With the passing of Sir Sean Connery, bartenders everywhere will be called upon, once again, to make a slew of James Bond martinis; shaken not stirred, of course. Ironically, most of these modern day martini drinkers would be quite shocked to get an actual classic James Bond martini, especially any of the versions served to Sean Connery in the movies.
The very first Bond martini appears in the 1954 Ian Fleming book, Casino Royale, and is quite a different drink than the two served to Sean Connery’s Bond in the first film, 1962’s Dr. No. The drink from the book is called a Vesper (gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet) and is named after Bond’s girlfriend Vesper Lynd, and that drink follows Bond throughout Fleming’s books. However, the Vesper doesn’t appear in a Bond movie until 2006’s Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig.
In Dr. No, Bond gets two different vodka martinis, one made by the villain with lemon served in a port glass, and one made with lime served in a small tumbler by a butler. Both are “medium dry” which would have meant a substantial amount of vermouth back then, perhaps as much as 40 to 50 percent. Vodka martinis made these days either have no vermouth (as is the case with most extra dry versions) or very, very little (as evidenced by vermouth misters or vermouth soaked olives). And then there is the matter of the glass. When Connery’s Bond finally does order a martini himself (in 1964’s Goldfinger) it comes in a glass that looks like a gilded, colored glass, modern day champagne flute. In fact, I can find no instance of Connery’s (or Moore’s) Bond ever drinking a martini out of classic conical martini glass. Later Bonds, starting with Dalton, don’t drink them out of anything else, and none are “medium dry.”
“Medium dry” vodka martinis are not the only mixed drink that Connery’s Bond indulges in. He is also served a “too tart” Mint Julep in 1964’s Goldfinger (odd since Mint Juleps don’t contain any ingredient that could be deemed tart) and a Rum Collins in 1965’s Thunderball. So, in memory of Sir Sean Connery we humbly submit not only a recipe for his correct James Bond Martini, but recipes for the other two drinks as well. All localized for your consumption, and of course, all shaken and not stirred. At least initially. RIP Mr. Connery.
Medium Dry Vodka Martini
2 ounces organic vodka, either Square One or Hanson of Sonoma (Square One was founded in Novato, and Hanson has a tasting room in Sausalito)
1 ounce good quality dry vermouth, either Lo-Fi (from Napa) or Vya (from the Central Valley)
1 citrus zest; either lemon or lime
Combine vodka and vermouth in a shaker glass filled with ice. Shake until ice cold, then strain into a chilled rocks glass, highball glass, sake cup, really anything but a martini glass. Squeeze zest of choice and then run around the rim of the glass, before dropping in.
Note: Vermouth is a still wine flavored with herbs and will spoil if left unrefrigerated. . Many people treat vermouth as a liquor, which it is not. It will last a week or two if refrigerated. In this drink it is vitally important to use fresh, good quality vermouth, as the proportions to a typical modern martini lean much, much, more heavily towards the vermouth.
2 ounces Barber Lee single malt rye
1 bunch fresh mint (washed)
1 ounce simple syrup
1 reserved sprig of fresh mint (a flowering one if possible)
Splash of soda water
Fill a mixing glass with ice, bourbon, and simple syrup. Gently tear mint leaves into shreds (discarding stems) and place on top of ingredients in the mixing glass. Shake gently to combine (one or two hard shakes or more if using gentle shakes). Pour entire mixture into 12-ounce glass and top with soda being sure to gently stir (gasp!) to combine. Garnish with reserved mint sprig.
Note: Traditionally Mint Juleps are made with bourbon, however, Early Times whiskey (an ingredient in one of the “official mint juleps” of the Kentucky Derby) is no longer legally classified as bourbon. Meaning we should all feel free to use whatever whiskey we want to. If you can wait, Barber Lee Spirits of Petaluma will soon be releasing an heirloom corn bourbon which should make the purists happy.
1 ½ ounces Sammy’s Beach Bar rum or Batiste rhum (both founded in Marin)
¾ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
Splash of soda water
1 Tillen Farms all natural Merry maraschino cherry (or Cherry Man’s version)
1 lime wheel
1 lemon wheel
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Combine first four ingredients and shake until cold. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top with soda water. Stir to combine and garnish with citrus wheels and cherry.
Note: Aged rhum (like Batiste Gold) or flavored rum (like Sammy’s Beach Bar Kola spiced, also work extremely well in this drink. When making a sour or a Collins (a Collins is a sour with added soda water) a mixture of lemon and lime juice yields a much more interesting tasting drink than either juice on its own.