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Shaken vs. Stirred: Martini Temperature

Why would someone care about the manner in which their martini was mixed?

Stirring is the world's favorite manner of mixing fluids, probably because it is much easier and requires less equipment than shaking. If shaking is superior, I was determined to find out why.

I needed to find a club which served drinks. Just kidding! Every club serves drinks.

I wanted to find the ideal spot for this project, a club which would let me take photos of their bartenders while being entombed in a house music. Also, I didn't want to pay a cover. After several minutes of bribing doormen and ignoring Yelp reviews, I found one. The lucky location was called "The Mix" in Sacramento. If anyplace knew how to mix, it would be this place.

I knew this experiment would require some help, so I recruited a candidate to fill the role of Bond girl: Brooke.

We ordered two vodka martinis, one shaken, one stirred. We had informed the bartender of our test. She knew the stakes and prepared the drinks simultanously to help eliminate any time-critical discrepancies.

The finished martinis looked spectacular.

Next, I pulled out my assassin's thermometer from a hidden pocket and took some readings.

The shaken martini was incredibly cold. 32.9°F. Just a hair above the freezing point of water.
Brooke and I puzzled for a moment, forgetting if the temperature of a water-based drink could dip below freezing.

Yes. It can. Ice in the solution can be frozen to temperatures far below zero, and the alcohol in the vodka would move the freezing point of the martini down to many degrees below zero Celcius.

Next we measured the temperature of the stirred martini.

It was slightly warmer! 33.6°F.

At the time, I thought that wasn't a a very large temperature difference. Less than one single degree Fahrenheit.

Later research filled in the gap. Here's what I learned: Vodka martinis are vile drinks. At room temperature they are described as "having a taste like lighter fluid ". Very cold temperatures are one of the only ways to make the drink palatable.

So, although the temperature difference in our two drinks wasn't significant, we had evidence to support a case for shaking as the best method of mixing where high drink temperature could be a spoiling factor.

Would a secret agent find himself in such a place? Perhaps. IF refrigeration is controlled by a single multi-national company, and IF their pricing scheme is squeezing the ordinary citizens dry...

Then yes! Agents are needed! Hop in your Austin Martins Gentlemen! We are driving to mystic Siam!

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