Mouton Rothschild ‘34

In Moonraker when James Bond and M are having dinner at Blades, 007’s boss gives his wine order:

“Then what?” asked M. “Champagne? Personally I’m going to have a half-bottle of claret. The Mouton Rothschild ‘34, please, Grimley. But don’t pay any attention to me, James. I’m an old man. Champagne’s no good for me.

A few bottles of the 1934 Mouton Rothschild are still circulating and people are still opening and tasting them.

A 2008 professional review from the link above:

The 1934 Mouton Rothschild immediately seized control of this flight with its deeper, richer and lusher nose. It was very brooding by comparison with its incredible and trademarked chocolate aromas, accompanied by earth, minerals and nuts. The nose also had an intense trio of cedar, ceramics and mahogany. The palate was intense and hearty, meaty and long with great acidity. The finish was thick and grainy. Rob picked up on some also trademarked ‘mint.’ Earth and oak flavors rounded out this beauty…

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You can click on the second image for some tasting notes from someone who has tried this particular vintage.

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Haig and Haig Pinchbottle

Haig and Haig Pinchbottle is a blended scotch whisky in a unique three-sided bottle. The bottle was actually trademarked in the United States in 1958.

In Live and Let Die at Sugar Ray’s, Bond and Leiter have scotch-and-soda with Haig and Haig Pinchbottle.

When Bond returns to his hotel room after his “meeting” with Mr Big, “He put a handful of wilted ice cubes into a tall glass, poured in three inches of Haig and Haig and swilled the mixture round in the glass to  cool and dilute it. Then he drank down half the glass in one long swallow.”

When Bond shows up at The Everglades, Leiter grabs a bottle of Haig and Haig and some soda water and they both have a long drink.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, during Bond’s initial encounter with Marc-Ange Draco, the head of the Union Corse produces bourbon for Bond, and a bottle of Pinchbottle Haig for himself.

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Old Grandad Bourbon

On several occasions during Live and Let Die, Ian Fleming has James Bond drinking “Old Grandad” bourbon.

On the train with Solitaire:

Bond ordered Old Fashioneds, and stipulated ‘Old Grandad’ Bourbon, chicken sandwiches, and decaffeined ‘Sanka’ coffee so that their sleep would not be spoilt.

Before his encounter with The Robber:

He drank a quarter of a pint of Old Grandad with the steak and had two cups of very strong coffee.

After his encounter with The Robber:

He stopped at the ‘Gulf Wind Bar and Snacks’ and ordered a double Old Grandad on the rocks.

(He then has another.)

In Diamonds Are Forever, when Bond is in Las Vegas, and orders a Bourbon and Branch Water, he has Old Grandad as the whisky.

The bourbon that Fleming is referring to is Old Grand-Dad bourbon, which is shown here in this 1955 ad:
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This ad is from 1950:

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The brand is now owned and distributed by the Beam Inc and distilled at the Jim Beam Plant in Clermont, Kentucky.

Interestingly, it is the only brand acquired by Beam which still uses the original recipe. Other brands that Beam has bought have been changed to Beam’s own, but Old Grand-Dad should be the same as when Bond was drinking it.

That link also indicates to me that it was the “Bonded” (no pun intended) version of Old-Grand-Dad that James Bond was drinking, as it notes Historically, Old Grand-Dad Bonded was the #1 bonded bourbon when bottled-in-bond meant something to bourbon drinkers.

Fine à l’eau

This is the drink that James Bond orders for Rene Mathis when the latter introduces him to Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.

This drink – just cognac (or Brandy) with water – is a simple drink which was once very popular:

The most popular way to drink Cognac used to be the “Fine à l’eau” until World War II. Take a measure of Pierre de Segonzac Prestige, pour in 3 measures of pure water and that’s it : contrary to a popular belief, water gives you the chance to appreciate aromas during the first ten minutes.

You can also use sparkling water as well. A brandy and soda is a fairly frequently ordered drink in the Bond novels.

Later, in From A View To A Kill, Bond is sitting outdoors at a French café pondering his libation options, lamenting that outdoors on pavement is not a place for serious liquor like vodka, whisky or gin. He considers other options, including the fine a l’eau.

A fine a l’eau is fairly serious, but it intoxicates without tasting very good.

Makes you wonder why he ordered the drink for Mathis if this was his opinion of it.

I.W. Harper Bourbon

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Bond is in his first meeting with Marc-Ange Draco, they bond over a little whisky.

With efficient, housekeeperly movements, he (Draco) took out a bottle of pinchbottle Haig, another of I. W. Harper’s Bourbon, two pint glasses that looked like Waterford, a bucket of ice cubes, a siphon of soda, and a flagon of iced water.

Bond pours himself a “stiff Bourbon and water with plenty of ice.” Draco goes for the Haig, which is a blended scotch.

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I.W. Harper is another brand that has largely gone by the wayside. Very hard to find in the states, it is said to be hugely popular in Japan. The brand is now owned by Diageo brands. (The Pinch is also a Diageo product now.) According to Bourbon Empire, the brand was originated by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, founder of Bernheim Brothers Distillery in 1879. (The distillery was founded in 1872.) He gave the bourbon his first two initials, and the Harper came from John Harper, a popular horse trainer of the day. Bernheim feared giving the bourbon his ethnic name wouldn’t sell well.

