Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shake or stir?

There was an article in New Scientist at Christmas time discussing some of the myths surrounding alcohol. (I can't find the whole thing online unfortunately.) One of the questions it pondered was whether martinis should be shaken or stirred. Fans of James Bond will have one opinion, while others may tend toward Jed Bartlet's view in The West Wing:

President Jed Bartlet: Can I tell you what's messed up about James Bond?

Charlie Young: Nothing.

President Jed Bartlet: Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.

Still, as the New Scientist piece (also this similar article) make plain, there are points in favour of shaking, especially with a vodka martini in the 1950s when vodka tended to be potato-based. (Indeed, in Moonraker Bond sprinkles a little black pepper into his neat vodka so as to cause the fusel oil to sink to the bottom: even with grain-based Stolichnaya he felt the precaution necessary back then.)

So little though I like the idea of my hero's having feet of clay, Bartlet was wrong about vodka martinis at least. (Come to that, he thought Beowulf was written in Middle English, so Nobel Prizewinner or not, he clearly wasn't infallible.)


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