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Published November 08 2012

Benshoof: Finding my inner Shoof, Benshoof

FARGO – It’s Shoof. Benshoof.

With today’s release of “Skyfall,” the latest James Bond film starring Daniel Craig, I wanted to learn how to make the perfect 007 martini.

But before I could learn to drink like Bond, I felt I needed to look and feel like Bond.

So on Wednesday I went to Great Clips and presented a picture of Daniel Craig as inspiration for my new hairstyle (which turns out isn’t all that different from my standard cut). Then I strapped on my new black bowtie and pulled on my tuxedo jacket.

Looking like a true MI6 agent (and boy, did I look and feel suave – I could’ve charmed the shell off a pistachio in that getup), I headed over to John Alexander’s Martini Bar in Moorhead to learn the art of the classic drink.

There, bartender Katie Fishell explained to me that a traditional martini is made of gin and vermouth, although there are also plenty of different variations on the recipe (in past films, Bond has ordered a vodka martini, for example).

In the movies, the superspy almost always asked for his martini to be “shaken, not stirred.”

So, I asked Fishell, what’s the difference?

Turns out it partially has to do with temperature, she told me (“shaken” means you’re shaking the drink over ice).

“The drink mixes with the ice, and that keeps it colder,” she said.

More than that, the interaction between the ice crystals and the gin also can create a more bitter taste, she added, as she finished mixing a Bond-character-inspired Vesper Martini for me.

From right out of the pages of “Casino Royale” by Sir Ian Fleming, the Vesper Martini is made of three shots of Gordon’s gin, one shot of vodka and half a shot of Lillet Blanc. It’s then shaken well over ice and garnished with a lemon peel.

The Vesper is always available at John Alexander’s and is a dry, refreshing and very strong drink.

Sitting there in the dimly lit bar with a martini in my hand, the smoothest man in sight (granted, I was the only man in the bar at the time), I truly felt like 007 himself.

OK, maybe not quite. My bosses had nixed my requests for fancy new gadgets earlier in the day, and Dame Judi Dench, who plays ‘M’ in “Skyfall,” still isn’t returning my phone calls.

She’s probably just busy. I’ll try again later.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535