Cocktails / Spirits

Shaken, not Stirred – The Martinis of James Bond

“Shaken, not stirred” must be one of the most well known quotes in the film world. Everyone knows 007 drinks Martinis, but he doesn’t limit his drink to just the original combination of gin and vermouth. In both the novels and the films, he drinks vodka and gin Martinis, as well as his own variation, and not always shaken. When asked in the Casino Royale film after a heavy poker loss if he’d like his Martini shaken or stirred, he responds “Do I look like I give a damn?” Shaking instead of stirring makes your Martini colder faster, but also has the effect of melting the ice, therefore diluting the drink.


Vodka martini – shaken, not stirred!

The first Martini drunk by Bond in the first novel Casino Royale, was The Vesper (Named after his love interest,Vesper Lynd).

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui, monsieur.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

Daniel Craig also shared the recipe in the 2006 film version of Casino Royale.
Unfortunately, Kina Lillet isn’t available any more for those who want to recreate the drink exactly, but its successor Lillet Blanc or a dry vermouth could be used instead for a similar, but not identical taste. Fortunately, the other ingredients are easy to find, and aren’t expensive.

The vodka isn’t specified, but in the novel Dr No when requesting a vodka martini, he asks for either Russian or Polish vodka, so plenty of choices there. Several brands make appearances in the films, including Smirnoff (Red, Black, and Blue), Finlandia, and in the latest film SPECTRE, the Polish brand Belvedere (who released a variety of limited edition Bond branded bottles as part of their partnership).

I bought a bottle of supermarket Dry white Vermouth, and gave each one a try.

Vodka Martini

Vodka (2 parts)
Dry white Vermouth (1/2 part)

When served ice cold, it doesn’t taste of alcohol as strongly as I expected and goes down smoothly. Feel free to vary the amount of Vermouth to your own taste.

Martini (Gin)

Gin (2 parts)
Dry white Vermouth (1/2 part)

More flavours than the vodka version due to the aromatics  and botanicals in both the Vermouth and the Gin.

Vesper Martini

Gordon’s Gin (3 parts)
Vodka (1 part)
Kina Lillet/Dry white Vermouth (1/2 part)
Garnish with lemon peel

A very strong cocktail with over 4 units per drink, so limit yourself to one. And definitely don’t drive after one as 007 does! I’m aware that substituting the Lillet for a generic vermouth isn’t going to give the same taste, but I’ve read that Cocchi Americano aperitif wine is a closer match to the original Kina Lillet. Maybe I’ll get round to trying it some day!




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