DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

To Shake A Martini

"The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time." - Nick Charles in The Thin Man (1934)

You're determined to shake the Martini. You've heard the purists, such as DCDrinks, denigrate the shaken not stirred crowd, but you still appreciate the cool shards thrown from the shaker as the ice crashes against the tin walls and causes little pools of cool water to form atop the oily skin of the Martini. What we consider an annoyance and distraction, you relish as the only rightful way to cool the gin and vermouth combo. OK, we'll have to agree to disagree, but then we must clear a few things up first.

There is a difference between shaking and stirring. Shaking reduces the temperature quicker and, in the case of fruit juices, sugar and eggs, is a better way to blend the ingredients. Sugar and eggs need to be obliterated in the shaker, as Lonnie mentioned in his last post on the Pisco Sour. Therefore, for fruit juice, sugar and egg drinks, shaking makes sense.

Stirring blends ingredients in a less forceful way, and reduces the amount of water and air added by shaking. Water isn't a bad thing, but overdone can diminish the botanicals from the gin and vermouth. Air voluminizes the beverage creating a frothy top. Who wants frothy gin and vermouth? That's why we stir.

Ice is a big deal, too. To shake, you must start with proper ice cubes. Small, whitish cracked cubes will double your efforts causing a frothy, watery mess. Use large cubes without holes and virtually clear of white blotches. White blotches are pockets of air.

Lastly, never-ever order a Martini "shaken not stirred" unless you're f-ckin' James Bond. Bond originally ordered the Vesper Martini anyway, at least according to the man who wrote the book: Ian Fleming. "Shaken not stirred" comes from the Bond movies and is part of a marketing spiel for vodka. It's as lame as going to Burger King and saying "Where's the Beef?" (See Top Ten Five Mistakes.)

Now you know.


At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Jase Viennan said...

Inspired by the last two entries, I just made myself an Aviation as a fizz--not so bad!

At 4:54 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Anyone know where to buy orange bitters in DC area? thanks

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Regan's Orange Bitters: ABC Liquors on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan.


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