Famously, James Bond wanted his Martini “shaken not stirred”. A fact most people don’t know is that this line was the opposite of what was written in the books and used in the films because they thought it sounded better! But why is this request so controversial? To understand why, we must look at what shaking and stirring really do…
Stirring and shaking both cool and dilute a drink. In fact, 90 to 120 seconds of stirring will eventually cool and dilute a drink the same amount as 15 to 20 seconds of shaking. So, why is the difference between them so important?
Well, they’re very different actions. Stirring is gentle. Its only effect is to chill and dilute the drink. Stirring produces a silky feel with a pure dilution, giving the drink an enticing clarity. Shaking, on the other hand, is far more violent. Shaking actually changes the texture of a drink and aerates it, giving it a cloudier appearance. The shaking process binds together ingredients in a way that stirring simply wouldn’t be able to.
Back to the Martini! Martinis should be “stirred not shaken” because the rapid movement of shaking would melt the ice more and dilute the drink too much, and the drink is more likely to be cloudy rather than clear. The alcohol is “bruised” and takes away from the ideal flavour. This makes for a very undesirable Martini.
Which drinks should be shaken? And which should be stirred? The general rule is that drinks with clear ingredients should be stirred and drinks with cloudy ingredients (such as fruit juices, egg white or cream) should be shaken. So, you should shake a Cosmopolitan, Mai Tai, New Orleans Fizz, or Ward Eight, and you should stir an Imperial Cocktail, Manhattan, or Negroni.
Of course, we don’t like to tell you how to have your drinks! And rules are made to be broken after all, so if you must shake your Martini make sure you do two things: (1) don’t tell us and (2) give your drink the best possible shake with a premium shaker from the Beaumont range. For the sane Martini drinkers among us, check out our cocktail spoons!