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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Bond, James Bond. Neither shaken nor stirred.

Posted on April 10, 2012 at 1:20 PM

“A dry martini,” he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

“Certainly monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

“Gosh, that's certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

Bond laughed. “When I',” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.” – Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

Thanks to my dad – who also suggested this blog topic, so, thanks times two, dad! – I am an avid fan of James Bond. Besides having merely watched all of the films, I’ve also read all of the books (Fleming, Gardner, Benson, Faulks, even the “fringe” Kingsley Amis “Colonel Sun” and “The Moneypenny Diaries") and even had a go at my own bit of fan fiction, resulting in a kind-of “cease and desist” letter from Glidrose Publishing, holders of the Fleming estate.

So, I feel I am overly qualified to call myself a Bond fan. And when I heard the news that Bond would be extending his endorsement deal with Heineken and would actually be DRINKING a Heineken in the upcoming film, Skyfall, I was pretty disappointed.

Not disappointed just as a Bond fan, but as a beer drinker.

While you get a sense of it in the films, throughout Fleming’s novels, Bond is an exceptional foodie; a gourmand who is pedantic over the selection of his meals and the pairing of the perfect beverage to go with each.

Of course, the drink that he’s most known for is his “shaken, not stirred” vodka martini, but appearing in equal – if not greater – measure in the books is champagne. Bond has a voracious, unquenchable, Mad Men like love for the stuff, quaffing it with breakfast, lunch, dinner and all points in between. And Bond is always very brand – and often year/vinatge – specific when ordering his bubbly, frequently requesting Cliquot, Dom Perignon, Krug, Taittinger and Bollinger. He also has an affinity for fine wines, ordering Mouton Rothschild ’53 and ’47 at points and Lafite-Rothschild at others.

Also, after doing some research, I found that beer isn’t totally out of the realm of Bond, who seems nearly as equal opportunity with his drinking as he does his women. From the Brookston Beer Bulletin, I found this wonderful list detailing all of the times that Bond has doused his thirst with a brew in his career:

•    In Diamonds Are Forever, Fleming’s fourth Bond novel, 007 takes Bill Tanner to lunch at Scotts where he orders a Black Velvet, which is a mixed pint of champagne and Guinness. Later in the same novel, while driving to Saratoga with C.I.A. compatriot Felix Leiter, they stop at roadside greasy spoon called “Chicken in a Basket” where Leiter and Bond have Miller High Life with their lunch.

•    In Goldfinger, the seventh novel, while chasing the villain through Europe, Bond washed down his lunch at Geneva’s Bavaria brasserie with Löwenbräu beer.

•    In The Hildebrand Rarity, one of the short stories in the collection published under the title For Your Eyes Only, after circling an island in a boat Bond stops for a chicken salad sandwich and a “cold beer” from a cooler. This story first appeared in Playboy magazine in 1960.

•    In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the 11th novel (excluding the short stories), Bond has four steins of Franziskaner at the Franziskaner Keller with his taxi driver to celebrate his engagement to Tracy. It is in effect his bachelor party and when he’s reunited with his fiancée, she accuses him of smelling “like a pig of beer and sausages.”

•    In The Man With the Golden Gun, Fleming’s 13th novel, while searching for Scaramanga, Bond orders a Red Stripe in the Dreamland Cafe and has two more before he leaves.

•    In The Living Daylights, part of a second short story collection, this one published under the title Octopussy and the Living Daylights, Bond has a lunch of salted herring and two draft Löwenbräus.

So it isn’t the Bond is drinking a beer which is so disappointing. In fact, of all the Bonds, Daniel Craig actually seems the closest fit to Fleming’s regular guy who “exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure—an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department” and quite plausible that he would settle in for a pint after a long day of spying, killing and saving the world and perhaps watch a bit of of favorite club football team.

It’s just that Bond -- Craig or otherwise -- would never select a beer like Heineken which is, well, swill. It would be the equivalent to Bond ordering a martini mixed with Burnett’s or asking for Asti Spumanti sparkling wine or requesting “the blackberry merlot, most recent bottle you have. In a tall glass. With ice. And a straw.” It’s just amazingly out of character. I just can’t think of a time when Bond would consciously choose to drink a Heineken, including if he were in Germany AT the Heineken brewery and M was ordering him to drink a pint for Queen and Country.

In an upcoming series of posts, I'm going to suggest ten beers -- and scenarios -- in which beer would far more organically be introduced into Bond's world.

Categories: April 2012, Books, Beer/Liquor/Wine

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Reply [email protected]
8:11 PM on April 10, 2012 
Brillant!!! Ian Fleming is smiling and a bit jealous right now, wherever he is.
Reply Sergpvx
5:38 AM on April 21, 2021 
Do you know what holiday it is today?
We are used to the fact that we know only religious and public holidays and celebrate only them.
I found out about this only yesterday after visiting the site
It turns out that every day there are from 2 to 10 different holidays that surround us and make our lives happier.
Here is one of the holidays that will be today: