007 is about to hit the big screen and in case you didn't know, there's a lot more to ordering a martini than saying, "Shaken, not stirred"
A martini is sophistication in a glass. We're looking at you, James Bond.
Unfortunately, not knowing how to order your martini is not so classy. Although traditionally made with just a few ingredients – gin, vermouth, possibly an olive or two – getting the drink right is more complicated than it looks.
Here's a guide to help you navigate the martini minefield. Bottoms up!
If you're a fan of hard spirits, then you'll want your martini dry, with just a drop of vermouth.
For the really hardcore there's also bone dry, which is no vermouth at all. Vermouth itself can be either or sweet or dry, but don't be confused – this has nothing to do with whether your final martini is dry or not.
A wet martini uses more vermouth than the standard 5:1 ratio, while an "old-school" martini uses equal amounts of gin and vermouth.
If you're a purist, you won't even entertain the idea of a martini with anything other than gin. If, however, you're looking to minimise your hangover the next day, it's good to know that a vodka martini – also known as a Kangaroo martini – exists. Hey, if it's good enough for 007, it's good enough for us.
Fan of olives? Then you'll want to check out the dirty martini, which adds olive juice or brine to the mix.
Martini with a twist
Part of the beauty of a martini lies in the garnish: asking for yours "with a twist" means you'll get a twist of lemon. Otherwise, expect an olive or four.
Garnished with a pickled onion, the Gibson martini has achieved movie star status: Cary Grant famously orders one in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, while Bette Davis knocks a few too many back in All About Eve.
Invented and named by our favourite spy in the 1953 novel Casino Royale, a Vesper martini is made with "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". Since Kina Lillet no longer exists, use Lillet Blanc as a substitute. And don't have too many!
Shaken, or stirred?
When it comes to martinis, it all boils down to this: do you want your drink shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker to dilute it? Or would you prefer it stirred with a special spoon and ice for about 30 seconds for a smoother taste? Those who are nit-picky about their martinis will always insist on having them stirred, since shaking can "bruise" the drink and spoil the desired taste.
A sweet twist on the classic martini, the appletini deserves a special mention because of its prominent role in pop culture including Glee and The Social Network. Martinis have been reinvented countless times, with everything from chocolate to pomegranate martinis on the menu, but this fruity drink teams vodka with apple schnapps and Cointreau, served in an ice-cold glass.
The future of the martini
There are more martini variations than there is time to drink them, but we're always on the lookout for exciting new recipes.
Our new favourite comes from London bar Reverend J W Simpson on Goodge Street. Don't miss them at Cocktails in the City in London on 18th-19th July with their Rathbone Summer Club cocktail. All you need is 50ml Rathbone New London Dry Gin, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml strawberry syrup and one egg white. Just shake all the ingredients without ice to emulsify the egg white first. Then shake again with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass.