Secret agent's secret revealed - shaken martinis have superior antioxidant properties to those that are stirred

December 16, 1999

(Shaken not stirred: bioanalytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis) BMJ Volume 319 18-25 December 1999 pp1600-02

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James Bond's good health may, at least in part, be due to his favourite tipple (Martini that is shaken not stirred), claim researchers from Canada in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ. Based on their study of the antioxidant properties of shaken and stirred Martinis, Colleen Trevithick and colleagues from the University of Western Ontario found that shaken Martinis were more effective in deactivating hydrogen perioxide (and therefore had stronger antioxidant properties) than the stirred variety. However they say that the reason for this is not clear.

Moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks seems to reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke and cataracts say Trevithick et al and they suggest that this may be due to the antioxidant actions of their alcohol and other natural antioxidant ingredients. As James Bond is not afflicted by cataracts or cardiovascular disease, the team set out to ascertain whether his preferred method of preparation influenced the antioxidant capacity of his drinks.

Trevithick et al found that of the two components of Martini (gin and Vermouth) Vermouth contributed more to the antioxidant properties of the drink, but that a combination of the two was most powerful. Much of the antioxidant activity of wine and whisky has been ascribed to the natural antioxidant ingredients they contain, so the authors also investigated whether this was the case with shaken and stirred Martinis. They found that the natural antioxidant contents of both shaken and stirred martinis were lower than Sauvignon white wine and whisky, and there was no significant difference between these two.

The authors conclude that shaken martinis have a superior antioxidant activity than those that are stirred, but that the reason for this is not clear. They also suggest that as James Bond does not suffer from cardiovascular disease or cataracts he is clearly only a moderate consumer of alcohol. They note, however, that they have not taken into account the possible confounding effect of eating the olives served with his drink.

Professor John Trevithick, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Tel: +1 519 661 3074/3063 Fax: +1 519 661 3175


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