Bond shaking when he should be stirring: experts

30th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

By Christian Roewekamp, dpa 30 November 2006

By Christian Roewekamp, dpa
30 November 2006

Hamburg (dpa) - Should a proper martini be "shaken or stirred?" - millions of cinemagoers may like to ponder this perplexing question when they retire to a bar after watching the latest James Bond movie.

Alongside the classic opener of: "My name is Bond, James Bond", the line in which a barkeeper asks the fictional secret agent how he likes his martini has been featured in every 007 film to date. Casino Royale, which has just gone on general release in Europe, is no exception.

According to some experts in Germany, Bond's eccentric drinking habits are proof that he enjoys breaking the rules of alcoholic beverage etiquette. It seems he orders his martini "the wrong way," contravening what every novice barkeeper is taught.

"A classic Martini is stirred. This is always done when two alcohols are mixed with one another," explains Bernd Ohlmeier, a Hamburg-based of the respected German Barkeeper Union (DBU). Cocktails are generally shaken when two liquids of a different consistency are combined, such as a clear alcohol and a cloudy juice.

From a taste point of view, there is scarcely any difference between a stirred or a shaken Martini, admit the top barkeepers. "The shaking motion does make the ice cubes melt more quickly and this may diminish the flavour of the drink," said Ulf Neuhaus, another expert who heads the DBU's Dresden branch.

These nuances are too subtle for most people's taste buds to detect, said Neuhaus, who pointed out that the easiest way to spot the two types of martini drink is by looking at them - shaken martinis appear cloudier than those which are stirred.

There is also disagreement over what constitutes a genuine "James Bond-style martini." The classic martini drink consists of four centilitres of gin along with two centilitres of vermouth and an olive, said Ohlmeier. Mixing four parts of vodka with two of vermouth results in a rather un-Bond-like creation known as a "vodkatini."

Bond creator Ian Fleming is said, by the way, to have preferred his martinis with gin and vodka, ­ a combination which German bartenders frown upon. The two clear alcohols can be found together in a range of cocktails but combining them with martini does not conform to German practice, the experts opined.

Naturally, a guest who asks at the bar for his martini to be "shaken, not stirred" will receive his drink just as he prefers it. "After all, the customer is always right," said Ohlmeier who nevertheless cannot resist telling those sufficiently interested that the stirred version amounts to something of a faux pas.

Daniel Craig, the actor who plays the latest incarnation of Bond in Casino Royale, seems untroubled the controversy. Asked by a barkeeper in the new film whether he would like his martini stirred or shaken, he replies: "Do I look as if I give a damn?"

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Subject: German news

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