Noilly Prat might not ring a bell with everybody. However, everybody knows James Bond. And that he likes his martini’s “shaken, not stirred”. This is where James Bond and Noilly Prat come together. The key ingredient of James Bond’s favourite drink actually comes from the South of France, straight from La Maison de Noilly Prat. At this very estate, you can create your own dry martini, including the famous vermouth.
Of course, you can visit La Maison de Noilly Prat to learn more about the first vermouth manufacturer in France and its blend. You can read more about my visit in my post about it here. But there is more! To complete your visit, you can book one of the experiences to create or mix your own cocktail. And I was invited by Noilly Prat to attend a cocktail masterclass. Can’t wait to mix my own dry martini!
The right tools
After our guided tour, our cocktail masterclass group is welcomed into the private bar of the estate. We get a short explanation of all four Noilly Prat blends. The explanation obviously doesn’t go without a tasting… In our appropriate apron, we take place behind our mixing tables. There I find all the right tools to start mixing: a cocktail shaker, glass jug, stainless steel strainer and a large bar spoon. While reading the recipe, we get a demonstration of how to properly shake a cocktail.
A dry martini has three ingredients. First you pick your “poison”: vodka or gin. Then you choose your vermouth: original dry, extra dry, red or amber. To conclude with one or two drops of bitter: lemon or fennel or all kinds of other flavours. Of course, you have to decide whether you’re going to shake or stir and if you want to add an olive or citrus zest for a more zingy, fresh flavour. Choices, choices!
I started mixing away and ended up with a proper dry martini. For my poison, I chose vodka. I added Noilly Prat red and topped it off with two drops of chilli bitters. A simple olive perfected my cocktail, which didn’t taste too bad actually. The chilli spiced it up and went well with the vodka and red vermouth. The cocktail master showed us how you could present your cocktail in another way: a wine glass with a spherical ice ball containing a very fresh lemon cocktail. Very stylish! And the good news is that you can buy all the classy tools, blends and the jumbo ice ball mould in the Noilly Prat store. Great for gifts, or to keep for yourself…