Thanks to James Bond, the Martini is probably the most famous drink in movie history. Even those of us abstaining from alcohol know that the agent on her majesty’s secret service prefers his “Shaken, not stirred”. While the very first Bond novel, CASINO ROYALE, mentions this method, novel Bond actually doesn’t use the phrase until 1958’s DR. NO. In the movie series, Dr. No offers Bond a shaken Martini in the 1962 film. The catchphrase is used by movie Bond for the first time in 1964’s GOLDFINGER.

Movie buffs might think it’s a cool and cosmopolitan way to order a Martini. To most bartenders, it’s a faux pas

From a professional point of view, a Martini should be stirred in a cocktail shaker (yes, we know…), never shaken, before being strained into a chilled cocktail glass.

There are two common explanations for this:

  • A Martini should always be clear. During shaking, small fragments of ice cloud the drink, which only slowly resolves to a clear state again.
  • The shaking is said to have a diluting effect on the drink, thus it ends up being ever so slightly watered down.

Did James Bond mastermind Ian Fleming let his 00-agent order the drink the “wrong” way because he just didn’t know better or so that Bond, James Bond is different from the rest of us? Theories abound: Fleming preferred the drink served this way himself. He may have also been inspired by the 1930 SAVOY COCKTAIL BOOK, where all Martini recipes call for it to be shaken. Rumor has it that Fleming was partial to the shaken Martinis of German bartender Hans Schröder. While fans of the 007 movies understand Bond’s drink of choice to be a vodka Martini, Bond orders 19 vodka Martinis versus 16 traditional gin Martinis in the novels.

In CASINO ROYALE, Fleming invented the now classic Vesper Martini. Named after the series’ first Bond girl, it is made with gin and vodka. In the 2006 movie version, James goes into great detail about how this drink should be prepared. Later in the movie, he orders another martini and snaps “Do I look like I give a damn?” when he is asked whether he would like it shaken or stirred. In 2015’s SPECTRE, Bond orders a dirty martini. Garnished with a green olive, it is stir— I mean shaken— with a bit of olive brine.

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[Editor’s Note: Based on an article written by Frank Kämmer and originally published on our German language blog.]