The Vesper martini was a cocktail James Bond (played by Sean Connery here, in "Dr. No") himself created in the "Casino Royale" novel by Ian Fleming. The Vesper martini was a cocktail James Bond (played by Sean Connery here, in "Dr. No") himself created in the "Casino Royale" novel by Ian Fleming. The Vesper martini was a cocktail James Bond (played by Sean Connery here, in "Dr. No") himself created in the "Casino Royale" novel by Ian Fleming. (Photo: United Artists)

Shaken, not stirred: 5 unusual martinis add a twist to cocktail hour

There's a martini to suit every taste, and some of them look downright gorgeous. The pleasure is all yours.

Through more than half a century, seven actors and 25 films, the James Bond franchise has become synonymous with one iconic cocktail: the martini. The concoction Bond himself created in the Ian Fleming novel that started it all, "Casino Royale," has enjoyed widespread mimickry and idolatry. It's called the Vesper martini, and it was brought to the big screen by Daniel Craig, the seventh actor to play the magnanimous British spy, in 2006.

But long before that, folks were creating a litany of varieties of this elegant, sophisticated drink that go far beyond the standard gin-and-vermouth-with-a-twist, from the sweet, fruit-infused blends reflective of summer to the old-school "dirty" versions that incorporate ingredients like onions and black pepper. Here are five of the most appealing, intriguing and alluring martinis that you don't have to be an international man of mystery to appreciate (but it'd sure be cool if you were).

French martini

french martini with a raspberry garnishThe French martini is a little bit sweet and fruity while still evoking an air of elegance. (Photo: Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock)

Let's say you're out for dinner with a prospective employer, and she orders a dirty martini. The thought of putting olives into anything other than salad makes your stomach churn, but you're terrified that if you don't follow up with a similarly sophisticated drink order, your dinner partner will be prematurely asking for the check. Before you become the personification of adult peer pressure, ask for a French martini. Here's the makeup: vodka, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice. A lemon peel or raspberry are perfect garnishes here. Try's recipe at home. Sweet, fruity, but still retaining an air of elegance. And no banishment to the tiki bar for you.

Espresso martini

espresso martiniTake your espresso without the caffeine buzz. (Photo: Mateusz Gzik/Shutterstock)

Who says coffee is for mornings and liquor is for evenings? Get rid of everything in between with this smooth, always-appropriate libation. There are many variations of this drink, and they're all easily altered to your preferences in taste, potency, sweetness and alcohol content. You can also add Bailey's for an even more coffee-esque flavor, like this recipe straight from the Irish cream experts themselves.

Pomegranate martini

pomegranate martiniA refreshing pomegranate martini will end your day on a sweet note. (Photo: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock)

If you're a martini traditionalist, you probably think putting fruit in a martini is akin to putting ketchup on a hot dog. But there's something about those arils (the technical term for pomegranate seeds) that reminds us of fine jewelry – shiny, delicate, brilliant, reddish-pink diamonds in fruit form. Let's not forget to mention that they're also super-healthy. You can make your own juice simply by extracting the seeds and running them through a juicer, but you can also shortcut your way to pomegranate-flavored everything by buying bottled pomegranate juice at pretty much any grocery store. To create the perfect balance of fruit, alcohol and garnishment in your martini, our Israeli Kitchen chef Sarah Berkowitz provided us with her own original recipe.

Pumpkin pie martini

pumpkin martiniIt might not be what 007 would drink, but it's still the fall libation you're craving. (Photo: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock)

We won't bowl you over with the virtues of our pumpkin-spiced world, because it's likely you come from one of two camps: those who think pumpkin deserves a place on the USDA food pyramid, and those who feel the urge to throw gourds as soon as Halloween is over. For the former camp, may we recommend the pumpkin pie martini, brought to you by Tito of Handmade Vodka fame. If alcohol's not your cup of tea, this pumpkin pie smoothie from Israeli Kitchen contributor (and well-known vegetarian chef) Jerry James Stone may be more your speed.

Gingerbread martini

gingerbread martiniLet the holiday countdown begin ... and treat yourself with this gingerbread martini while you're counting. (Photo: Jenica/Flickr)

It's not easy to whittle down all the incredible cocktail combinations into one list, so picking a martini to inhabit the fifth spot in our roundup took some careful consideration. But in the end, we decided to pay homage to Christmas tradition – sort of. This perfectly spicy cookie-flavored cocktail embodies the warm essence of the holiday season.


Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Drinks, Lists, Recipes