Martinis play an important role in the life of James Bond. They’re nearly as famous as his fast cars and the Bond girls. But it’s that phrase, “shaken, not stirred,” that many of us have tried to mimic with just the right amount of 007 swagger when ordering a cocktail.
Admit it, you’ve tried! Well, with the latest and greatest Bond film hitting theaters on November 6th, I thought it was time to dive a little deeper into the mystique of the martini. Daniel Craig will be playing the debonair spy for the fourth time in the film, which was filmed on location in London, Mexico City, Rome, Tangier, and Erfoud in Morocco. All so exotic! When it comes to world premieres, nobody does it better than 007, so I’m here to help you embrace the secret agent way of life and mix an impressive dirty martini along with the best of them.
Love a good cocktail or two? Check out these festive fall cocktails, and maybe try your hand at making homemade hard cider. If the kiddos are begging for something to sip on, these pumpkin-flavored milkshakes will be a treat!
Getting Into the Spy Game
Bond’s cocktail of choice is the vodka martini, but did you know the reason he asks for the cocktail to be ‘shaken, not stirred’ is because a traditional martini should actually be stirred?
Mixology rule number one states that any cocktail containing only spirits — in this case vodka and dry vermouth — should be stirred over ice in a cocktail mixing glass, not shaken in a cocktail shaker. Bond claims to appreciate the extra chill shaking provides, and many people like to see those small ice shards in their cocktail, as well. If you want to follow in the footsteps of James, get that shaker out and get ready to chill that martini.
Now that I’ve cleared that up, there are other considerations for creating the ultimate martini:
Vodka or gin?
First you need to decide if you want your cocktail created with vodka or with gin. Either spirit works well, so it’s a matter of preference. We all know Mr. Bond prefers vodka, but gin is the original ingredient for a martini.
Did you know that three different vodkas have been featured in the Bond films? Smirnoff was the original endorsed brand, then it was replaced by Stolichnaya. In Die Another Day, Finlandia was the vodka of choice.
If you’re going the vodka route, don’t forget to check for Smirnoff® coupons!
Dry vermouth is the only other ingredient in a martini, and it’s up to you to determine how much you’d like in your cocktail. Ordering a martini without specifying will give you anywhere from six drops to about a half capful of vermouth. Ordering your martini “dry” reduces that by about half.
Some bartenders merely place the vermouth into the martini glass, swirl it around to coat the insides and then toss the leftover liquid. An “extra dry” martini either has no vermouth or less than a splash.
Ordering a dirty martini means you’ll get a few splashes of the briny olive juice from the cocktail olive jar mixed into your martini. Lots of people love the extra flavor this juice provides, so feel free to ask for “extra dirty” if you want to really taste that olive flavor.
Chances are if you’ve ordered a dirty martini, you’re looking for a few olives in your cocktail. All good — feel free to ask for the number you’d like if you don’t know your bartender. Another standard garnish for a martini is a long lemon peel. Be sure to ask if you have a preference.
The “other” martini
Keep in mind that if you’d prefer your martini garnished with a cocktail onion instead of an olive, you are ordering a Gibson martini, which is made in the same fashion as steps one and two above, but ensures you’re substituting an onion (and onion juice if you’re inclined) for your cocktail.
Live & Let Drink
Now that you’ve got the intel on martinis, let’s get down to actually shaking one up for you and your guests. You’ve had time to think about your base spirit, your vermouth, and your garnish, so get all those lined up like a pro and let’s get shaking!
How to Make a Dirty Martini
Tools: Cocktail shaker, extra ice
Extras: Cocktail olives in juice (or cocktail onions in juice or lemons for twists)
Servings: 1 cocktail
- 2 1/2 ounces vodka or din
- Half a capful or less of dry vermouth
- 2 teaspoons of olive brine from a jar
- Before mixing cocktails, place ice into martini glass and fill with cool water. Set aside. This method ensures the coldest of glasses for your cocktail.
- Fill shaker with ice and pour vermouth and vodka into shaker. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of olive brine into shaker. Shake until your hand chills — about 30 seconds or more.
- Dump ice and water from martini glass. Strain martini into chilled glass. Garnish with olives and enjoy!
Once you’ve made a few martinis, you’ll be able to fine-tune your flavor preference by adding or reducing the amount of vermouth or olive brine to your liking. You can also experiment with the Gibson martini and see how you like the onion versus the olive.
These days, bars are also substituting dill pickles and juice instead of the olives for a whole new take on the dirty martini! While I’m not sure Mr. Bond would look quite so debonair with a dill pickle garnish, just get that accent down and you might be onto something! For another James Bond martini, check out the Vesper cocktail made famous in the movie Casino Royale.