Shaken not stirred: Bond’s expensive drinking habits revealed

Posted by ap507 at Dec 22, 2014 11:45 AM |
University of Leicester Bond expert explains the significance of Bond’s return to vodka martinis in new movie Spectre

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News that James Bond will be back on the premium vodka in the new film Spectre, due to hit cinemas in November 2015, will be welcomed by fans according to a University of Leicester academic and in-house Bond expert.

Belvedere, a luxury Polish vodka brand, has signed a lucrative partnership deal to appear in the upcoming 24th Bond film and Professor James Chapman from the University’s Department of the History of Art and Film and author of ‘Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films’ explains why brand is so important when it comes to Bond.

Professor Chapman said: “James Bond has always been associated with high-end consumer goods, especially when it comes to food and drink. Ian Fleming's books are replete with references to brand names. These served two purposes. In the social context of post-war Britain - the first Bond novel Casino Royale was published in 1953 - the prominence of brand-name products was a sign of the shift from wartime austerity to post-war affluence. And Bond's expensive tastes reflected a fantasy world in which access to consumer products went hand in hand with his sexual prowess.”

It’s no secret that Bond’s drinking habits have always been a central aspect of the James Bond lifestyle. Chapman explains: “Fleming's Bond famously invented the 'Vesper' martini in Casino Royale, and, while his preferred drink was bourbon, the vodka martini was there for special occasions such as his dinner at M's club Blades (Moonraker) and his sumptuous dinner with American millionaire Mr Du Pont (Goldfinger). And of course a world-class super villain such as Dr No would not dream of serving anything else.

“Fleming's Bond expresses a preference for Russian or Polish vodka (Dr No). He developed a taste for vodka while attached to the British Embassy in Moscow. However some of the vodka he tasted during those years was "bath tub liquor". He borrowed a trick from the Russians of sprinkling pepper on the surface to draw off the fusel oil. M is amused when Bond does this with the club's finest Wolfschmidt from Riga. Of course this was a time when vodka was an expensive import to Britain and not widely consumed.”

The vodka martini became Bond’s drink of choice in the James Bond movies – beginning with Dr No in 1962 when Sean Connery's Bond is first seen drinking a “medium dry vodka martini" with a slice of lemon peel.

Chapman adds: “One-time Bond George Lazenby asked his bride-to-be Diana Rigg to "keep my martini cool" in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Roger Moore's Bond tended to allow other characters to order the martinis for him - and by this stage of his career every barman and beautiful spy in the world knew that he liked it "shaken not stirred". Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan also partook of Bond's signature drink, and in the film of Casino Royale (2006), Daniel Craig even ordered a 'Vesper' according to Fleming's recipe.

“In Skyfall (2012), the fiftieth-anniversary Bond movie, 007 was controversially seen drinking Heineken in preference to his usual martini. But this was a temporary aberration as Bond had been accidentally shot while on a mission and at the time was presumed dead. The news that Bond will once again be drinking premium vodka in the forthcoming film Spectre will be welcomed by all Bond fans as a return to the true 007.”

Spectre is due to be released on 6 November 2015 – in the meantime here are some drink-related Bond facts for your responsible consumption:

1. In the first James Bond novel Casino Royale (1953), Bond designs his own martini comprising three measures of Gordon's gin, one of vodka and half a measure of Kine Lillet (vermouth) shaken until it's ice cold and served with a slice of lemon peel. He names it a 'Vesper' after his love interest Vesper Lynd. Bond never drinks the Vesper again in all the books.

2. Elsewhere in the books Bond drinks vodka martinis and expresses a preference for Russian or Polish vodka.

3. Bond has a preference for pink champagne (especially Taittinger) to drink with scrambled eggs.

4. In the novel of Live and Let Die, Bond drinks a Red Stripe beer, but when adding up his alcohol consumption for the day decides that "the Red Stripe didn't count".

5. In Thunderball, Bond’s medical dossier reveals that his average daily alchohol consumption is “in the region of half a bottle of spirits of between sixty and seventy proof”.

6. Bond’s most excessive consumption is probably in the first two chapters of Goldfinger where in the course of one evening he drinks four double bourbons, two vodka martinis as an aperitif, and a pint of pink champagne (served in a silver tankard) with his dinner of stone crabs.

7. In the films Bond's tastes also extend to raki (From Russia With Love), Mintjulep (Goldfinger), sake (You Only Live Twice) and a Mohito (Die Another Day). His favourite champagne in the films is Bollinger. The least said about a Thai wine called Phu Yuck (The Man With the Golden Gun) the better.

8. Roger Moore's James Bond never ordered a martini in any of his seven films - other characters would order Bond's signature drink for him.

9. Bond unmasks SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) assassin Red Grant (Robert Shaw) in From Russia With Love when the villain orders red Chianti to accompany Dover sole.

Ends

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Professor James Chapman at jrc28@leicester.ac.uk

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