"The Idle Historian, who knows a thing or two about the consumption of alcohol, but never before lunch, advised me that he is ‘firm, of course, on it being stirred and not shaken. One cannot bruise the delicate, healthful molecules of gin... (and, of course, it MUST be gin, not vodka)’."
Quite. These are serious, weighty matters indeed. I endorse Plymouth Gin, a flavourful yet delicate concoction. There are many fine gins in the "unusual" (more expensive) category -- such as Hendricks and British Columbia's own Victoria Gin -- but Plymouth remains an excellent standard choice. The pleasures of the well-made martini are incomparable, whether enjoyed in company or on one's own at the end of a busy day. Find your perfect formulation and repeat as necessary.