The Quick 10: 10 Famous Martini Preferences

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I confess: I know next-to-nothing about fine liquor. I mean, I can tell if the liquor was the $5 variety that comes in a plastic bottle from the bottom shelf at the grocery store or if it's Grey Goose, but beyond that, I don't have much of a preference. The people in this post, however, definitely have a preference. I might have to try some of their versions of the martini and see if any of them do it for me (probably not... I really hate gin).

bond1. James Bond. In Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, Bond orders the drink like this: "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 the 1953 novel, though, Kina Lillet is no longer available... however, that doesn't stop Daniel Craig from ordering it that way in the 2006 movie. Today, if you order a Vesper (the offical name of the James Bond martini), Lillet Blanc is typically substituted. Also, the "shaken, not stirred" method will really spark an argument among martini purists - many believe that shaking it bruises the gin and maims the integrity of the cocktail.

2. Winston Churchill. If you order a Churchill Martini, you'll end up with a glassful of gin. Churchhill famously said the only way to make a martini was with ice-cold gin, and a bow in the direction of France.

3. Ernest Hemingway favored the Montgomery - 15 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. 15:1 is said to be the ratio Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery preferred when going into battle.

4. Lyndon B. Johnson liked the in-and-out martini - a glass filled with vermouth, then dumped out and filled with gin.

5. Alfred Hitchcock and Winston Churchill had the same idea - Hitch said the closest he wanted to get to a bottle of vermouth was looking at it from across the room. That quote is often attributed to Churchill, actually, but the Washington Post says otherwise... Churchill is misquoted all of the time, so I'm inclined to believe them.

gable6. Clark Gable's character in the 1958 movie Teacher's Pet likes to take the bottle of vermouth, tip it upside down so the liquid wets the cork, and then run the damp cork around the lip of the martini glass.

7. FDR absolutely loved martinis and is rumored to have carried a "martini kit" with him wherever he went. His recipe was two parts gin, one part vermouth, some olive brine, a lemon twist and an olive. He insisted on mixing his concoction for Stalin at the Teheran conference. Stalin found it "cold on the stomach" but tasty.

8. Julia Child preferred reverse martinis: a glass full of vermouth on the rocks (she liked Noilly Prat) with a topper of gin. She said she could easily down two of those.

9. Queen Elizabeth II likes Gordon's gin with three slices of lemon. She may have gotten her taste for gin from her mom - the Queen Mother once requested that two bottles of Dubonnet and gin be packed for an outing, "in case it is needed." The note she wrote to an aide requesting the booze sold at an auction for $32,000 in July.

10. W.C. Fields reportedly liked to start his day with a couple of double martinis in the morning - one before breakfast and one after.

And here's a bonus: Richard Nixon liked his martinis, but several sources say he couldn't handle them very well. He liked the ratio to be about seven parts gin to one part vermouth.

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November 10, 2008 - 9:50am
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