The Robert De Niro Martini

I was skimming The New York Post the other day for its usual ridiculous cover stories when I happened upon this particular article, which explained exactly how Robert De Niro takes his martinis. How cool is that? I am one of the many people who firmly believes that De Niro is one of the best actors of all time, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to drink as the man himself drinks. The martini is pretty simple, it’s just specific. You need at least three lemons, 2 for mixing and 1 for garnish, and you need to use a lot of ice. The result is a mild-tasting martini with a light lemon essence, but don’t be fooled. After three or four sips of this, you’ll be feeling it. When I tried it at first, I proclaimed that I could drink De Niro under the table if this is what he drinks. Ten minutes later, the alcohol hit me like a ton of bricks and I had to slow it down. Let me also say that I am not a vodka drinker. I can’t even remember the last time that I had anything with vodka in it, but I had to try this martini for obvious reasons. The lemon peel in the mixer really mellows out the strong vodka flavor, making this a really enjoyable martini. I can’t wait for spring, because this is definitely going to be a staple in my apartment when the weather warms up a bit. Pour yourself a martini, throw on your favorite De Niro flick (Raging Bull, in my case), and enjoy!

The Robert De Niro Martini
Your ingredients. Admittedly, we don’t drink that much vodka, but we had this little bottle of Grey Goose left over from a party we had.

The Robert De Niro Martini
First, get your garnishes ready by cutting off the ends of 1 lemon.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Now you are basically going to supreme the lemon from the inside – take your knife and run it along the actual fruit of the lemon to remove it.

The Robert De Niro Martini
This definitely isn’t the best picture to explain this, but if you look closely, you can see that the rind has been removed from the fruit.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Like this. Now cut the rind so that it is no longer a complete circle.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Twist the rind (carefully, so as not to rip it) and hold it in the twisted position for a few seconds.

The Robert De Niro Martini
At this point, it should hold its twisted shape. Make 6 of these for 2 drinks (our twists were a bit thick, so feel free to make yours thinner).

The Robert De Niro Martini
Now cut the rind off of the lemons like this on all sides, so that you end up with an almost square lemon and 4 peels from each lemon (use about 2 large lemons so you get 6 peels)

The Robert De Niro Martini
Now fill your shaker up to the brim with ice and stuff the 6 lemon peels into the shaker.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Pour in the vodka and vermouth.

The Robert De Niro Martini
I recommend wrapping a towel around the shaker before you start shaking it, because it will get very cold.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Kramer, however, is too manly to use a towel. Shake until you can’t shake any longer – your arm should really feel this! See, you’re getting a bit of a work out in before you enjoy your day’s reward.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Place 3 lemon twists in each martini glass (or hang one off of the side for a super fancy garnish) and strain the drink twice. If you don’t have another strainer, that’s fine, but straining it twice really makes it nice and smooth.

The Robert De Niro Martini
Serve and enjoy!

The Robert De Niro Martini

The Robert De Niro Martini
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 martinis
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) good quality vodka (apparently De Niro likes Absolut, but we used Grey Goose because it is clearly better. Sorry Bob!)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) dry vermouth
  • 6 large chunks of lemon peel (about 2 large lemons worth)
  • lots of ice
  • 6 lemon twists, for garnish (about 1-2 large lemons worth) to make the twists, cut the peel away from the lemons around the circumference of the lemon, slice into strips, and twist in your hands until they maintain a curly-q shape)
  1. Fill your shaker to the brim with ice cubes. Cut the sides off of your lemons (see the photos above for reference) until you have 5 large chunks of peel with a little bit of the lemon still attached to them. Squeeze them into the shaker, then pour in the 4 ounces of vodka and the 2 ounces of dry vermouth. Seal the shaker, wrap a towel or cloth around it so it doesn't freeze your hand off, and shake until you can't shake anymore. Strain twice, and pour into 2 cold martini glasses with 3 lemon twists inside each.
  2. *Note: Our shaker just barely held all of this for 2 drinks. You may want to split this up and make 1 drink at a time if you are skeptical about the capacity of your shaker.


20 Responses

  1. mom says:

    Kramer can make this one for me!!! its only 6:30am here, yummmm!

