It could be considered the most well known drink in the world. James Bond strides to the bar and asks for a vodka martini, "shaken, not stirred." However, according to barmen the world over, this famous drink would not be a genuine martini. First, a martini is never shaken, and second, it is a gin-based cocktail; mix it with vodka and it is simply not a martini.
The drink that is consumed in huge quantities by James Bond is known in the bar trade as a Vesper. The reason he asked for it shaken is because shaking the drink dilutes it and enabled Bond to keep a clear head. Making a classic martini is very simple. Take a good gin and a splash of vermouth; the ratio should be about 15 to one, although for a stronger drink the ratio could be upped to 20 to one.
Once you have stirred the spirits together, the mixture should be strained into a glass and an olive should be be added. Another rule is that there should never be an onion placed in a martini. If there is an onion in it, then it is called a Gibson.
The martini is meant to be a cold cocktail, but as the glass should not contain ice, the glass should be cold beforehand. This can be achieved by placing the drink in a freezer or by placing the glass half full of water in a fridge. Alternatively, you can mix the martini with ice before straining it into a glass. You should also hold the glass by the stem, so the heat from your hand does not warm up the drink.
The classic martini is a strong drink, and because of this, cocktail makers can deliver a variety of martini based drinks. The Gimlet cocktail is a basic martini with lime juice added. It is more sour than the classic drink, but nowhere near as dry. At once cloudy and luminous, it looks like a glass of bitter lemon but tastes much nicer.
Gimlets were supposedly invented at sea to stave off scurvy. The sailors always had plenty of limes, but didn't want to drink lime juice non-stop. If lime juice is a little too bitter, how about a martini with a shot of black coffee and a little Kahlua liqueur? It's guaranteed to keep you awake, yet still feeling pleasantly mellow. Sounds just like the sort of thing James Bond would order first thing in the morning.