It’s that time of year again when the Sunspel polo shirts and Percol eyewear will come out. Along with the Goodyear-welted Crockett and Jones Norwichs and Rough-out suede Chukkas. And the odd Omega Seamaster Diver 300m 007 watches and of course, an Aston Martin DB5. Or two.
As well as a lot of drinks. James Bond is synonymous with booze. Top-quality booze. Mr. Perfect is the connoisseur of everything. Especially Champagne.
To tie in with Daniel Craig’s delayed last James Bond film and the 25th, “No Time to Die”, no doubt there will be Bollinger being splashed about. Perhaps even the new limited edition 007 Special Cuvee Champagne or B13.
Bolly made its first big-screen appearance in 1973’s “Live And Let Die” although Bond had been a Bollinger fan since Ian Flemings 1956 novel “Diamonds Are Forever”. Daniel Craig has been partial to Bollinger La Grande Annee 1990 and as well as R.D. 1997 and, in “Spectre”, his favorite funeral tea flute was Bollinger R.D. 2002.
Bowmore launched Black Bowmore DB5 1964 Whisky in 2020. It incorporated a genuine piston. I Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who starred as an uncredited henchman jumping into a dock and worked as a location scout for the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962) also released his 007 limited edition bottle of Fine Jamaican Rum.
James Bond is not yet a pin-up boy for Guinness. Although Daniel Craig is seen drinking bottled Heineken in “Skyfall” various Bonds in the films and books have flirted with Miller’s High Life, Lowenbrau, and Red Stripe, in the books Bond has always been more a spirit’s man. After Champagne.
In the novel “Thunderball”. Ian Fleming tells us everyone’s hero got through half a bottle of spirits day, between 60-70 proof a day”. The writer himself was once on a bottle of gin a day, reduced on doctor’s orders to three ounces. He smoked seventy cigarettes a day. He changed to bourbon from vodka believing it “expanded the cardiac muscles while scotch made them contract and better helped combat the effects of nicotine.”
“Goldfinger” starts with “Bond, with two bourbons inside him…” At Goldfinger’s ranch in the film, he drinks bourbon and branch water. In the 1969 film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, George Lazenby as the kilted Hilary Bray has a malt whisky and branch water. In “Live And Let Die” boor drinks the same in Harlem’s “Fillet of Soul” before moving on to the Sazeracs in New Orleans. In the film, “Goldeneye”, “M” pour Bond a Jack Daniel’s from a bottle kept behind her desk.
In “real life”, the late Sir Sean appeared in advertising campaigns for Dewar’s, Jim Beam, and Suntory Japanese whisky which he also drinks in “You Only Live Twice”.
Bond, in all his films and incarnations, is an indiscriminate drinker. In the “Goldfinger” book, over dinner, he consumes two vodka martinis and a pint of pink Champagne.
Champagne is mentioned around 120 times in the Bond books. “Taittinger” was Bond’s first love in the first book “Casino Royale”. But by “Moonraker” he was onto the Dom Perignon. “Bollinger” appeared in over twenty-Bond films.
Bond liked building his Old Fashioned. Daniel Craig and Dame Judy Dench enjoy Macallan 18 (Spectre) and the Isle of Skye’s Talisker in “The World Is Not Enough” and “Die Another Day”. A bottle of Macallan signed by the cast sold for nearly £10k in 2013 with the money going to a charity for the British intelligence and secret service agencies.
The books were written pre-single malts so the literary Bond drinks Haig Pinch, trademarked in the US in 1958. In William Boyd’s “Solo”, Bond drinks Haig Dimple as well as Dewar’s and Johnnie Walker. In Goldfinger, he probably drank I.W. Harper’s (The Whisky Exchange has a 60s bottle at £550). Timothy Dalton was a “Jim Beam” Bond.
According to some movie fans, Bond drinks every 10 minutes 53 seconds. Thus, the popularity of the Bond drinking game. He sips a sherry in “Diamonds Are Forever”. Apart from one Rum Collins in “Thunderball” (1969) and Mount Gay in “Casino Royale” rum gets only an occasional look into both the books and films which is surprising since the books were all written at Fleming’s Goldeneye in Jamaica, and rum was the killer ingredient in his party standby, “Old Man’s Thing.”
But it is chilled medium dry vodka that Bond is most associated with. Dr. No came up with “shaken but not stirred” first. Bond says it first on camera in “Diamonds Are Forever”. When he tried one himself, Fleming thought a “Vesper” horrible.
Although Americano (Cinzano, probably Swiss Dolin’s, Campari and soda – probably Perrier) is the first drink to be named in the 1953 first Bond novel, “Casino Royale”, it’s the Martini that has become Bond’s typecast drink.
Pal Felix Leiter orders a Vesper for Bond in the novel “Diamonds Are Forever” with Cresta Blanca replacing Kina Lilet which Bond considers “the best Vermouth I ever tasted.” It was discontinued in1986.
Bond liked his Martini “in a deep champagne goblet”. He liked a 3:1 ratio of Gordon’s gin and vodka, with no olive, and a large thin slice of ice. In the book “Diamonds Are Forever” he has “slivers of lemon peel in a wine glass.” As he prefers grain to potato vodka.
The Scottish Strathmashie Distillery has brought out ready-to-serve bottles of “Daffy’s” 4:1 Martini and glasses like ones seen fleetingly in the latest movie, a small part of which were shot in the Cairngorm National Park.
The only vodka Fleming mentions is Wolfschmidt (“Moonraker”), originally a Latvian gin now owned by Beam Inc in the US. “The Whisky Exchange” has one bottle in the 70s for £120. In the films, Smirnoff, Stolichnaya, Absolut, and Finlandia all get their airtime. The “Skyfall” Heineken product placement is thought to have cost $45m (£28.2m). Strictly speaking, for the publishers and continuity departments to do have done their job properly and not breach copyright, the “Vesper” should perhaps more accurately be called a “Bradford”. An uneasily close recipe appears in the 1930 Harry Craddock’s Cocktail Book.
In Bond’s world, booze is “one of the moments of luxury” which efface danger and the shadow of death. In “Thunderball” Bond admits he “couldn’t do his job on carrot juice”. In “Goldfinger” Fleming describes the tea as “a cup of mud”.
In the film “Live and Let Die” he drinks raki with gypsies in Istanbul. On the Orient-Express train, he drinks “Broglio” Chianti (“with Americanos”) and again on the Laguna Express in “For Your Eyes Only”. Chateau Mouton Rothschild is touted and a 1953 Piesporter. In the second Bond book, “Live and Let Die (1954) he drinks Liebfraumilch.
Bond also drinks brandy and sodas. Mainly on planes and in airports. In “Octopussy”, Fleming calls brandy and soda “the drunkard’s drink”.
From the book “Goldfinger” we learn Bond occasionally likes black pepper in vodka and Angostura Bitters in his vodka and tonic. “In Die Another Day” (2002) Pierce Brosnan has a mojito in Cuba. In the short story “Risico”, Bond orders a “Negroni” and in the book “Diamonds Are Forever”, in London’s Scott’s, he has dressed crab and a pint of National Velvet (Champagne and Guinness). Roger Moore has a Sazerac in “Live & Let Die”. There is no mention of mocktails anywhere. You can’t imagine Bond ordering anything with tiny onions.
There are a lot of drinks and drinks recipes associated with James Bond. One of my favorites is the one that appeared in “Esquire” magazine a few years ago. After all, the stirring and not shaking recipe ends with “Then shoot someone evil”.
The betting has already started on the name of the next Bond movie. the favorite is “Licence To Endorse”.