“Shaken, not stirred”, is perhaps one of the most quoted adage’s in the English language when it comes to drinking. It may be Mr. Bond’s favourite method of making a martini, but mixologists everywhere consider it sacrilege.
The fictional 007 likes his cocktail shaken because that’s how his real-life creator, author Ian Fleming, preferred his. A Fleming biographer, Andrew Lycett, postulates that Fleming was a “shaken” man because he believed that stirring diluted a drink’s flavour. If only the champion drinker Fleming, who was known at one point to quaff a bottle of gin per day, had paid more attention to professionals, he may have changed his order.
The first reason that mixologists shun the shake is presentation. A shaken cocktail becomes cloudy and when poured does not have the same pleasant esthetic as a more lightly treated drink. Although if your benchmark for this rationale are Bond movies, you may notice that his martinis appear as cloudless as a summer desert sky. Just goes to show you shouldn’t believe everything you see in the movies!
Secondly, a jiggled gin is significantly more watered down than its stirred equivalent. For instance, this study performed by Gizmodo for its weekend Happy Hour column showed that a shaken martini put on a shockingly high 46 grams of extra water weight where as their stirred martini gained a mere 16 grams. Another look by the liquor enthusiast blog, Proof 66, showed similar results of dilution.
Thirdly, there’s the question of touch on the tongue. The air bubbles in a shaken martini transform the texture of the cocktail which bothers some connoisseurs, although obviously not Fleming who may not have noticed much anyway after the first drink from his bottle-a-day habit.
In the shakers’ defence, however, the theory of “bruising” the gin has been debunked. Certain snobs feel that shaking increases the bitterness of the gin making the martini unpleasant but in reality, one can’t “bruise” an alcohol as one would a peach. Additionally, shaking increases the natural anti-oxidants in the gin making their martini healthier, if you consider cocktails as part of a well-balanced diet.
So next time you’re at the bar and feeling like a young, cocky Sean Connery, remember the mixologist preference and order your gin martini stirred. Or, if shaking works for you, James Bond isn’t a bad character to emulate:-)