More Than the Martini: The Many Other Drinks of James Bond
In the films, Bond is known for his martinis with a precise mixing method, but in the novels he imbibes in more than one libation.
What does James Bond drink? “Vodka martini—shaken, not stirred.”
The cocktail everyone around the globe should recognize as our favorite super spy’s drink of choice. But there’s more to James Bond than just dry vodka martinis. He is, after all, a well-rounded man with a thirst for liquor and danger. So if you’re not a huge fan of martinis, there’s no need to worry!
Our favorite spy is also fond of other cocktails as well. If you’re a Bond film nut, you might find yourself scratching your head wondering, “In which film did James Bond order a Gin & Tonic or an Old Fashioned?” Well, the answer is . . . none.
In this quick guide to Bond’s lesser-known but favorite boozes, I’ll show you how to drink like a proper MI6 operative (company of beautiful women not guaranteed).
Gin & Tonic
Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator, was quite fond of gin. In print form, Bond was also quite fond of gin, and it’s easy to see why: Ian Fleming drank a bottle of gin and smoked three and a half packs of cigarettes every day—perhaps Bond is a better role model when it comes to moderation!
Bond ordered a double gin and tonic and one whole green lime. When the drink came he cut the lime in half, dropped the two squeezed halves into the long glass, almost filled the glass with ice cubes and then poured in the tonic. He took the drink out on to the balcony, and sat and looked out across the spectacular view.
– Dr. No
Enjoyed in the novel versions of Dr. No and Goldfinger, the Gin & Tonic is often overlooked in the series yet still remains a classic cocktail (though I use the term lightly, since many consider a cocktail to include at least three ingredients sans garnish).
- 3 oz gin
- 5-6 oz tonic water
- 1 lime wedge
Pour the gin into an ice-filled glass and top with tonic water. Garnish with a lime wedge—or an entire halved lime, if you’re feeling particularly Bond-esque.
Primer’s Old Fashioned
Bond ordered Old Fashioneds, and stipulated ‘Old Grand-Dad’ Bourbon, chicken sandwiches, and decaffeined ‘Sanka’ coffee so that their sleep would not be spoilt.
– Live and Let Die
While Don Draper has made this drink popular on Mad Men, James Bond drank this tasty beverage long before in Live and Let Die, Diamonds are Forever, and Thunderball. Though basic, the Old Fashioned cocktail remains a staple for any lover of liquor and cocktails.
Here is Primer’s preferred recipe:
Muddle the orange peel, sugar, and bitters at the bottom of a pint glass until the orange peel is thoroughly beaten up. Add bourbon and ice, and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Garnish with a fresh orange twist.
→ Explore more variations in our Old Fashioned Month series, or find the best place to order an Old Fashioned in 47 cities.
“…Pernod is possible, but it should be drunk in company, and anyway Bond had never liked the stuff because its licorice taste reminded him of his childhood. No, in cafes you have to drink the least offensive of the musical comedy drinks that go with them, and Bond always had the same thing – an Americano – Bitter Campari, Cinzano, a large slice of lemon peel and soda. For the soda he always stipulated Perrier, for in his opinion expensive soda water was the cheapest way to improve a poor drink.”
– A View to a Kill
We Bond fans know that the Vesper Martini was made famous in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, but one drink that’s often overlooked from the same book is known to be the first cocktail that James Bond ever ordered, the Americano. Say you’re sitting at an outdoor café in France, trying to blend in while you secretly gaze over your newspaper to keep a watchful eye on your target. The slightly bitter, yet delicious Americano is a good choice for any day spent in the sun.
- 2 oz Campari bitters
- 2 oz sweet vermouth
- Perrier soda water (Bond’s own suggestion to improve this so-called poor drink)
- Slice of lemon-peel
Pour the bitters and vermouth into an ice filled old fashioned glass and top off with soda water. Stir, and garnish with the lemon-peel.
He stopped at the ‘Gulf Winds Bar and Snacks’ and ordered a double Old Grand-Dad on the rocks. While the barman poured it he went into the washroom and cleaned himself up. The bandages on his left hand were covered with dirt and the hand throbbed painfully. … He went back to the bar, drank down the Bourbon and ordered another one. The barman looked like a college kid spending his holidays the hard way. He wanted to talk but there was no talk left in Bond. Bond sat and looked into his glass and thought about Leiter and The Robber and heard the sickening grunt of the feeding shark.
– Live and Let Die
Though now I’m slightly veering away from the subject of cocktails, it’s imperative to discuss such a staple in James Bond’s arsenal of alcohol. Not only to be enjoyed in cocktails, various types of whiskey make numerous appearances throughout both the novels and films either on the rocks or neat.
Just a few various whiskeys that Bond has enjoyed include:
- Old Grand-Dad in Live and Let Die
- Jack Daniel’s in You only Live Twice, and Goldeneye
- Canadian Club Blended Rye with ice and soda water in Dr. No
- The Macallan 10 Year Fine Oak in Skyfall
- The Macallan 1962 Fine and Rare in Skyfall (Could this 50 year old scotch be a nod to the 50th anniversary of our dear Double O Seven? Hmmm.)
→ Read our guide to the Best Whiskies Under $50
But the scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Miller Highlife beer came quickly and were good, and so was the iced coffee that followed it, and with their second glass they got away from ’shop’ and their private lives and got on to Saratoga.
– Diamonds Are Forever
Finally, a drink some might have thought to be too pedestrian by many for James Bond: beer.
While a lot of fans are in a tiff over Heineken being a featured drink in Skyfall, you shouldn’t scoff at a man who knows how to dress down. Sometimes, all a man wants after a long day of “enjoying death” is a nice, cold brew.
Let us not forget that Bond is no stranger to beer—in Diamonds are Forever, Bond orders a Miller High Life to go with his eggs and sausage. In Ian Fleming’s short story, The Living Daylights as well as in Goldfinger, Bond does what a man of culture does. You’ve heard the expression “when in Rome.” Well in this instance, “When in Germany,” do what Bond does. Skip the martini and order a Löwenbräu.
And finally, a few more cocktails Bond has enjoyed
Hope you enjoyed this! We’re gearing up for some more fun stuff in anticipation of Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, coming out in November!