Whether or not you are a fan of Ian Fleming’s work, you cannot deny the inextricable association of James Bond with martinis.
When Mr. Fleming was writing about this complicated anti-hero character it was a time of austerity and post-war reconstruction, when international travel was for the few and parts of the world were rendered out-of-bounds by the Cold War. Part of the appeal of Bond was surely his international lifestyle, one of class, travel and sophistication.
The martini played right into this image.
The “shaken, not stirred” catch-phrase was apparently coined by Fleming at one of my favourite establishments: the bar at Dukes Hotel in St. James’s, London.
Shaking the drink with ice adds an effervescent quality. Stirring it leaves it slightly stronger and more viscous. I prefer the latter. If the gin is cold enough it has an almost oily quality.
Bond also liked vodka martinis (preferably Russian or Polish vodka). I’m a gin fan myself, but I’ve certainly been known to enjoy Polish vodka) on a number of occasions.
Whichever way you prefer your martini, I recommend at least one trip to Dukes bar during your lifetime. Go and have yourself a famous “Vesper” martini, named after the enduring Bond girl Vesper Lynd. Dress for the occasion and enjoy the experience.
But remember, Dukes bar adheres to the ‘two martini’ rule.