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Shake or Stir

Posted by Josh Childs  July 30, 2012 09:52 AM

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Ian Fleming most famously wrote and created the idea of “shaken, not stirred” in the classic novel “Dr. No.” Actually much earlier, in Casino Royale he had Bond ordering (and inventing) a Vesper cocktail- shaken. But is he responsible? Watch the “Thin Man” movie clip montage below and you’ll see Nick Charles shaking away. I believe the overwhelming technique from the 30s-90s was to shake. Everything.

But here’s the general rule of thumb- if the cocktail’s ingredients are all liquor, stir; if they include fruit juice, shake (of course there are exceptions, the Vesper being merely one). Stirred gives a silkier, smoother texture, shaken adds more oxygen, thoroughly integrates ingredients, and does get the drink colder. But if done to a Manhattan for example- the imbiber pays the price- a muted, icey one at that.

Honestly, I shook the hell out of all drinks I made for years (and have bum shoulders to prove it), but I’ve consumed plenty of shaken Manhattans that I certainly enjoyed. Now, however, I even have bar spoons that I prefer for the way they stir- wow. What would James Bond think?

Vesper (as ordered by Mr. Bond):
“Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

Vesper (variation)
2oz Gin
1oz Vodka
.5oz Lillet
Shake all ingredients with ice- the idea is ice cold and slightly diluted. I like the ice chards in this drink but use a fine strainer to remove when pouring (this is double straining) if desired. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon peel.

vesper.jpg

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