goblet.

  • 3 measures of Gordon’s (that would be gin, not vodka)
  • 1 measure of vodka (he left this to the barman’s choice)
  • 1/2 measure of Kina Lillet
  • Shake it very well until it’s ice cold.
  • Add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

Note that he didn’t say a twist of the lemon peel, just the peel. I suppose the reader can assume that he would either twist the peel himself to express the lemon oil, or just let it float, happily in the top of this very large drink.

This is a champagne goblet, also known as a champagne saucer.

This is a champagne goblet, also known as a champagne saucer.

 

Further on, while talking to a compatriot at the bar, he says that when he is working (at gambling), he will only have one drink per night. And that it should be a large drink. Because there is nothing worse than a small drink that tastes bad.

(Personally, I don’t want to get stuck with a 4.5 jigger drink that tastes like the back side of a muddy dog, myself!)

Some contemporary notes here: Kino Lillet is a might difficult to find (It’s now called Lillet) and might not be available at your local boozatoria. We suggest using a good (dry) vermouth, and adding a dash of bitters to

Peychaud's Bitters - also used for the Sazerac cocktail.

Peychaud’s Bitters – also used for the Sazerac cocktail.

better emulate the taste. Aughra prefers Peychaud’s, but Angostura would work just fine, I’m sure.

 

NO fancy flavored stuff like flavored vodka, colored gin, or boutique bitters like orange or lavender. This is a meat and potatoes type drink and you should stick to the basics of absolute coolness here.

After tasting the drink, Bond says to the bartender that the taste can be improved by using a grain vodka rather than potato, so we assume that the casino bar had a bit of a Russian connection. Even though I just said NO substituting stuff, I’m curious how this drink would taste with a soy vodka: Aughra is also a fan.

The addition of the bitters (just a dash) is a good idea anyway, because martinis of that era were a slightly golden yellow color from both the gin and the vermouth. Back then, the gin was aged in oak barrels, so you wouldn’t get a completely water-white drink, and the Lillet has a bit of a golden color too. So the dash of bitters on top is going to add just enough color to the drink that no one will think you’re drinking a large water with lemon on top.

Note: Bond uses no other garnishes like an olive or two (that was the Mad Men,) or cocktail onions. No ice: takes up too much room in such a small glass, as Patrick Dennis said of the olives in a martini.

Shaking vs. Stirring?

Bond had it “wrong” on this point, but hey: it’s his drink and the man had custom-blended cigarettes made in London so I suppose he could have it made any way he wanted!

The problem with shaking a martini is that it “bruises” the gin (see Patrick Dennis again) which means that it gets cloudy when you pour it because it was aerated by all that shaking and mixing and diluting with the ice. A vigorous shake is going to melt more ice into the drink than would a gentle stir.

Unless someone specifically orders it otherwise, if you offer some date a martini, stir it in a (preferably glass) martini pitcher using a muddling spoon or stirring stick. Very gently. The only time I’d offer a shaken martini without the drinker ordering it would be if I were making this particular drink for them:

The James Bond Casino Royale Martini.

 

Bottoms up!

 

 

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