Shaken, not stirred


The original Bond Martini (“Vesper Martini“) was invented by author Ian Fleming for Casino Royale, the first James Bond book, in 1953. It is 3 parts gin, 1 part vodka and ½ part Lillet. It differs from a classic martini as it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of vermouth, and lemon peel instead of an olive. Bond later named this recipe after his then lover named Vesper.

Gin, vodka, and vermouth are largely clear spirits. Classic bartender’s opinion is that clear spirits should be stirred and not shaken so that the cocktail does not become cloudy with air bubbles or splintered ice. As a rule, only cocktail ingredients that have either a different color or a different consistency are shaken so that the components are well mixed.

If you shake a mixture of large and small particles, the so-called Brazil nut effect (granular convection) happens when the largest particles end up on the surface of a mixture of variously sized objects. A vodka martini consists of large and small particles. The flavor molecules are the big particles whereas the alcohol molecules are small.

This means that James Bond is a connoisseur of cold drinks on the run: He shakes the taste to the surface, and as he’s always in a hurry, he only drinks one sip at a time. By shaking the drink it cools down faster because it comes more intensively into contact with the ice than by stirring. That’s why he orders his drinks “Shaken, not stirred.” 

Read also about the Queen Mother’s Cocktail, and the Sourtoe Cocktail.