I think we all remember the famous line from James Bond, where he orders a martini and utters the now infamous line “Shaken, not stirred”. It sounds cool, and it even looks cool when the bartender makes it that way but is it really the best option for the drink. What I mean is, does the drink actually gain anything by being shaken as opposed to being stirred? Well, we’re about to find out.
The Science Behind Shaken, Not Stirred
We’ll start looking at some of the evidence for whether or not you should shake or stir a Martini. First up, we’ll be looking at an article by Brent Rose entitled Shaken or Stirred: “Which Gets You Drunker? A Scientific Exploration”. In this study they used equal amounts of everything to ensure accuracy and they then measured the results. Here’s a breakdown of what they did.
In order to ensure equal melting of the ice cubes they used an ice cube tray and put 25 grams of water into each part of the tray. They used a cheap, 80 proof vodka for testing purposes. The room temperature was confirmed to be at 73 degrees fahrenheit.
Per Rose in his article: “To calculate the contents of the shaken and stirred samples, we used a digital scale to measure how much water weight the solution gained, and a distilling hydrometer—called a Proof and Tralle Hydrometer—to measure proof. This thing is pretty cool: It floats in a vial of liquid, with preset levels corresponding to the solution’s ABV. We tested the hydrometer’s accuracy by checking still water, then uncut Georgi vodka, and it dialed up dead-on measurements of 0 proof and 80 proof, respectively. Excellent.”
In both drinks they added 70 grams of vodka, five of the pre-measured ice cubes, and then placed solution A into a shaker and shook the solution for 30 seconds. Solution B was put in a glass and stirred for 30 seconds. Once finished, both drinks were strained into martini glasses and set aside.
The results were interesting once they started to test different aspects of each solution. The shaken solution was measured at 29 degrees fahrenheit, while the stirred cocktail was measured at 38.1 degrees. The shaken cocktail is definitely colder.
The next test was weight. The two cocktails started off at 70 grams. When measured after being stirred the cocktail had gone up to 86 grams. This is the result of water melting and adding to the solution. The shaken cocktail went way up to 116 grams. It gained 46 grams from water weight. That is more than half of the original weight.
Now we get to the most telling test. They went back to the Proof and Tralle Hydrometer to measure ABV. The stirred drink had gone from 80 proof down to 60 proof because of the addition of the melted ice. The shaken drink dropped incredibly from 80 proof to 45 proof, or nearly half.
So we learned two things from this experiment. Shaken drinks most definitely make your drink colder, while stirred drinks definitely retain more of the alcohol.
In another study, Biochemists at the University of Western Ontario in Canada studied these same preparations and the effects they had on the antioxidant count for Martini’s. The study found that the shaken gin martinis were able to break down hydrogen peroxide and leave only 0.072% of peroxide, while the stirred gin martini left 0.157%.So a shaken martini has more antioxidants than a stirred one and therefore is healthier for you, if even by a miniscule amount.
The other differences that were noted in some of the studies are some general guidelines. Fruit based or dark drinks serve better because shaking tends to make the mixture cloudy. This isn’t noticeable in most fruit based or dark drinks but can be very noticeable in clear drinks. Clear drinks on the other hand fair better being stirred so there isn’t a cloudy look or in some cases, small particles floating around in it.
Tools Of The Trade
Whether you want your martini shaken or stirred, here are the tools that you’re going to need in order to build the perfect martini.
A covered Ice tray – It helps keep the ice as fresh as possible
A muddler Barspoon – You can crush herbs with one side and stir with the other.
Orange Bitters – Many martini variations call for this ingredient.
Stainless Steel Shake – For when you want it shaken, not stirred.
Premium Julep Strainer – perfect fit for your martini glasses
Double SIded Jigger – Measurements are the key
You can make it easy on yourself and order this complete kit from Amazon.
Recipes For Martinis
The Dirty Martini
- In a mixing glass, combine vodka, dry vermouth, brine and olives.
- Pour into a glass over ice.
- Either drink on the rocks, or strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- In mixing glass or cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin and vermouth.
- Stir well, about 20 seconds, then strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with olive and serve.
- Place all ingredients into a shaker.
- shake and strain into a freshly chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with thin slice of jalapeno.
Lemon Drop Martini
- Combine ingredients into an ice-filled shaker.
- Shake until sugar is dissolved, then strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with lemon twists.