Open bar: Q closure one-night affair

Q Bar had enough headaches from ongoing renovations in the hotel lobby below. Those became migraines after police closed the cocktail joint on Friday night. Fortunately, Q fans were not booze-less in Beijing for long. The shutdown appears to have been a one-night affair, and the Martinis, Margaritas and Manhattans are again flowing.

Speaking of martinis, M-dawg sends word that “James Bond had it right.” He refers to a study by psychologist Charles Spence and chemist Andrea Sell that claims shaken martinis are tastier and healthier than stirred ones:

To these aficionados, the creation and presentation of a cocktail is a true science. Take the all-important issue of shaking rather than stirring the martini. In Canada in 1999, a group of students at the University of Western Ontario decided to test Bond’s preference in a series of experiments on gin and vodka martinis. They studied the martini’s ability to deactivate hydrogen peroxide, a substance used to bleach hair or disinfect scrapes and a potent source of the free radicals linked to ageing and disease. The detailed chemistry is not fully understood but martinis were much more effective than their basic ingredients, such as gin or vermouth, at deactivating hydrogen peroxide – and about twice as effective when shaken.

In their analysis of the results, published in the British Medical Journal, the team concluded, reasonably enough, that Bond’s excellent state of health “may be due, at least in part, to compliant bartenders”. And Sella believes that shaken martinis are not only healthier but also taste better. This is due to what experts call “mouth feel”. The shaken martini has more microscopic shards of ice, making its texture more pleasing. He plans to test this hypothesis at the Cheltenham Festival, where he is expecting no shortage of volunteers.

The article is worth a read for its look at how color, glass shape, and other factors affect our perception of alcohol. For example, Spence is quoted as saying, “Researchers have shown that people drink up to 88 per cent more when consuming drinks in short, wide glasses than in tall, narrow glasses that hold the same volume,” and, “Surprisingly, even experienced bartenders fall prey to this vertical-horizontal illusion. One study showed that veteran bartenders pour 26 per cent more alcohol into tumblers than highball glasses when measuring out a shot of spirits.”

This suggests more research is needed and, to that end, my next visit to Q Bar will include side-by-side comparisons of stirred and shaken martinis.

4 thoughts on “Open bar: Q closure one-night affair”

  1. Boyce,

    I can vouch that Q bar was alive and kicking Saturday night, at least until 1.30am when I left. I must say though, that I thought the numbers were down a little, especially for a Saturday night.

  2. From no less an expert than the American President, Jed Bartlett: “Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.”

  3. @ 8 songs,

    Good to hear, especially since its in my neighborhood.

    @ b. cheng,

    But what about those antioxidants!? By the way, given the research, wouldn’t a martini face mask do wonders for our skin?

    Cheers, Boyce

  4. I prefer my Martini stirred. Shaken makes the drink much weaker and kills the characters of the ingredients. Wine will probably provide more antioxidants and make a better mask in that sense.

Comments are closed.