Sean Connery celebrated his 81st birthday last week and to celebrate, Martini's, of course, darling. The Martini is posh, potent, and particular just like Mr. Bond himself. Gin, vodka, shaken, stirred, dirty, wet, dry, up, rocks, the options are endless. Now there will be Martini posts in the future not only because I love and appreciate the Martini but also because there is enough information about the Martini to write an entire novel on the subject. Today in honor of James Bond, I’ll talk about shaking and stirring.
There is much debate on the subject of stirring or shaking and as I see it, it’s a matter of personal preference. There are purists that believe there are some “rules” as to why you would shake or stir. The most common of those "rules" are:
Shake: Eggs and dairy (always) and sometimes juice
Stir: drinks with only spirits
Neither: anything served neat, with soda or tonic. (duh)
A vodka martini, as Mr. Bond would order, is best served cold. In Russia, vodka is traditionally served ice cold (aka negative degrees Celsius) and since they’re kinda the authority on all things vodka, I’m going with them. That being said, the most obvious way to chill any bar beverage is to shake it. (Something chemically happens with the shaking, the alcohol, the ice, and the tin, etc. but I’m not a scientist so I’m not going into all of that). So shake the crap out of your vodka like Mr. Bond and enjoy.
Gin on the other hand needs to be handled more gently according to the Dutch, and since they are the authority on all things gin, I’m going with them on this one. Stirring with the rear end of a bar spoon in a non-reactive glass is best for delicate handling of the gin. This process chills the beverage slowly and doesn’t break the ice into tiny pieces thereby diluting or “bruising” the drink. Mixing in the bar glass supposedly reduces the “metallic” taste from the tin according to some. But really people, can you really taste a tin flavor, come on?!?
In either case there is no right or wrong even if the snobs tell you differently. Enjoy your Martini however you like because the “Professor” Jerry Thomas himself couldn’t make up his mind.
Glassware: Classic Martini glass chilled
1/8th oz of dry vermouth
3 oz Hendricks gin
2 large stuffed olives
In a bar glass pour gin over the ice and stir gently for at least 30 seconds, on a hot day stir even longer. Quickly rim the inside of your martini glass by turning the glass in your hand at a 45 degree angle coating the entirely then discard the leftover vermouth. Strain into the glass garnish and serve.
Traditionally spear 2 pimento olives although any stuffed olive will do and drop into glass. For a Gibson (my personal favorite) spear 2 cocktail onions. For a Dewtini, add one spear on stuffed peppadew.
Happy belated, Bond.