Shaken or stirred
Last Monday I attended a cocktail event hosted by the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association, Calgary chapter. The purpose was to test the effect on a shaken vs. stirred martini; temperature & dilution. Before I get into any specifics; I’ll give you a brief history on the martini.
The generally accepted origin of the Martini begins in San Francisco in 1862. A cocktail named after nearby the town of Martinez was served at the Occidental Hotel. People drank at the hotel before taking the evening ferry to Martinez across the bay. The original cocktail consisted of two ounces of Italian “Martini and Rosso” sweet vermouth, one ounce Old Tom sweet gin, which has an interesting black licorice quality, two dashes maraschino cherry liquid, one dash bitters, shaken, and served with a twist of lemon. I don’t know a single bartender, myself included, that if asked to pour a Martini would present this concoction. If you dive deep into the martini you see another few anecdotal descriptors of the historic beverage. However purists of the 19th century insist the drink to be 4:1 Gin to dry white vermouth finished with an olive or a lemon twist.
When ordering a martini most would say, “Dry, please,” meaning a stiffer ratio gin to vermouth, example 5:1 or 6:1. Some tools, I mean people, order a martini and expect cold glass of gin or vodka with 9 olives. Maybe that was their drink of choice, in the womb. Dry and sweet are confusing terms when you go from every other beverage jargon to martinis. Dry wines or cocktails are the opposite of sweet, now the opposite of a dry martini is a wet martini. Now, if your paying attention you can probably guess that wet is a high quantity of vermouth. It’s not the most appealing beverage too most and rarely will someone ask for a wet martini. This is were a lot of you will be confused “May I please have a sweet-dry martini.” This means 5:1 spirit gin or vodka to sweet vermouth. I’ve never encountered it but they do exist.
Anyways, back to Monday, the results of the method test were pretty interesting. The effects of shaking a martini get it cold faster, and add more oxygen into the mixture (gets cloudy for minute) and increased its volume from 60ml to about 130mls. Side note have any of you ordered 6 shots of espresso vodka, then you paid for 6 shots, and the bartender shook it really hard and poured 6 perfect shots? How many shots did you pay for and how many did he or she ring in. If I’m in a club and see this going on, I’ll order 3 shots shaken into 6. Might catch a dirty look but what that bartender is doing is illegal and immoral. Moving on, now the effects of stirring the martini, it took a bit more time to stir the martini down to a desirable temperature and it didn’t get cloudy, also doubled in volume with ice melt, expected. The surprising part too the group and myself, was that both martinis were poured into chilled martini glasses, and the stirred martini stayed colder longer.
So to conclude, the real difference is preference. If you want your drink fast and you’re going to slam it down, shake it, James Bond is a bad ass and you can be too. If you’re not in a rush, let them stir it so it can stay colder for longer well you enjoy it but James Bond would disapprove.
Please Drink Responsibly