Bond on Drinking

November 13, 2015

With the recent release of Spectre, James Bond, his women, his cars, and his well-tailored suits firmly reassert themselves in our cultural conscious. I’m currently working on a Bond-related piece I think our readers will enjoy, but unfortunately until it’s published its content remains “for my eyes only.” Suffice it to say though; it involves me watching every Bond movie ever made, which I feel has lent me a particular insight into Bond’s wisdom on drinking. What follows are a few aphorisms from Britain’s premier super spy — advice we should all heed:

On drinking properly:

My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.

— Said at the end of a phone call with Felix Leiter, Goldfinger, 1964

Also, a handy nickname for champagne:

Now … where is this passion juice?

— Uttered while searching for a cold bottle of Dom Perignon to serve to Jill Masterson, Goldfinger, 1964

On the importance of pairing wine with food and knowing about varietals:

Red wine with fish — well that should’ve told me something.

— Said to Grant (the Spectre operative sent to steal the Lektor Device, a SMERSH cryptography tool) after it’s revealed he double-crossed 007 on the train to Trieste, From Russia with Love, 1963

The wine is quite excellent. Although for a grand meal I would have expected a claret.

— Bond to Mr. Wint, an operative for Blofeld. Bond uses the line as a ruse to expose Wint as a fraud, Diamonds are Forever, 1972

The proper way to order for your tastes:

Dry martini — wait — three measures of Gordon’s [gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shake it over ice then add a thin slice of lemon peel.

— Said to the barman of the Casino Royale, during the high stakes poker game hosted by Le Chiffre, Casino Royale, 2006

The proper way to order when it’s not your day:

[Bond]: “Vodka Martini.
[Barman]: “Shaken or Stirred?”
[Bond]: “Do I look like I give a damn?

— Bond, to another Casino Royale barman after losing his $10 million buy-in, Casino Royale, 2006

When it’s acceptable to drink:

Never on the firm’s time, sir.

— Said to M upon receiving a brief on the missing Professor Strangways, Dr. No, 1962

How to judge a man’s character:

Hmmm … Maybe I misjudged Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ’52 can’t be all bad.

— Bond on Karl Stromberg, the Villain in The Spy who Loved me, 1977

And finally, what to say once you’ve shed your hangover:

The bitch is dead.


Alex Hecht is editor of Molotov Cocktail. He works as a Security Analyst in Washington, DC. Before working for the man, he managed the Gibson, a cocktail bar in DC’s U Street corridor. Alex’s life is admittedly mellower now, but his liver probably thanks him for that.


Photo credit: Stephen Craven