The Original Bond Martini
Lately I've been drinking more fruity spirits, but I'm looking to dive back into something more classic, where the alcohol is more in the forefront. Of course when you do that then the alcohol has to be GOOD, right?
The original gin martini...shaken not stirred would be Bond style, and I'm guessing with just a squirt of vermouth, but what kind of gin?
Beefeater? Hendrick's? Sapphire? Or does it matter? To me, the three all have very different tastes. For gin and tonics I usually use Beefeater but it seems like a classic martini calls for something with a little more...class...
Well, if we are talking Bond's version of a Martini, originally, that would have to be a Vesper. From Casino Royale (with the help of Wikipedia)
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'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?'
That is what would be considered the original bond martini, though, later on, he prefers vodka martinis made with Smirnoff, that whole sponsorship thing.
Thing is, Gordon's isn't exactly the most pricy of gins. Then, there is the claim that what Gordon's makes in Britain is marketed to Americans as Tanqueray. (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/495296). I don't have anything to substantiate the claim, but just something to keep in mind.
One last thing, if you really want a more in depth look, take a look at http://007.atomicmartinis.com/. Complete listing of Bond's drinks of choice and even a bit of look into brands.
For what it's worth, my favorite Gin's right now are Plymouth, Junipero (Anchor Brewing), and Bluecoat. Plymouth is the softest of the three and Junipero is quite the heavy hitter. I would also recommend more than a squirt of vermouth as well - It goes a long way in massaging the less tasty elements of the botanicals in gin.
There's actually another thread a couple down in this forum about Hendrick's making great martinis...true, true, although I wonder if it's really the kind of thing a guy like Bond would drink. I suppose that's up for debate. I'm not a huge fan of Gordon's, but that's me. I think Connery probably would have been more the Beefeater/Tanqueray type, Roger Moore who the heck knows, probably vodka. Timothy Dalton, let's not even go there.
A more modern, Pierce Brosnan kind-of Bond martini would have to something smoother like Bulldog -- lotsa botanicals -- or any of boozemonkeys excellent choices. Bulldog has been making the rounds with many of my own booze primate friends, but it's much harder to find -- I think it might only be available on the east coast.
Hm. Perhaps this calls for a late viewing of Dr. No.
I think the brand of gin used makes a big difference in drinks, especially martinis--more so than they brand of vodka you might use. The gin you buy for your home bar should be the one that tastes best to you. For my everyday martinis, I like Tanqueray. Right now I also have Tanqueray 10, Junipero, Hendricks, and Plymouth (can you tell I like gin?) for my I-want-to-treat-myself martinis. You can spend some time trying martinis with different gins at local bars to find which one you like best.
Just a few comments towards the OP. First, a "classic" martini in the true sense wouldn't be a "dry martini." But that's besides the point and I believe that you are mainly interested in the "dry martini."
Second, Bond in "Casino Royal" ordered his martini with "Lillet" not "vermouth." This is a slight difference but enough to take away more of the "classic" feel of the dry martini. Lillet is a white wine much like vermouth and you can find it in high end grocery stores. I don't, myself, care for the taste and prefer vermouth.
As for the gin, again, Bond asks for "Gordon's." This is might seem a little odd, here is James Bond at a classy casino on the French Riviera ordering Gordon's. But, in England, the green labeled Gordon's is higher proof and more flavorful then the Gordon's that's imported to the states. Being Bond is from England, it's not far fetched to believe that he order's Gordon's.
But again, that's all beside the point. To answer your question, I would honestly say that any premium gin would be fine. Gin isn't like scotch. As long as the gin is a premium well distilled gin, it's going to taste good. I'm referring of course to "London Dry Gin." Some exceptions I would mention would be Hendrick's and Junipero. Hendrick's has a distinctly different taste then most other gins and Junipero is very heavy in Juniper. But most other premium gins are going to be very similar in taste.
Q gin and Plymouth are going to be lighter in character, making for more of a "vodka" feel. I don't drink these because I like a distinctly "juniper" taste. But it's all each persons personal taste.
My favorite two gins are Beefeater (because it's usually on sale) and Bombay Sapphire. I prefer gin and tonic, but I also am a big fan of the martini.
For my martini I do about 3 to 4 oz's of gin (I don't measure) and a splash of vermouth. The trick, I have found is to swirl it in my shaker (not shake it, but swirl it) for a good minute or so. I like for the ice to dilute the mixture a little, I find that this helps balance it all out and makes it more smoother. I then garnish with a martini olive or two, (depending on how hungry I am, :) ).
Hopes this helps. Cheers...
I concur with the swirling. I ask for my martini extra cold so that the tender will allow some melting. I also like to use crushed rather than cubed ice at home for the same reason. Never been an olive fan in a gin martini, prefer a twist for the tang, save the olive for vodka.....