Bond's Martini & Duke's
Bond's Martini & Duke's

James Bond's Martini & Duke's Hotel image 1

James Bond's Martini & Duke's Hotel

Words by Simon Difford

A Vesper Martini comprises three shots London dry gin, one shot vodka and half a shot dry French wine aperitif. It's James Bond's drink of choice and, thanks to the movie franchise, is famously ordered with the specification for it to be "shaken not stirred". But, how did Bond come to drink Vespers?

The Vesper Martini was created by author Ian Fleming, the result of various influences, and made famous by his including it in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953.

ency 29 image

Fleming's decision to make the Martini his hero's drink of choice is said to have been inspired by visits to Dukes Bar in London's Dukes Hotel where Gilberto Preti held court for many years, a respected bartender with an enduring reputation for his Martinis.

ency 41 image

The hotel's website suggests Dukes was the inspiration for Bond's "shaken, not stirred" catchphrase, but it should be remembered that Fleming was penning his books at a time when the Martini was an insurgent and the influence of Dukes or some other hotel bar, could have as much been Martini bar calls he overheard from American guests, as the drinks he enjoyed himself.

Considering the role vodka plays in Fleming's Vesper, it's worth noting that the author wrote the drink into his first Bond novel in 1952, the year after the earliest known reference to the Vodka Martini in Ted Saucier's 1951 Bottoms Up book.

ency 42 image

Vesper Martinis at Dukes

Gilberto Preti started at Dukes Bar in 1987, some 23 years after Fleming died from heart disease. So it wasn't Gilberto who influenced Fleming, but was Fleming influenced by another bartender at Dukes, or just the Martinis served there?

Dukes' reputation for Martinis, and cocktails in general, is quite a recent thing - certainly after 1982 when Salvatore Calabrese started there, 30 years after Fleming wrote the drink into his novel. Indeed, it was Salvatore who created the now famous Dukes' Direct Martini in 1985 for the American journalist, Stanton Delaplane. So, it is unlikely that Dukes played any role in Bond's cocktail of choice.

James Bond's Martini & Duke's Hotel image 1
Welcome to Difford's Guide

All editorial and photography on this website is copyright protected

© Odd Firm of Sin 2024