Vodka Martini – Dukes

Remove a martini from the freezer, splash vermouth inside, roll it around the inside of the glass so it coats the inside of the glass, pour frozen vodka into the glass.

Every year for Christmas we meet friends for an evening of caviar and champagne, this year its been delayed a little due to winter flu and travel. Its his birthday, and normally just a couple of days before Christmas. In previous years my wife has made blini’s while I’ve sat in the lounge with the birthday boy and a civilised glass of champagne. This year he’s developed a penchant for Dukes and their martini’s, so the champagne went out the window.

If you like Martini’s or James Bond then a trip to Dukes at some stage is of extreme importance, as the fable is that its in this London Hotel that Ian Fleming penned Casino Royal, while sipping Martini’s wheeled to table via the charming Martini trolley. In Casino Royal, Bond order’s a Vesper, three parts gin, one part vodka and one part Kina Lillet, shaken obviously. The story goes that Mr Fleming wasn’t a massive gin fan, and liked the flavour toned down with vodka. At Dukes its more of just a giant glass filled with booze instead of a Martini, there’s no ice, so no ice melt, and it’s really just sipping on gin, or in tonight’s case vodka. I’d fully planned to have a classic cocktail when I got home, as this drink isn’t in any of the books. 1 hour and a bottle of vodka later I realised this wasn’t going to happen, so today it’s the vodka martini. One thing I would say is that our hosts vodka of choice is Stoli Elit, a vodka that continually gets high marks when blind tasted at our vodka classes, and one that has left me feeling much better than I should 24 hours later.

Vodka Martini’s were my gateway cocktail to Gin Martini’s, there’s a certain sort of purity you get when you order a bone dry vodka martini, and I recommend you try an orange twist instead of lemon.