Drinking Man

Shaken, Stirred and Switched: Giving James Bond’s Martini A Makeover

A classic drink, a few different shakes

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There hasn’t perhaps been a bigger pop-culture moment for any other drink as the martini. Nudge a teetotaler and even they might know what, ‘Shaken, not Stirred,’ means. Popularised at the behest of Ian Flemming’s books, and subsequently the movies, based on the fictional (and might I add, iconic) spy James Bond, the classic Vesper Martini has managed to hold its own, no matter the gargantuan developments in the world of mixology. Even as bar programmes work to introduce drinkers to the magical worlds of fat-washing, spherification, tinctures, and house-made bitters, which are process-oriented, alongside playing with ingredients and unique produce, the martini manages to remain relevant as a timeless classic. 

Makes sense then, that the tipple has a whole day dedicated to itself. And we thought, what better way to celebrate it than look at the intersection between innovations in drinks and the classic martini. So, we reached out to alcohol enthusiasts to understand how they would put a spin on Bond’s version of the martini. Here’s what we found. 

Stirred, Not Shaken

One of the minds behind one of India’s coolest craft tonic brands, Svami, Aneesh Bhasin isn’t hesitant to say that Bond didn’t get it right. “There’s a reason he moved from maritnis to lagers. He was doing it all wrong,” he quips. For him, the best way to enjoy a martini is to have it in reverse. Here’s a recipe from Bhasin:

Ingredient

  • 60ml Gin — pick a lime-forward gin like Lind & Mine or Trading Tides
  • 30ml Lillet Bianco

Method

  • Stirred not shaken

Martini, But Make It Desi

Head mixologist at the newly reopened Slink & Bardot, Santosh Kukreti’s oeuvre in cocktails is well-known within the food and drinks community. Quirk, innovation and intelligent flavour-pairings are all part of his modus operandi. When asked to reimagine the Vesper Martini for this story, he fashioned it into a beverage with jamun. Which though unlikely, pairs perfectly with vodka and gin, offering delicate dryness, too. “It helps give the drink a local touch with the addition of  jamun, which also  makes the cocktail slightly complex,” he adds. Check out his recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Ketel One vodka
  • 30ml Homemade jamun Vermouth
  • 15ml Dry gin

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients with ice
  • Double strain into a glass
  • Garnish with jamun and serve

It’s A Bit Twisted 

Created by Immanuel D’costa, the mixologist at Mumbai-based restaurant, Noon, this martini comes with an orangey twist. The cocktail connoisseur enjoys getting creative at the bar and says, “I love the idea of infusing our spirits with different flavours,” explaining what prompted him to treat vodka with the citrus fruit. Here’s D’costa’s take on the 007 martini: 

Ingredients  

  • 45ml Gin
  • 15ml Orange-infused vodka
  • 15ml H.M Lillet Blanc

Method

  • Stir all ingredients and serve in a martini glass

Keep It Classic 

If you’re in Mumbai, one place that never gets cocktails wrong is Perch. Dhruv Sachdeva, Bar Manager at the outlet, vouches strongly for the reverse martini, much like Bhasin. “The classic martini is not everyone’s go-to drink, but if you want to acquire a taste for them, this recipe is a great place to start,” he assures. Take a look at Sachdeva’s rendition:

Ingredients

  • Absinthe, in a spray bottle
  • Equal parts Gin and Martini Rosso
  • Lots of ice
  • Orange slice or twist of lemon, to garnish

Method

  • Spray the inside of the glass with absinthe
  • In a separate mixing glass, add ice, gin, and the martini rosso
  • Stir vigorously
  • Strain into a glass
  • Garnish and enjoy

Featured image credits: Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures

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