By the time of Thunderball, Ian Fleming tells us that Bond’s daily intake of spirits is around half a bottle. Like his creator, James Bond drinks a lot, hence his much needed stay in a health farm ordered by M.
However, unlike the popular belief that Bond drinks nothing but vodka martinis – shaken, not stirred – and champagne, the books in particular see 007 consuming a wide variety of drinks. These include martinis, with both gin and vodka, champagne, whisky, beer, saki, and a variety of cocktails.
The very first drink he orders, from 1953′s Casino Royale, is an Americano, a mixture of Campari, Cinzano and soda water and later in the same book he goes on to invent the Vesper, which he names after his love interest on the mission. However, he is not to come back to that drink, which he asks the barman to prepare when he first meets Felix Leiter, and the rest of the book sees him drinking chilled vodka and champagne.
The vodka martini
Right at the end of the second book, Live and Let Die, we actually learn Bond’s own vodka martini recipe, which Solitaire prepares for him; six parts vodka to one of vermouth brought to the garden in a cocktail shaker along with two glasses as they recover from their injuries after being dragged across the reef by Mr Big.
This is actually Bond’s first vodka martini after getting through the mission on martinis made with gin, as well as a good deal of whisky, and while the implication is that it was shaken, he doesn’t actually ask for the drink to be served this way until Dr No. Then he asks his adversary for it to be “shaken and not stirred” and made from Russian or Polish vodka; of course, Bond had previously stipulated the Vesper in Casino Royale to be shaken until ice cold, just not a vodka martini.
Since Ian Fleming’s writing often used brand names it is also slightly curious that no brand of vodka is named other than Wolfschmidt, which he orders at Blades while dining with M in Moonraker.
More than vodka martinis, Bond’s real drink in the books whisky. Being of Scottish decent you might find a preference for scotch whisky to be expected. However, while Bond does drink Scotch on many occasions, either straight or with soda, he actually consumes more bourbon, which he drinks both straight or with branch water, something introduced to him by Felix Leiter.
As usual with 007, the real answer to why this should be the case lies with Ian Fleming, who said – whether he believed it or not – that bourbon was better for him that scotch.
While it is difficult to imagine the James Bond of the books ordering a pint of beer in a pub, he certainly does drink beer in the books. Miller High Life, Red Stripe and Löwenbräu are all name checked and on his stag party in Munich in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Bond downs four steins of beer with an ex-Luftwaffe pilot.
A selection of James Bond’s drinks
In no particular order, these include:
- Cocktails such as the Vodka Martini, the Dry Martini, the Vesper, the Old-Fashioned, the Negroni and the Americano.
- Russian vodka drunk neat and ice cold with caviar or smoked salmon. In Moscow he picked up the habit of dropping a pinch of black pepper on the surface of the drink that sinks to the bottom taking the impurities with it, but he got to like the taste.
- Ten year old Cliquot, Dom Perignon, Krug, Pommery or Taittinger champagne served with Beluga caviar or scrambled eggs.
- Beefeater or Gordon’s gin drunk with tonic and plenty of Angostura bitters plus the juice of a fresh lime if available.
- Three fingers of Bourbon served in a tumbler half filled with ice, swilled around to cool it and then drunk in two long draughts, the glass refilled and then drunk slowly.
- In Turkey Bond drinks Raki, which he finds identical with Greek Ouzo and Kavaklidere, “a rich course burgundy like any other Balkan wine”.
- Brandy with soda with a couple of Phensic tablets as a hangover cure, or on the rocks after encountering the wrath of Count Lippe in Thunderball. Ocasionally Hennessy’s Three Star as a finale to a French dinner or brandy with ginger ale on long air trips.
- In Casino Royale 007 orders a martini derived cocktail containing Kina Lillet that he later dubs the “Vesper” after the girl sent by headquarters to assist him. The drink later appeared in teh film version starring Daniel Craig, as well as the follow up, Quantum of Solace.
Where to buy