The cocktails of James Bond

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‘I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink.’

It is in Casino Royale that we are introduced to James Bond’s refined drinking style. This is a man who knows what he wants, a man who has a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details.

Few stories worth reading have been written that did not contain a drink of some sort and Ian Fleming’s novels read like an extended lecture on the proper management of a drinking habit. Any evaluation of Bond would indicate serious alcohol and substance addiction – his average daily consumption of alcohol at one point is in the region of half a bottle of spirits. Not quite what you want from your top secret agent, but not to worry – as Bond reflects in Thunderball: ‘I can’t do my work on carrot juice… life’s too short’.

Although most famous for his vodka martinis, whilst on duty Bond consumes a wide variety of drinks, shaken or stirred. From champagne to beer, he has a propensity to down just about anything and everything. However, ever the gentleman, Bond always drinks to suit the occasion and location.

AMERICANO

CASINO ROYALE, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, A VIEW TO A KILL

The Americano holds the distinction of being the very first drink James Bond orders. Bond, who stipulates the use of Perrier, regards it as an appropriate drink when dining at an outdoor café.

1 measure Campari, 1 measure sweet vermouth, Soda water

NEGRONI

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

While waiting in the Excelsior Bar in Rome, Bond orders an aperitif, the Negroni, specifying Gordon’s gin. When in Rome…

1 measure Gordon’s gin, 1 measure Campari, 1 measure Italian vermouth

OLD FASHIONED

THUNDERBALL, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE

A classic cocktail forgotten in Bond’s cinematic outings. Likewise, his desire for a Scotch and Soda was lost in the film productions but it is the mixed drink he has most often in the books.

3 dashes Angostura bitters, 2 measures rye whisky, 1 sugar cube, Soda water

RUM COLLINS

THUNDERBALL

tomcol

A variation of the Tom Collins, Bond is served one of these by his host, Emilio Largo. Refreshing, it is the ideal afternoon cocktail in the Bahamas. The drink owes its moniker to a notorious hoax that circulated in New York in 1874.

2 measures light rum, 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, 1/2 measure lime juice, Soda water

SAZERAC

LIVE AND LET DIE

When Bond momentarily forgets the tradition of drinking ‘locally’, CIA agent Felix Leiter tells Bond to enjoy the official drink of The Big Easy: ‘Where’s your sense of adventure? This is New Orleans. Relax!’

2 1/2 measures rye whisky, 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters, 1 dash Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube, Absinthe, Lemon peel

STINGER

THUNDERBALL, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

During the heyday of its popularity, the classic stinger was considered an ideal nightcap for a night out in New York. Bond has one at the 21 Club in NY.

2 1/4 measures brandy, 3/4 measure white creme de menthe

MINT JULEP

GOLDFINGER

Bond, an experienced traveller, eats and drinks ‘locally’. On Goldfinger’s stud farm he accepts the offer of a Mint Julep, the traditional and satisfying drink of the Kentucky Derby.

Mint leaves, 3 measures bourbon, 2 teaspoons water, 1 teaspoon sugar

VESPER

CASINO ROYALE

vesper

‘This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.’

3 measures Gordon’s gin, 1 measure vodka, 1/2 measure Kina Lillet, 1 large slice of lemon peel, Shaken, not stirred

MOJITO

DIE ANOTHER DAY

One of the few cocktails not to originate in Fleming’s novels, Bond’s affinity for muddled mint was a fitting choice for the Cuban setting.

Mint leaves, 2 measures white rum, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 measure lime juice, Soda water

BLACK VELVET

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

After being briefed by M in London, Bond stops by Scott’s for ‘dressed crab and a pint of black velvet’. Scaramanga’s choice of drink, it was first served at Brooks’s in 1861, to mourn the death of Prince Albert.

Guinness stout, Brut champagne

Further Reading