The History of the Martini

Written by Scott


From the basics to modern fruitier styles, take a look into the life of the martini. And what would a look at martinis be, without a nod to the man most popular for consuming them: James Bond.


I recently found myself watching Sean Connery's final James Bond film; Never Say Never Again, and as with all my movie watching nowadays, I can't help but put too much emphasis on what the characters are drinking.

So with this in mind I got to thinking about James’ beverage of choice, the Martini (shaken, not stirred). Why shaken and not stirred you ask? While some purists believe that shaking of a martini will bruise the gin, the remaining “martiniists” (Scott’s Dictionary: “Martiniist”: A name made up by Scott to allude to people who love martinis) believe that shaking the martini will produce more anti-oxidants in the drink. There was also a thought that shaking a Martini would somehow change the molecular composition of the drink and remove the oily mouth feel from the gin. While all these theories may have their merits, we can be sure that a chilled Martini will be colder and more diluted that a stirred one. An interesting side note to all this is the rather uniqueness to the original recipe for the “James Bond Martini”. See below:

- As quoted from Ian Fleming's novel, Casino Royale

“A dry martini,” he said.
“One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui monsieur.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s (an English Gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet (French aperitif).
Shake it very well until it’s ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?”

So let me get this right. Not vodka or gin, but both. No vermouth, instead replaced with the similar “Kina Lillet”. No olives, but a lemon twist. And finally no martini glass, but a deep Champagne flute. Interesting. Now over the years the Bond Martini recipe might have changed slightly, but the one unmistakable fact is that when quoting 007 there are two distinctive lines that stick in everyone’s minds. “My name is Bond, James Bond.” And “Martini, shaken, not stirred.”

So, putting aside the “Bond Martini”, let’s look at the makeup of the standard martini recipe.

  • 2 ½ oz Gin or Vodka
  • ½ oz Dry Vermouth

Shake with ice, and strain into a martini glass

Garnish with a Pimento pitted Olive


For a drier martini, use less Vermouth, Winston Churchill used to skip the vermouth all together, saying that the perfect martini involved pouring a glass full of cold gin and looking at a bottle of vermouth. Other alternatives include:

  • Substitute a cocktail onion for the olive (named a “Gibson Martini”)
  • Add a dash of olive brine (the liquid from the jar) and presto (“a dirty Martini)
  • A splash of Scotch in the glass (the “Smokey Martini)

Other garnishes include: baby pickles, lemon twists, anchovies, the list goes on.


And then came the flavoured Martini variations. Whether it began with the Cosmopolitan, or the Gimlet or a number of other cocktails, flavoured Martinis have taken on a life of their own. With the continuing evolution of flavoured vodkas, so goes the ever increasing list of martini alternatives. Listed below are some of those drinks.

The Chocolate Martini:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz crème de cacao white
  • Shake with ice and strai
  • Garnish with a Hershey Kiss or a chocolate swirl

Variations to this include substituting Vanilla or Espresso flavoured vodka, or adding a ½ oz of cream liqueur.

The Appletini

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz green apple liqueur
  • Shake with ice and strain

To change it up a bit, add ½ oz Butter Ripple Schnapps to make your own caramel apple.

The Crantini

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • Shake with ice and strain
  • Garnish with a lemon twist or dried cranberry raisins.


Taking each day one drink at a time

Scott @ Vintage



Last Updated on Aug112013