Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vodka Martini - Shaken, not Stirred

Hi All,

One of the most famous statement of Hollywood film industry is "Shaken, not Stirred ..." Ever wondered about this typically different yet radically catchy Bond one-liner ??? Today I am going to tell you about the origin of this one ... Read on .....

"Shaken, not stirred" is a catch phrase of Ian Fleming's fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond, and his preference for how he wished his Martini prepared. James Bond is known to have a affinity for Vodka Martini in high profile parties or Casinos and Bars. However, he usually mentions it to be only shaken and not stirred. The phrase first appears in the novel Diamonds Are Forever (1956), though Bond does not actually say the line until Dr. No (1958). It was first uttered in the films by Sean Connery in Goldfinger in 1964 (though the villain Dr. Julius No offers this drink and utters those words in the first film, Dr. No, in 1962). It was used in numerous Bond films thereafter with the notable exceptions of You Only Live Twice, in which the drink is offered stirred, not shaken (Bond, ever the gentleman and not wanting to cause his polite host embarrassment brushes it off, telling his host it's perfect), and Casino Royale, in which, asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, Bond replies, "Do I look like I give a damn?"

Bond first ordered a drink to be shaken in Fleming's novel Casino Royale (1953) when he requested a drink of his own invention which would later be referred to as a "Vesper", named after the Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. James Bond ordered this drink to commemorate his strong feelings for its namesake Vesper, who was also one of the 2 girls in Bond’s life with whom he had extremely strong emotional attachments (the other girl is 'Tracy di Vicenzo', whom Bond actually marries before she was shot and killed). After just meeting his CIA contact Felix Leiter for the first time, Bond orders the drink from a barman while at the casino.

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'

'Oui, monsieur.'

'Just a moment. 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?'

'Certainly monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.

Bond laughed. 'When I',' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.'

Casino Royale, Chapter 7: Rouge et Noir (1953)

A “Vesper” differs from Bond's usual cocktail of choice, the Martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive. In the same scene Bond gives more details about the Vesper telling the same barman that vodka made from grain instead of potatoes makes the drink even better. Russian and Polish vodkas were also always preferred by Bond if they were in stock. Although there is a lot of discussion on the Vesper, it is only ordered once throughout Fleming's novels and by later books Bond is ordering regular vodka martinis, though he also drinks regular gin martinis. In total Bond orders 19 vodka martinis and 16 gin martinis throughout Fleming's novels and short stories (obviously the offered Vodka martinis are discarded from this calculation).

Since many of the original ingredients from 1953 are no longer available or have been reformulated, several variations are available that attempt to recapture the original flavour of the drink "Vesper" :

  The original recipe called for Kina Lillet. Lillet Blanc (also known as Lillet Blonde) is a typical replacement.
  Dry Vermouth (e.g. Cinzano Extra Dry) may be used as an expedient in the place of Lillet Blanc if it is unavailable.
  To recreate the original bitter flavour of Kina Lillet, add a dash or two of Angostura bitters or a pinch (1/16 of a teaspoon) of Quinine powder.
  For a more traditional flavour, use 100-proof Stolichnaya Vodka to bring the alcohol content of the Vodka back to 1953 levels (it was also one of James Bond's favorite brands along with Smirnoff in later days).
  Likewise, Tanqueray Gin provides the traditional flavour of 94-proof gin; whereas Gordon's Gin was reformulated to less than 80-proof.
  Some esoteric Bond fans may prefer to substitute Boodles British Gin, as it is named for Boodle's gentlemen's club, of which Ian Fleming was a member.
  A cocktail glass, which is larger today than was common in 1953, is often substituted for the deep Champagne goblet (see Champagne stemware for the original look of the drink)
  A "Green Vesper" substitutes absinthe for the Kina Lillet. Lime peel may be substituted for lemon.
  A "Matin" substitutes the Italian aperitif Campari for the Kina Lillet, and reverses the proportions of gin and vodka.

Esquire printed the following update of the recipe in 2006:

"Shake (if you must) with plenty of cracked ice. Mix 3 oz Tanqueray gin, 1 oz 100-proof Stolichnaya vodka, 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc, 1/8 teaspoon (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and twist a large swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.”

Usage in the Bond Films :-

Sean Connery

The shaken Martini is mentioned twice in the first Bond film Dr. No (1962.) Once when Bond had presumably ordered a drink from Room Service to his hotel room, it is mixed by a waiter, who says "one medium dry vodka martini mixed like you said, sir, but not stirred" (a slice of lime was in the bottom of the glass.) And again when Dr. No presents Bond with a drink and says "A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred."

Bond did not vocally order one himself until Goldfinger (1964). However, in the 1967 film You Only Live Twice, Bond's contact Henderson, prepares a Martini for Bond and says "That's, um, stirred not shaken. That was right, wasn't it?" To which Bond replies politely, "Perfect." Since then, each Bond has himself ordered the drink, except for two.

George Lazenby

George Lazenby's Bond doesn't actually order for a Drink in his only film On her Majesty's Secret Service. He has some other drinks like island Rum and Whiskey but never orders for the Vodka Martini.

Roger Moore

Roger Moore's Bond never actually ordered one himself, but has one ordered for him several times, nonetheless. In the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, Major Amasova orders him one. In Moonraker, his drink is prepared by Manuela. In Octopussy, Octopussy herself greets Bond by mixing his drink.

Timothy Dalton

Timothy Dalton's Bond ordered his trademark Martini in each of his films. During The Living Daylights he and Kara arrive in Austria where he orders a martini "Shaken, not stirred" shortly after entering their hotel. For his second film, Licence To Kill he doesn't directly order it. Instead, he tells Pam Bouiver what drink he'd like as he plays Blackjack.

Pierce Brosnan

In Die Another Day, Bond is coming back on a rather turbulent British Airways flight. The air hostess (played by Roger Moore's daughter Deborah) serves him his martini, to which Bond replies "Luckily I asked for it shaken". However in World is not Enough, Bond orders for a Martini in a Bar, but it was more due to initiate a conversation.

Daniel Craig

The Vesper was reused in the 2006 film version of Casino Royale, while Bond is playing poker to defeat Le Chiffre. Daniel Craig's Bond ordered the drink in Casino Royale providing great detail about how it should be prepared. Later though when the barman asks whether he would like a Martini shaken or stirred, the younger and less experienced Bond snaps, after losing the poker tournament, "Do I look like I give a damn?"

This phrase has become a recognizable catch phrase in western popular culture, and has appeared in many number of films, television programs and video games for its cliché value.

Now have a go and invent your own Recipe ... Cheers !!!!! ;-)

Satadru Roy

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