When Daniel Craig accepted the role of James Bond in the latest James Bond film Casino Royale two years ago, he did what any self-respecting actor who had just taken on the part of a lifetime would do—he spent an evening getting very inebriated.
But not with the help of just any drink.
The 38-year-old English thespian chose a very Bond-friendly cocktail, namely, the vodka martini.
“Just a few,” Craig says, a sly grin creeping across his face, when asked in an interview just how many of the libation he poured through that night.
“A good one, there’s nothing like it. I’m not bad at mixing them, either. I used to do that in pubs and bars so I’m quite particular about them.”
So, too, is the iconic character that he plays.
The term ‘shaken, not stirred’ — Bond’s preferred method of mixing his martinis — was first mentioned by 007 in Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel Diamonds Are Forever.
The line was first recited by Sean Connery, the first of six actors to play the part—Craig included—in the 1964 film Goldfinger.
|Since then ‘shaken, not stirred’ has become one of the most repeated movie quotations in history—the American Film Institute listed the line at number 90 on their 2005 ranking of the best movies quotes of all time.
But despite his preference for the vodka-based cocktail, Bond, like the author who created him, enjoyed a wide range of drinks from mint juleps to straight bourbon.
“He’s someone who, wherever he is in the world, he likes to immerse himself in the culture,” says series producer Barbara Broccoli. “He’ll order whatever it is. I think the whole thing about the vodka is that it’s very clean, very neutral and strong.”
And its use considered incorrect, at least in purist mixology circles.
A proper martini should be prepared with gin, not vodka. That stipulation aside, since the Second World War, the increasing use of vodka in martinis has become widely accepted.
Bond’s preference for a shaken martini is strictly verboten in professional bartending circles, according to Tony Micelotta, head bartender at The Dukes Hotel in London; The Dukes is where Fleming often drank and whose carefully-crafted martinis, according to legend, inspired Bond’s taste for such strong refreshments.
“The first thing you learn is that you never shake something that doesn’t need to be shaken. There must be a reason to shake something,” Micelotta says of a bartender’s golden rule.
“In this case it’s almost only the spirit without any additional thick ingredients, so if you shake it you bruise it and you dilute it so much. The shaken, but not stirred was just a way of saying ‘I’m James Bond.’”
Bruising, as aficionados understand, is what happens when spirits are overzealously mixed resulting in a change in taste.
Skeptics questioning the validity of Micelotta’s claims should take note—a 1999 study conducted by the University Of Western Ontario’s Department of Biochemistry analyzing martini preparation and the influence it has on the cocktail’s antioxidant capacity found that, indeed, the shaken variety were more effective at breaking down hydrogen peroxide than their stirred cousins.
In simpler, scientifically-proven terms, Bond was correct that his version of the martini tasted different than the original. Purists argue that this preference for an ice-cold martini actually ruined the overall experience.
But improper or not, who’s going to argue with someone who carries a license to kill?
Alessandro Palazzi, Barman Dukes Hotel, creator Bond Drink, “Fleming 89”.