If the release of Spectre, the latest movie in the 007 franchise, has got you thirsting for a martini, then London is the place to be. The British capital is in the grip of cocktail fever, and drinks both traditional and innovative can be found on nearly every menu. We take a tour of bars we know James Bond would appreciate after a long, hard day of saving the world.
Ian Fleming, the author of the novel series on which the Bond movies are based, used to frequent the bar at the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Dukes hotel in Mayfair. Legend has it that it was here that he got the inspiration for the “shaken, not stirred” line. Martinis at Dukes Bar are served in a style that the spy himself would surely applaud: a trolley of spirits is wheeled over, your drink made right at your table. Bar manager Alessandro Palazzi’s latest Bond-themed creation is the Fleming 89, a martini designed to complement No. 89 eau de toilette from London-based perfumery Floris, the fragrance worn by James Bond himself.
Bond usually likes his martinis a certain way, but he’s not necessarily a stickler. In Spectre, for instance, he’s happy to drink the dirty martini that Madeleine Swann (actress Léa Seydoux) orders for him on their action-packed train journey across Morocco. So, we’re sure he’d approve of cool East London bar White Lyan’s innovative take on the drink, the Bone Dry Martini. The spot’s own British-made vodka is combined with a tincture produced from actual chicken bones, cleaned of all meat and broken down with phosphoric acid to create a rich and complex flavor for the drink.
If it was 007 who made the martini famous around the world, it was the American Bar at Five-Star hotel The Savoy that first popularized it in the UK. As Prohibition began in the United States, Harry Craddock, a Brit who had become one of New York City’s best-known barmen, returned to London and got a job at The Savoy. He was soon promoted to head bartender, a position where he wowed the English with his American cocktail-making ways. In 1930, he published The Savoy Cocktail Book, formalizing the recipe for the dry martini for generations to come.