Shaken and Stirred
By June Naylor
Photo by Meda Kessler
The recent passing of Sean Connery sent us into the James Bond film archives and to the bar cart. Digging into the website flemingsbond.com, collector Bruce Allen’s expert take on author Ian Fleming’s novels about the consummate British spy, we learn new details, including Bond’s drink preferences. He sips a double gin and tonic with two halves of a lime on his balcony in Jamaica in Dr No. In Diamonds Are Forever, he orders an after-dinner stinger, which incorporates creme de menthe and brandy. But it’s the martini we most associate with the suave spy, thanks to Bond’s request in the 1964 film Goldfinger that his medium dry vodka martini be “shaken, not stirred.” However, Bond seemed to prefer the Vesper martini, named for fictional double agent Vesper Lynd. The Vesper made appearances in the 1953 book Casino Royale and in the same-named 2006 film. We like it just as Daniel Craig’s Bond orders it, “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” While we might not live the Bond lifestyle, we can break out the cocktail shaker and pretend.
A classic martini calls for gin, but vodka works, too. Make sure the vermouth is fresh (refrigerate after opening, for up to three weeks) and shake the mixture well to make it extra cold. Be sure to use a measuring cup for these; you want the balance of flavors just right.
- Cracked ice
- 5 ounces gin or vodka
- 1 ounce dry vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
- Skewered olives or thin twists of lemon peel
Fill cocktail shaker with ice and add gin (or vodka) and vermouth. Shake for at least 30 seconds and strain into martini glasses.
Garnish with olives or lemon twists.
A classic after-dinner drink, or digestif, this pairing of French ingredients offers a minty effect tempered by mellowing brandy. Good with a chocolate dessert, it’s best if made with the highest-quality stuff, such as cognac and a top-notch creme de menthe.
- 4 ounces brandy or cognac
- 2 ounces white creme de menthe, such as Giffard’s Menthe-Pastille
- Crushed ice
Pour first two ingredients into short glasses filled with crushed ice. Stir well.
Though Bond requests Kina Lillet, we simply call it Lillet Blanc today. Made in Bordeaux, the blend of aged wine and macerated fruit imparts a light citrus element to this martini, smoothing the white liquors’ edges for delicate effect.
- Cracked ice
- 6 ounces gin
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Lillet Blanc
- 2 lemon peel slices
Fill cocktail shaker with ice, gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into glasses. Garnish with lemon peels.