Getting a half way decent martini these days is, sadly, not the easiest thing in the world. Too often there appears to be some confusion in the minds of enterprising barmen. For clarity, a martini does not contain apple juice. It is not garnished with a pineapple spear. It should never, ever, be set on fire and brought to your table where it can singe your eyebrows. Agent OO7 hasn’t helped either. Now there's hordes of folks out there who think that a martini is mixed with vodka. Heaven knows how – it's the dryness of the gin, offset by your own preference as to quantity of martini – that makes the drink. A cocktail of vodka and martini alone would, I fear, simply be... slippery?
Fortunately, however' there's Christopher's.
I kicked off proceedings with a dirty martini. Usually, this is a drink made as a dry martini with the addition of a splash of brine from the olive jar, and served with a salty olive garnish. Christopher's, as you can see, make it a little differently, macerating a whole olive in the shaker before mixing. The result is good, but it's certainly not a dirty martini as we usually know it. Not to be missed, I promise, but a slight shock to the system, I'd say...
Next up was the Vesper, the drink that James Bond himself is supposed to have invented in Casino Royale. Finally given it's on-screen dues in the 2006 film of the book, the recipe first appeared in 1953. Sadly, the trend for serving drinks in deep champagne goblets is gone. But the drink itself is just as perfect as ever.
Now, I was rude about the vodka martini earlier – and with good reason – but I recognise that my praise of the Vesper may therefore come over a little hypocritical, being how the Vesper is a 6:2:1 ratio of gin:vodka:vermouth (of sorts). But it's not. You see, the vodka does little more than take the edge off, and that's helpful – unless you like them ultra-dry, which I do, but not for every drink.
Established in the early 'nineties, and remodelled earlier this year, it is a fantastic place to go drinking. Mockery of Bond above aside, you feel like some elegant secret agent or glamorous film-star in there. Without being over the top, it's decked out pretty smartly, with a mirrored art deco bar that fails spectacularly (thank goodness) to appear like gaudy vintage. Sure, it serves plenty of those vulgar fruity kinds of drink that we've come to imagine as martinis, but it also serves the original good stuff, done damn well.
- GrubsterBoy -