I love Ian Fleming’s Bond novels. Very different from almost all the films, though the excellent Daniel Craig Casino Royale adhered pretty closely to novel. Fleming’s estate has licensed a number of non-Fleming Bond novels, and while I own a few, I haven’t read any of them yet. I was a little disturbed to find out that in the latest, Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver, Bond doesn’t drink his (in)famous drink. What??? In fact, he drinks Crown Royal and Triple Sec. I’m no drink aficionado, but am I alone in thinking that beverage sounds just a little too low-rent for Bond? In any case, read all about it here, along with plenty of additional details on the new book.
Now that we’ve moved past that Bond beverage heresy, here are some comments on Bond’s original drink, courtesy of “Wheelgunner840,” who provides the bracketed comments in the following:
“Bond insisted on ordering Leither’s Haig-and-Haig ‘on the rocks’ [a quality Scotch whiskey] and then he looked carefully at the barman.
‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s [an English gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. [this is NOT vermouth – see below!] 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 pleasant with the idea.
‘Gosh that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.
Bond laughed. ‘When I’m … er … concentrating.’ 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 can think of a good name.’
He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long sip.
‘Excellent,’ he said to the barman, ‘but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.’
Lillet and Vermouth
Note that some claim that Kina Lillet is a vermouth. It is NOT A VERMOUTH 🙂 My research shows Lillet Kina is a wine based drink that has quinine in it. Kina refers to the Kina Kina (quinquina) tree where quinine comes from. In fact back in the James Bond days it was VERY bitter and the entire drink would have been quite bitter. They changed the formula in the mid-80s to have less quinine, and now it comes in “Lillet Blanc” and “Lillet Rouge”. They’re made in Podensac, in France. Technically they are “French aperitif wines”. They are a blend of wine grapes, oranges, orange peels and quinine.
As a further note, Straight Dope provides some insight as to why Bond insisted his martinis be shaken and not stirred, along with some additional thoughts on the canonical drink. I once had hoped to try one of these, but I’m kind of a lightweight and doubt I’d like it, to be honest. I’m man enough to admit I think I’d have a hard time choking it down, especially if Straight Dope is right and it does taste like “lighter fluid.”