James Bond cocktail consultant Erik Lorincz. Photo by Ken McKay/Shutterstock
In Ian Fleming’s stories, James Bond orders 19 vodka martinis.
He drank two in Dr No, the first film adaptation, and his preference to have it “shaken, not stirred” flows through most of the movies. But what’s the difference?
There’s nobody better to ask than Erik Lorincz. Born in Slovakia, he’s a former World Class Bartender of the Year.
While head bartender at The Savoy’s American Bar in London (named the world’s best bar when Lorincz was at the helm) he found himself serving Bond producer Barbara Broccoli about a decade ago.
A friend jokingly suggested she bring him into the world of Bond.
“It was almost a year later I received a call from a phone number ending 007,” Lorincz remembers. It was Broccoli.
“She said, ‘Hey Erik, I would like you to come on board and help us make sure that when Bond’s ordered a martini that it comes out perfectly like it would from your hands.’ I was like, sure, absolutely.”
On the set of Skyfall, Lorincz helped the actor “hold the jigger, hold the bottle, pour into the jigger, pour into the shaker, grab the shaker and shake it like the person had done this every day for 10 years” – all for a scene that was edited down to seconds.
Lorincz has remained the cocktail consultant on the films since and in No Time To Die, Bond is back on his trademark drink.
So what is the secret of shaking rather than stirring?
“Shaking the martini, it gets much colder,” Lorincz explains. “If you stir a martini, you would reach a temperature of about 0C but when you shake a martini, you would get to -6C, -8C.
“If I put two martinis next to each other and one was shaken and one was stirred, you would notice the difference straight away.
“The one which is stirred would taste much stronger on a sip. The alcohol would be much more pronounced. When alcohol is colder, you don’t actually feel its strength.
“Let’s say I put ABV 40 per cent vodka into both. You would say one tastes much stronger than the other but they would be exactly the same. This is all because of the temperature.”
Controversially, however, Lorincz says stirring is a more popular way to make the drink because “you maintain the viscosity, the silkiness of the spirit”.
He compares a chef using fire to mix ingredients and flavours to a bartender doing the same with its opposite.
“For us, the tool to combine flavours is ice. Obviously, we work with different types of ingredients, whether it’s a liqueur, where the density of the liquid is much thicker because of the sugar level, or even herbs or spices, fruits, strawberries, raspberries.
“In order to mix them together you need something in the shaker that’s combining with the other liquids and that’s the ice. It also brings it to the temperature that makes the drink much more delicious, making the perfect balanced cocktail.”
Lorincz now runs Kwānt in Mayfair, one of the world’s most acclaimed cocktail bars. But even in that classy joint, how many customers come in thinking they’re James Bond and giving the bartender that line?
“You would be quite surprised,” Lorincz says. “Trust me, when the movie comes out every second martini drinker will feel like he’s Bond.”