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Licensed to Chill

When hearing “shaken not stirred,” one immediately envisions MI6’s super spy 007, James Bond. Always suave as he orders his signature vodka martini, the phrase earned an indelible spot in the English vernacular and image in our minds. While there’s much debate about which actor played the best Bond in films–Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, or Craig – the martini is considered the definitive cocktail.

While watching Daniel Craig’s final turn as the debonaire agent in No Time to Die, I felt sentimental hearing him, tuxedo-clad, order his martini for the last time. It seems somehow apropos that such a complex character–master of high-tech weaponry, human psychology, and superior physical ability – would have such a simple drink.

The famous spy’s iconic cocktail of choice first appears in the 1953 novel Casino Royale–the debut book in the storied series. The creation of the martini dates from the 1880s, and Jerry Thomas, known as The Father of American Mixologists, is credited with the drink’s design.

Whether a martini is shaken or stirred is a matter of personal preference. Shaking a martini distributes the ice more evenly, making the drink colder. However, it also dilutes the cocktail (although the alcohol consumption is the same). Some, like 007, prefer martinis with vodka, while others – such as the series author Ian Fleming did – prepare it with gin. Regarding the vermouth, although not specified in most recipes, I recommend a clear version.

The Official James Bond Martini

3 oz gin or vodka

1 oz dry vermouth

½ oz Lillet Blanc

Blue cheese-stuffed olives garnish

Place the liquor, vermouth, Lillet Blanc, and ice in a bar shaker. Give the mixture a good shake–about a minute–and strain it into a chilled glass. If you prefer a “dirty” martini, add an ounce of olive brine to the mixture.

Bow tie not required.


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