007 Days of Skyfall: The secrets behind James Bond’s drinking
James Bond has had quite a few constants in his life, hasn't he? Bad guys, exotic women, tuxedos, gadgets, explosions... Fans of the films and original books would no doubt add 'drink' to that list as well. That's not to say that MI5's finest secret agent is a shambling, drunken booze-hound — oh no. But like his creator, Ian Fleming, he's had a life-long love affair with alcohol in all its many guises.
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Let's start with his affection for Martinis. You may remember the 'Vesper' Martini ordered by Daniel Craig in 'Casino Royale'. It's 'Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet'. You 'shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel.' Got it?
But just why are Bond's Martinis 'shaken, not stirred'? For our answer we caught up with the Head Barman at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel, mixologist Eric Lorincz. The snappily-dressed Slovakian, known by many in the trade as 'The Best Barman in the World', could almost be a '00' agent himself with his good looks and imposing frame. But instead of Walther PPKs and Aston Martins, the tools of this expert's trade are cocktail shakers and Martini glasses (which he puts to devastating effect with his brand new 'Skyfall' cocktail — more on that later...)
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Lorincz told us that cocktails comprising of mostly clear or distilled spirits, such as with a good Martini, should always be stirred delicately and not shaken aggressively. Shaking can easily 'bruise' the drink and impair flavour. Now, as a booze connoisseur, Ian Fleming will have known this all too well. But literary licence allowed him to swap it around. The reason? 'Shaken, not stirred' just sounds a whole lot cooler than 'Stirred, not shaken'. And who are we to argue?
If you leaf back through the novels, you could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Bond has had, at times, a rather unhealthy obsession with the hard stuff. He downs Scotch & Soda 21 times and knocks back 19 Gin Martinis in the paperbacks (as well as 35 glasses of Champagne, numerous Gin & Tonics, Vodka & Tonics and even the odd beer). In the books, he slurps his way through a total of 317 alcoholic drinks. That's one every seven pages!
And in the movies, Bond has seen off well over a hundred drinks too. It works out at the equivalent of a tipple roughly every 25 minutes or so. Cocktails drunk throughout the films include: Vodka Martini, Dry Martini, the Vesper, the Old-Fashioned, the Negroni and the Americano. We'll even see him drinking the world-famous Amsterdam lager Heineken in 'Skyfall'.
They're not all classic drinks that Bond's enjoyed though. 'The Stinger' is a rather un-Bond cocktail that features in 'Diamonds Are Forever' ('un-Bond' because of its rather feminine use of crème de menthe). And when Pierce Brosnan's Bond is watching the slinky Jinx strut out of the Cuban sea in 'Die Another Day', he's sipping on the crushed ice Cuban classic, a Mojito; the only alcoholic beverage seen on-screen so far that doesn't feature in any of Fleming's literature.
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And we imagine James must've had a quick nip of something before parachuting out of that plane with the Queen at the Olympics Opening Ceremony earlier this year...
As well as being a relaxant, Bond has used his love of the odd tipple to save his life. You may remember in 'Diamonds Are Forever', Sean Connery's 007 discovers that a would-be assassin is posing as his waiter. How? He doesn't know that Bond's chosen red wine, a Mouton-Rothschild, is a claret. What an amateur, eh...? Everyone knows that!
Back at The Savoy and Eric's Skyfall cocktail. After just one sip of this exquisite new concoction we were convinced that booze snob Bond would approve. Why? Well, because 'Bond was a proper drinker. A connoisseur', Eric told us. Comprising of the Japanese citrus liqueur Umeshu, a little lemon juice, a dash of Turkish syrup, some Chinese plum wine, a bitter aperitif wine and plenty of vodka, what's not to enjoy about the Skyfall? The mixture is shaken, not stirred (of course) and served with one 'bullet' of ice.
Watch below as we caught up with Eric behind the bar for a taste...