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ROYALE TREATMENT HOW TO BE SHAKEN, STIRRED THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

James Bond loves his martinis and demands them ``shaken, not stirred.'' His cocktail of choice has become as recognizable as his triple-digit pseudonym.

You'll find Daniel Craig, the sixth and newest face of Bond, enjoying them in ``Casino Royale,'' the movie opening in theaters Friday. In the 21st Bond movie, 007 gets back to the basics with his favorite libation, the original Vesper martini made famous in Ian Fleming's 1952 novel of the same name. It's made with three measures of Gordon's gin, one of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet (an aperitif), shaken over ice, then served with a thin slice of lemon peel.

Although gin was always the quintessential ingredient in the martini, created in the mid- to late-1800s, notes Kim Haasarud, author of the new ``101 Martinis'' (Wiley; $15.95), it wasn't until the 20th century that vodka got into the mix.

The martini in Sean Connery's hands in ``Dr. No'' in 1962 was made with vodka instead of gin -- and it changed the way martini drinkers mixed their cocktails. Vodka martinis (with the help of a huge campaign by Smirnoff Russian vodka) made a big splash and continue to be all the rage today, staging a bold return in the '80s.

Sophisticated, sensual and evocative, martinis are both retro and hip. ``The martini has evolved into a liquid canvas, for creations both beautiful and delectable,'' says Haasarud. Nearly any ingredient can be used in today's exploding nouveau martinis, which have created a new cocktail culture. Today, rum, cognac, tequila, fresh fruit infusions, purees and juices are added to create such drinks as the Appletini, Cosmo Martini and Hawaiian Punch Martini.

At Spago in Beverly Hills, vodka martinis account for nine out of 10 martini orders, notes George Pitsironis, the restaurant's sommelier and bar manager. ``Grey Goose is the most called-out and requested vodka brand. The majority of the martinis are served straight up -- with three olives for good luck.''

Pimiento-stuffed olives are the No. 1 choice, followed by blue cheese (Spago makes their own) and jalapeno-stuffed. More than two-thirds of customers are olive takers, as opposed to the less than one-third who are lemon-twist takers.

Naturally infused fruit martinis, served straight up, are also favored by diners. When making flavored martinis, fresh ingredients are key, says Haasarud, adding that the basic formula goes out the window (many contain no vermouth).

``We use infused vodkas -- mandarin blossom and keffir lime -- such as those made by Hangar One,'' says Pitsironis. ``If we do a sweet martini, we like to do it with pure fruit syrups and juices, not flavored vodka.''

Haasarud also opts for pear-lavender, candied ginger, black truffle and honey-grapefruit vodkas from Los Angeles' Modern Spirits.

At Kate Mantilini in Woodland Hills, classic vodka martinis and Cosmopolitans, made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry and lime juices, are the top sellers, says bartender Josh Roman. About 90 percent of all martinis ordered are vodka-based -- including apple, lemon drop, orange, peach, watermelon and chocolate espresso.

The secret to good martinis, which range from $10 to $12 each at the restaurant, is to make them as cold as possible and serve in frozen martini glasses, points out Roman. He vigorously shakes ice cubes with 4 ounces of vodka and strains into a glass. No vermouth is required (for a dry martini) with today's premium-quality vodkas, he adds.

``It's not the base spirit that defines the martini, but the glassware -- a V-shaped martini glass (ranging from 4 to 9 ounces) on a thin stem, adds Haasarud, a Marina del Rey-based beverage consultant and owner of Liquid Architecture.

A combination of factors, including a balance of high-quality ingredients and flavors you like, makes the perfect martini.

``A vodka martini is treated differently than gin,'' she points out. ``Shake the dickens (to a count of 15) out of 2 ounces of vodka, half an ounce of vermouth and ice cubes, then strain into a chilled martini glass. When shaking a vodka martini, I am doing three things to it (referred to as bruising) -- making it very, very cold; diluting it about 23 to 24 percent with water (from the ice); and aerating it. The martini will be cloudy when first served.''

For the gin martini variation (you don't want to dilute it as much, to avoid losing the natural flavors in the gin, or get it as cold or bruised), stir the same ingredients (gin in place of vodka) with ice in a cocktail shaker, then strain into a martini glass.

For a holiday cocktail party this year, pair martinis with hors d'oeuvres, advises San Diego-based cookbook author Diane Phillips, known as the Diva of Do-Ahead.

``Less is more.'' Offer just one classic martini, a couple of high-quality brands of liquor, and present a garnish bar with a variety of stuffed olives -- blue cheese, anchovy, garlic -- in addition to cocktail onions, hot peppers, and twists of lemon and lime.

When it comes to the appetizers, Phillips believes in keeping the buffet spread simple but delicious -- with all of the choices served cold or at room temperature.

So gather some friends together and raise a toast in celebration of ``Casino Royale'' -- and all those fabulous martinis Bond popularized.

Natalie Haughton, (818) 713-3692

natalie.haughton@dailynews.com

CLASSIC MARTINI

Strip of lemon peel (optional)

2 1/2 ounces premium gin OR vodka

Splash of vermouth (optional)

3 speared olives (optional)

For a proper lemon twist, rub lemon peel, yellow-side down (not the pith), around the edge of a chilled martini glass. Twist and drop into the glass. Combine the gin or vodka and vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into the chilled martini glass. If you didn't use the lemon twist for garnish, then garnish with olives, if desired.

Makes 1 serving

From ``101 Martinis,'' by Kim Haasarud.

VESPER (JAMES BOND) MARTINI

The cocktail described by James Bond in the novel ``Casino Royale'': ``Three measures of Gordon's (gin), one of vodka, and a half-measure of Kina Lillet (aka Lillet Blanc, a type of wine made with fruit, brandy and herbs -- not as bitter as vermouth). Shake it very well until it's ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.''

NOTE: Lillet Blanc, an aperitif, is available at Beverages & More locations in Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Valencia, Thousand Oaks (and other locations); and Wally's in West Los Angeles.

From ``101 Martinis,'' by Kim Haasarud.

CRAN-TINIS

1 cup (8 ounces) cranberry juice

1/2 cup (4 ounces) citrus OR plain vodka

1/4 cup (2 ounces) Triple Sec OR orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Fresh cranberries, if desired

Lime slices, if desired

Fill a martini shaker or a 3-cup covered container half full with ice. Add all ingredients except cranberries and lime slices; cover and shake. Pour into martini or tall-stemmed glasses, straining the ice. Garnish glasses with fresh cranberries and lime slices on picks.

Makes 4 servings, about 1/2 cup EACH

From ``Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook.''

HERBED GOAT CHEESE BITES

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh mint

1 (8-ounce) log soft fresh goat cheese

1 baguette

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Combine thyme, parsley, tarragon and mint leaves on a cutting board and chop them finely together. Unwrap log of goat cheese and roll it in the chopped herbs, pressing the herbs to adhere.

Cut baguette into thin slices and drizzle them with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Gently press slices into a muffin cup so that they form a boat-like shape. Bake in a preheated 350- degree oven 5 to 7 minutes. They should be lightly browned and crisp. Let baguette slices cool in muffin tins.

Top each baguette slice with a thin slice of herbed goat cheese. Top with a sun-dried tomato and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Makes 16 to 20

From ``Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Anytime,'' by Tyler Florence.

VODKA MARTINI

As preferred by James Bond in the films.

4 measures vodka

1 measure dry vermouth

Shake vodka and vermouth with ice. Do not stir. (Shaking gives the misty effect and extra chill preferred by Bond.) Add a green olive. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel. Serve in a cocktail glass.

From http://members.tripodcom/istiyak_khan/rules/drink.html.

TEX-MEX LAYERED DIP

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chunky-style salsa

Shredded lettuce, for serving plate

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup guacamole

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 small tomato, seeded and chopped

2 medium green onions, chopped

Sliced ripe olives or chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Tortilla chips

In small bowl, mix beans and salsa. Line a 12- or 13-inch serving plate with shredded lettuce; spoon bean mixture atop into a 10-inch circle.

Spoon sour cream over beans, leaving about a 1-inch border of beans around edge. Spread guacamole over sour cream, leaving a border of sour cream showing.

Sprinkle cheese, tomato and green onions over guacamole. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Garnish with olives or cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 32 servings

From ``Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian: Meatless Main Dishes You'll Love!''

APPLE MARTINI

2 ounces apple juice OR apple cider

1 1/2 ounces citrus vodka

1 ounce Berentzen's Apple Liqueur (apple brandy OR apple schnapps can also be used)

1 ounce green apple puree, optional (for a more robust martini)

Splash of lemon juice

Green apple wedge for garnish

Combine apple juice, vodka, apple liqueur, apple puree, if using, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an apple wedge.

Makes 1 serving

From ``101 Martinis,'' by Kim Haasarud.

VERY DIRTY MARTINI

The traditional dirty martini is made with just a splash of olive juice, but the majority of people who like dirty martinis like them very dirty. If you don't feel like buying a whole jar of olives just for the olive juice, you can buy bottled olive juice from DirtySue.com.

2 1/2 ounces premium vodka or gin

1 ounce olive juice

3 speared green olives

Combine vodka and olive juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with speared olives. (By the way, it's bad luck to serve a martini with less than 3 olives.)

Makes 1 serving

From ``101 Martinis,'' by Kim Haasarud.

SAVORY PECANS

2 cups pecan halves

2 medium green onions, chopped (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Spread pecans in a single layer in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan.

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 300-degree oven, about 10 minutes or until pecans are toasted. Serve warm, or cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.

Makes 16 servings, 2 tablespoons EACH

CHINESE-SPICED PECANS: Omit ground red pepper. Stir in 2 teaspoons five-spice powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

TEX-MEX PECANS: Omit soy sauce and ground red pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder.

From ``Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook.''

ROYALE FLUSH

1 ounce Russian or premium vodka

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier liqueur

2 ounces cranberry juice

Shake vodka, liqueur and cranberry juice well with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

Makes 1 serving

From Smirnoff Vodka

CAPTION(S):

7 photos

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) From dry to dirty to 007 the classic martini makes a comeback

From Beefeater Gin

(2 -- color) VESPER (JAMES BOND) MARTINI

From Smirnoff Vodka

(3 -- color) HERBED GOAT CHEESE BITES

Photo by Petrina Tinslay from ``Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Anytime,'' Clarkson Potter/Publishers

(4 -- color) SAVORY PECANS

From ``Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook,'' Wiley Publishing Inc.

(5 -- color) APPLE MARTINI

(6 -- color) CLASSIC GIN MARTINI

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski from ``101 Martinis,'' John Wiley & Sons Inc.

(7 -- color) CLASSIC MARTINI

From Grey Goose Vodka
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Nov 14, 2006
Words:2044
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