Having a store location near Las Vegas ensures that your average daily clientele includes an array of characters: gamblers, dancers, entertainers, and magicians. Entertainment involves grabbing your attention; the most talented of these characters have the ability to engage and distract the viewer at will. All in the name of a good time.
Our most interesting clients have always been magicians. Magicians are a special group. The finest of them generally combine several disciplines beyond mere practice: physics, manufacturing, and engineering to name a few. The best of the best, however, add a touch of right brain creative thinking. They are industrial designers at heart.
One of these magicians who entered our premises over a decade ago was Jonathan Bayme. I remember him as young and extremely intelligent with the politeness and regional lilt (or was it cadence?) of my youth. Bayme and a few magicians founded Theory11 at about that time. The concept was fairly amorphous in those days- a place for magicians of any caliber to learn and communicate. Over the years, however, Bayme et al have used their creative noggins going beyond magic to mainstream, by developing a market overlapping fine playing cards and collectibles. The cards, printed in the USA, generally have extensive graphic designs and silver or gold overlay- unique production that their friendly competitors have failed to replicate. Quality combined with licensing agreements (including James Bond and Lucasfilms) have enabled theory11 to integrate additional themes in their products.
James Bond seems like a natural for a themed playing card deck. Cruising around the Casino de Monte-Carlo, ridiculously overdressed for the banality of today’s Vegas, Bond is always certain to rub shoulders with the diabolical and the beautiful while playing cards or baccarat. Despite all of the gambling and overindulgences Bond still seems to represent elegance. The theory11 Bond cards exude this elegance, beginning with a Maurice Binder rifled barrel theme as a centerpiece along with diamonds, watches, martini glasses, and, of course, the 007 logo morphing into a handgun. The Bond family crest and motto ‘Orbis Non Sufficit’ (The World is Not Enough) are also prominently featured. Individual cards are also Bond-inspired with handgun silhouettes and secret weapons from Q.
|The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword|
When we think of James Bond we think of martinis shaken, not stirred. It seems our attention has been inappropriately grabbed by film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s Bond works. Yet nothing appears to make much sense. Bond is a drinker- but he drank a variety of booze, most notably Scotch and Champagne. Much has been made of the Vesper (named for Vesper Lynd, in Casino Royale)- a martini that no longer exists due to the discontinuation of one of its main ingredients, Kina Lillet. Furthermore, the idea of massive dilution of a martini by shaking is heresy to many- although it would allow your ‘License to Kill’ aim to be a bit more accurate.
|The Vesper (with Substitutions)|
Despite false appearances if we must be All Things Bond then we must discuss a simple martini. A martini fundamentally is a chilled and rather potent alcoholic beverage. The emphasis is on aromatics, generally provided by gin and vermouth. In the case of the Vesper, the Kina Lillet was a bitter vermouth style liqueur (‘kina’ refers to cinchona, the plant genus where bitter quinine originates). Gin goes well with bitters; tonic water often has quinine, sugar and/or botanicals.
The best martini is the one you enjoy the most, however. Like design, the magic is in the user’s enjoyment. We will break a few rules in giving some tips; if James can do it, so can we.
Here are a few notes:
Vodka or Gin? Gin is an extremely popular category at the moment. Find the flavors you appreciate. Start with a typical gin that is Juniper forward and go from there. Consider vodka to be gin without the botanicals. Want a less aromatic cocktail? Add vodka instead of gin. Try a lighter vermouth. The key is to experiment. More aromatics? Add some bitters.
Shaken or Stirred? I’m very against the shaken concept, as it dilutes the cocktail. If you decide to go the stirring route, keep an eye out for a visual ‘thickening’ of the iced cocktail. Drain into a chilled glass to avoid warming the beverage.
Flag or Olive? Whichever you prefer. A tasty tidbit at the bottom of the glass is a treat; fresh oils from a lemon peel when you drink can be just as enjoyable.
Finally, sip. Drink responsibly.
Find your own martini. Name it whatever you like.
Our James Bond inspired collection, including 007 Cards by theory11 is available here.