When it comes to drinking alcohol, there’s nothing more annoying than a person who thinks they know everything about their drink of choice, or at least is trying very hard to give off that appearance. Think about the guy who judgmentally insists on drinking only the hoppiest of IPAs or who yells at you for putting ice in your whiskey. For one thing, look, it’s like 90 degrees outside right now and sometimes you just feel like drinking eight Coors Lights, okay? For another thing, every dipshit who talks about whiskey stones or whatever very clearly does it because they think it makes them sound like James Bond. And anyway, as a new article from Mel Magazine points out, James Bond doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, either.
Bond’s specific request for a martini “shaken, not stirred” is the most iconic drink order in popular culture. Bond has been ordering his martinis this way since the very first Ian Fleming Bond novel, Casino Royale. The problem with this is that it’s not a very good way to make a martini. The basic gist of a martini is adding vodka and vermouth to ice and stirring the drink to allow the ice to chill the mixture, but then straining the drink before serving to keep the ice from diluting it. (Garnish with olives or a lemon peel.) Shaking, you see, causes the ice to break up, therefore diluting the drink and nullifying the entire purpose of using a strainer. Shaking also causes the drink to become cloudy in real life, which Bond’s martinis never appear to be on film.
So, if shaking is the exact wrong way to mix a martini, why then would an international man of style and substance like Bond order it that way? As Mel explores, Reddit, the premiere website for people who think it’s cool to try to act like James Bond, has been trying to answer just that. Their answers, like Bond’s martinis, are mostly not very good.
One theory offered is that it’s all just a metaphor for Bond’s service to the Queen, which has left the spy himself “shaken, but not stirred.” This makes sense in that Bond himself is indeed often shaken and bruised, but the meaning of the idea that he’s never stirred (as in... he’s never moved?) doesn’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny.
Other theories offered include that Bond’s shitty martinis are a sign of his low-class origins, conversely a sign of his no-fucks-available-to-give rich guy attitude, or somehow a secret message to other spies potentially at the bar that, hey, this moron over here ordering his drink all fucked up is a secret agent too. More intriguing than those is the possibility that Bond, who in Casino Royale says he only likes to have one drink when he’s working but likes it “large and very strong and very cold,” is just an alcoholic trying to pass of his giant slushee of vodka as “one” drink.
Of course, perhaps the most plausible answer is that James Bond just likes drinking his martinis cloudy and diluted as all hell and fuck you for asking. After all, the best way to drink alcohol is any way that makes you happy without being a pain to those around you.
Still, if you’re worried about making an impression, it’s probably a good idea not to order your martini shaken, not stirred. It might make you sound like James Bond.
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