The perfect James Bond Martini

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

The classic “shaken or stirred” variant 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” which 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 unclear. “Professor” Jerry Thomas, a famous and influential 19th-century bartender, invented the drink sometime in the late 1850s or early 1860s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. As the story goes, a miner about to embark on a trip to Martinez, California, placed a gold nugget on the bar and asked Thomas to mix him something special. Thomas made a drink containing Old Tom (sweetened) gin, vermouth, bitters and maraschino and named it “Martinez” in honor of the customer's travel destination.

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The big question is gin or vodka? Purists insist the classic martini is gin, but the numbers say vodka is preferred. Vodka sales are about $7.5 billion per year, while gin sales are about $5 billion. If you order a classic martini, you'll probably be served gin, unless you say vodka. Bond seems to be fairly fluid in his choices, ordering 19 vodka martinis and 16 gin martinis in Fleming's novels and short stories.

Like Bond creator Ian Fleming, James Bond prefers his cocktails shaken rather than stirred. A traditional martini is stirred rather than shaken, but Fleming's biographer Andrew Lycett shared that the author preferred shaken martinis because he believed it preserved the flavor.

Internationally known celebrity chef Justin Khanna has his own take on the martini.

“For me, the perfect martini takes advantage of the blank canvas of this timeless cocktail. “Many cocktails limit you to certain garnishes, and even fewer allow you to swap out the base spirit.

For a Martini, a vodka base with lots of olives and little vermouth is just as “right” as one with gin and a hint of lemon, even if they couldn't be more different at the first sip. Add a bowl of olives, blue cheese or salty potato chips as a snack and I will enjoy this iconic cocktail to the fullest.

Personally, I love the body, complexity and herbal kick of vermouth, which often makes it a co-star in my version.”

The Khanna Martini


  • 2 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Twist lemon peel


  • Mix vodka and vermouth in a shaker with ice.
  • Shake for 10-20 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and rub along the edge to get a hint of citrus flavor.

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Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis' Margo Channing, FDR, Frank Sinatra and Jessica Walter's Lucille Bluth are all well-known Martini fans. One of the funniest is Megan Mullally's great Karen Walker from the series Will & Grace.

The Karen Walker Martini


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


  • Add all ingredients to the shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake well
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

The perfect James Bond Martini


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


  • Combine vermouth and gin in a mixing glass filled with ice
  • Fill glass with ice and stir quickly. Continue adding ice and stirring until the additional ice is incorporated into the cocktail
  • Strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass
  • Squeeze the lemon zest over the cocktail
  • Place the squeezed lemon juice and the skewered olives on the cooled edge

As the famous writer and prankster Dorothy Parker reported on martinis:

“I like to drink a martini,
Two at most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I will be under my host.”

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