  2. Megan says:

    I need to have a more stocked bar at home, for recipe moments like these. :)

    • Sydney says:

      Megan: Kramer and I just started keeping a stocked bar because our new apartment kind of has a cabinet area that is perfect for keeping booze in. It’s fun to make cocktails on Thirsty Thursdays!

  3. Keith says:

    Hi Sydney,

    Just wanted to take this opportunity to say I LOVE your website and all of the delicious recipes you post here. They’re super easy to follow and super fun to make! Thanks for everything you do!

  4. Jen says:

    Hm, I might be able to handle this one. I have a pile of drink recipes sitting in a drawer I should go through too.

    Okay, so I don’t like De Niro, but I’ve only seen him in recent stuff and clips, where he plays seemingly the same character. Aside from Raging Bull, got any other favorites for me to try?

    • Sydney says:

      Jen: Have you seen What Just Happened? It’s a lot different than his other stuff – he plays a producer and it’s absolutely fantastic. My other absolute FAVORITE De Niro movie, other than Raging Bull, is Heat, which if you haven’t seen, please please please do yourself a favor and check it out. Not only does it have De Niro, but it’s got Val Kilmer and Al Pacino and it’s brilliant. Also definitely try to see Wag the Dog, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver (of course), The Untouchables (he plays Al Capone and it’s great, plus the main characters are Sean Connery and Andy Garcia and it’s one of the most quotable movies ever), Goodfellas (another obvious choice), and another one of my favorites where he kind of deviates from his typical characters, Cape Fear. I know a lot of people think that he plays the same New York gangster type all the time, but he really doesn’t. If I had to pick one of these, I’d say to watch Heat or What Just Happened, to prove that point. Sorry for the novel, I’m just a big fan of his!

  5. Grant Holly says:

    First of all, let’s be clear about this people, if it’s not made with GIN and a little vermouth, it’s not a martini! O, you can call it that if you like, but it’s a “martini.” Second of all, that’s ok. “Martinis” can be fun…, unless you put vermouth in them! Vodka does not have the pine spine to support the wine. Eschew it, and you will enjoy the pure flavors of your “martini” for the first time. Third, what a great drink! I look forward to making it with gin, Plymouth, I think would be a good choice, the original martini gin. Cheers!

    • Sydney says:

      @Grant: Thanks for making it all so “clear” for me. I will continue to call my drinks exactly what I like to call them, and you can call them what you like to call them on your website. Thanks!

      @Michelle: It really is – I’m definitely going to be making more of them this summer!

      @Jen: I hope you do get a chance to see some of them!

      @Anthony: I’m glad you aren’t offended by the vodka (like some people)! :)

      @Lindsay: Aw, you are so sweet. Thank you!

  6. Michelle says:

    I’ve never even had a martini! They look so chilly and refreshing though. :)

  7. Jen says:

    Thanks, Sydney! I’ve always thought I was missing something, because most people do make it seem like he is a one-character-actor. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen any of those films, so once we get moved in I’m heading to the library to check a few of those out!

    Actually I think I saw half of Goodfellas….like 6 years ago. So yes, to the library!

  8. Anthony says:

    I’m a martini fan (*hic!*), so this post was near and dear to my heart.. or maybe liver. But, I’m also a cocktail classicist, so for me it’s gin, vermouth, and two olives. (Shaken, not stirred.) Still, it look intriguing. And you’re right about the towel — if the gin or vodka is properly chilled before mixing (in other words, in the freezer), the shaker becomes a deep-freeze weapon!


  9. Lindsay says:

    Ok… I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I absolutely ADORE it!!! Love the recipes you post, the way you write….everything! You rock!

  10. Dana says:

    That sounds like the right kind of martini. I’m such an easy drunk, there is no way I could drink Robert De Niro under the table.

  11. Melissa says:

    I’m in the process of making these right now, but I’m using Hendrick’s gin as I have no vodka, sorry Bob!

    I’m glad I don’t work until noon tomorrow after seeing how much booze is in these things! So excited to try it, I love your site and all your recipes :)


  12. Katie says:

    This is most definitely a classy way to drink vodka.

  13. Concerned Citizen says:

    Clearly, you are mistaken on what it means to supreme a lemon.

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