Update: I.W. Harper bourbon is being rebranded and relaunched in the United States – Review: I.W. Harper Bourbon and 15 Year Old Bourbon

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Pink Gin

In The Man With The Golden Gun, when James Bond is introduced to the hoods at the Thunderbird Hotel, drinks are being served.

The red-coated barman asked him what he would have and he said, ‘Some pink gin. Plenty of bitters. Beefeater’s.’ There was desultory talk about the relative merits of gins. Everyone else seemed to be drinking champagne except Mr Hendriks, who stood away from the group and nursed a Schweppes Bitter Lemon.

Pink Gin is a cocktail – one of the foundational beverages of the British Empire. It is, as Bond notes, gin with bitters. Some put the bitters directly into the gin, others put the bitters into the glass, swirl it around, dump them out and add the gin.

Meant to be served without ice.

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The Schweppes Bitter Lemon being consumed by Hendriks is a non-alcoholic soft drink. It is a flavored tonic water which has never been hugely popular in the United States, but was and is in Europe.

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Walker’s DeLuxe Bourbon

In The Man With The Golden Gun, Bond seems to have a preference for this now-defunct brand.

After arriving in Jamaica, Bond makes his way to the hotel at Morgan’s Harbour. While waiting to meet up with Mary Goodnight, he goes to the waterfront bar and orders a “double Walker’s de Luxe on the rocks” followed by another “with a water chaser to break it down”. Then, when Goodnight arrives, he orders her a daiquiri, and himself another double, making it three doubles at that sitting.

Later, after checking into the Thunderbird hotel, Bond calls Room Service and “ordered a bottle of Walker’s de Luxe Bourbon, three glasses, ice and for nine o’clock, Eggs Benedict.

Bond reflected:

The best drink of the day is just before the first one (the Red Stripe didn’t count). James Bond put ice in the glass and three fingers of the bourbon and swilled it round the glass to cool it and break it down with the ice.

After picking up his book, (Profiles in Courage by John F Kennedy.) Bond drinks:

He drank the bourbon down in two long draughts and felt its friendly bite at the back of his throat and in his stomach. He filled up his glass again, this time with more ice to make it a weaker drink, and sat back and thought about Scaramanga.

He then has a last drink before bed.

Two more times in the book, Bond takes a slug or two of bourbon in his room. We can assume it is from that same bottle.

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Sake

This beverage of fermented rice (closer to beer than a rice wine) is a Japanese staple, and James Bond’s drink of choice during You Only Live Twice. In fact, other than “a pint of Jack Daniels” he consumes at the Miyako, it appears to be the only alcoholic drink Bond drinks in the book.

In the first chapter of the novel has already consumed “five flasks” of Sake, the effect of which he compares to one double Martini. He says he’ll need another double Martini before the night is out.

Tiger tells Bond “We have a saying ‘It is the man who drinks the first flask of sake; then the second flask drinks the first; then it is the sake which drinks the man.‘”

The geisha madame, Grey Pearl, says that Bond is “undoubtedly an eight-flask man.”

Bond goes past the eighth flask of sake while out with Dikko Henderson. Before heading to the castle of Dr Shatterhand, during his “last supper,” Bond orders five flasks of sake to eat with his Fugo – Japanese blowfish.

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Suntory

SuntoryThis Japanese whisky has a surprisingly long heritage, even when it was mentioned in You Only Live Twice.

While Bond tells Dikko Henderson :”I can’t believe Japanese whisky makes a good foundation for anything“, both Dikko and Tiger consume it in the novel.

Dikko defends the brand, “But you’re wrong about Suntory. It’s good enough brew. Stick to the cheapest, the White Label, at around fifteen bob a bottle. There are two smarter brands, but the cheap one’s the best.

Tiger has his with a splash of soda. Bond, meanwhile continues his prejudice against the Japanese whisky, preferring Sake throughout the novel.

 

Schnapps

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when James Bond is planning his escape from Piz Gloria, he requests a flask of schnapps under the guise of not being able to sleep at night. He explains that he always has a nightcap at home, usually whisky, but here he says “When in Gloria, do as the Glorians do!” Skiers have been known to consume schnapps to keep warm.

He receives the flat glass flask of schnapps and puts it into his side pocket as he makes his escape. Part way down, after nearly being buried by a deliberate avalanche, Bond “tilted the little flask down his throat, emptied it, and threw the bottle away.”

We’re given one more specific about the drink: “He got to his feet, and rather light-headed but with the wonderful glow of the Enzian in his stomach…

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This helps us understand the drink that Bond actually consumes here. For some reason, I had been under the assumption that Bond consumed peppermint schnapps. When I read some about what schnapps are in Europe, it was a little surprising to me.

It is here that Fischer gave us an explanation of what schnapps really is. In Europe, more specifically in the German speaking countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland; alcohol that is made from fermented fruits by the distillation process is called schnapps. These pure fruit brandies are usually made out of apples, pears, plums, and cherries, though in Austria, apricots and even raspberries are used as well.

So it’s form of Brandy. Bond has Brandy several other times in OHMSS. But that one word Enzian gives us the specific type, it is from the root of the Alpine gentian flower. The drink is also known as Gentian.

Later in the book, when Bond is to talk with Marc-Ange about marrying Tracy, Bond, “after careful consideration, decided that schnapps would go with his beer, and ordered a double Steinhäger.”

Steinhäger is a German gin, made only in Steinhagen. The fruit which makes it a schnapps is the Juniper Berries.

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