Mouton Rothschild ’53

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Bond goes out to dinner prior to his night at the Casino where he rescues Tracy from the “Gambit of Shame,” Bond enjoys a turbot poche (poached turbot fish) with sauce mousseline (made of egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, and whipped cream) and “half the best roast partridge he had eaten in his life,” Bond was feeling stimulated, helped by a half-bottle of Mouton Rothschild ’53. (and a glass of ten-year-old Calvados – apple brandy)

1953 marked the 100th anniversary of Château Mouton Rothschild.This vintage is still drawing rave reviews when tasted.

Wine guru Robert Parker gave the following review:

95 points Robert Parker: “I remember a friend of mine decanting a magnum of the 1953 and sticking it under my nose to share with me the incredible bouquet. In addition to the exotic aromas of soy sauce, new saddle leather, cassis, herbs, and spices, the 1953 offers a deep ruby color with some amber at the edge. Sweet and fat, with voluptuously-textured fruit, this low acid wine has no noticeable tannin. While it may be living dangerously, it is a decadent treat if it is drunk immediately after decanting.”



Taittinger Blanc de Blanc

In Casino Royale, James Bond and Vesper are having champagne, and Bond originally requests a Taittinger ’45. The wine waiter replies:

‘A fine wine, monsieur,’ said the sommelier. ‘But if the monsieur will permit,’ he pointed with his pencil, ‘the Blanc de Blanc Brut 1943 of the same marque is without equal.’

Bond accepts the suggestion, noting to Vesper that while this is not a well-known brand, “it is probably the finest champagne in the world.”

In seems that Bond has spent time extolling the virtues of Taittinger to others, including his boss, M. From Moonraker:

We’ve got some good champagnes, haven’t we, Grimley? None of that stuff you’re always telling me about, I’m afraid, James. Don’t often see it in England. Taittinger, wasn’t it?”

Bond tries to play it down, saying it was only a “fad” of his, but we know better. Following Grimley’s suggestion however, Bond ends up with a Dom Perignon ‘46.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond has checked into the Hotel Splendide, he “ordered from Room Service a bottle of the Taittinger Blanc de Blanc that he had made his traditional drink at Royale.” 

So, that tradition appears to have begun in Casino Royale.

This ad is from just a couple of years after OHMSS was written:



The Stinger makes a few appearances in the Fleming novels. This sweet cocktail of crème de menthe mixed with a spirit – usually brandy – is a classic before or after dinner drink.

In Diamonds Are Forever, after dinner at ’21’ James Bond and Tiffany case have drinks and coffee.

Tiffany ordered a Stinger made with white crème de menthe and Bond ordered the same.

Near the end of the book, when the two of them are on the ship headed to England, again they have just finished dinner and are awaiting the rest of the evening.

They got into the lift for the Promenade Deck. “And now what, James?” said Tiffany. “I’d like some more coffee, and a Stinger made with white Crème de Menthe, while we listen to the Auction Pool.

In Thunderball, when Leiter and Bond go to the casino, they head to the tables only after having “coffee and a stinger at the bar”.


White, or clear crème de menthe is critical to a good stinger. Save the green stuff for Largo’s crème de menthe frappe!


Vodka Tonic

In Thunderball, when Bond meets Domino for the first time, he talks her into going for drinks, and orders a Vodka and Tonic with a dash of bitters. (She has a double Bloody Mary with plenty of worcester sauce.)

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, on the night prior to heading out to Blofeld’s Piz Gloria lair as Sir Hilary Bray, Bond prepares for the trip:

As the taxi got under way, Bond made his plan for the evening. He would first do an extremely careful packing job of his single suitcase, the one that had no tricks to it, have two double vodkas and tonics with a dash of Angostura, eat a large dish of May’s specialty – scrambled eggs fines herbes – have two more vodkas and tonics, and then, slightly drunk, go to bed with half a grain of Seconal.

A slight variation on the Vodka and Tonic, the addition of the bitters adds a little depth to the drink.

vodka, tonic & fee bros oldfashioned bitters

Crème de Menthe Frappé

In Thunderball, as the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. crew finishes up Phase III and Largo has made his radio call to Blofeld, he “went into the stateroom and carefully made himself a tall glass of his favourite drink – crème de menthe frappé with a maraschino cherry on top. He sipped it delicately to the end and ate the cherry.”

A Crème de Menthe Frappé is simply shaved ice with Green Crème de Menthe poured over the top.


Whisky and Soda

This page will be periodically updated as we move through the novels…

While James Bond is normally associated with the vodka martini, it might be more accurate to associate Fleming’s Bond with whisky drinks, and especially the whisky and soda.

In Live and Let Die, when Bond and Felix Leiter head out to Harlem, they have at least three rounds of scotch-and-sodas. At Sugar Rays it was Haig and Haig Pinchbottle. At the Savoy Ballroom and at The Boneyard, it is just scotch-and-soda.

When Bond arrives in Jamaica, Strangways poured a strong whisky- and-soda for both of them.

In Moonraker, the drink appears several times in the book. M has it at Blades, as do Drax, Basildon and other principals of the night. On the night Major Tallon was killed, he was having a whisky and soda, and Bond in his follow up to the murder has the same.

As he prepares to head to Crab Key to take on Dr. No, Bond has Canadian Club with soda-water.

At the start of Thunderball, Bond is feeling the effects of having had eleven (11!) whisky and sodas the preceding evening.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the first time Bond meets “the girls” as Sir Hilary Bray, he orders a whisky and soda from the barman.

At his final meal on the mountain, even as he is planning his escape, “Bond concentrated on getting plenty of whisky and food under his belt.”

At Quarterdeck, after the meeting with M on Christmas Day, it is tea time. M orders tea from Hammond, but then says ‘Or rather have a whisky and soda?’ ‘Whisky, please, sir.’ said Bond with infinite relief.

At two in the morning, Bond arrives at the home of the Swiss representative of the secret service, and says “a drink will fix me.” Muir then pours himself a thin whisky and soda to keep Bond company. We’re assuming Bond had the same.

I need to research this further, but I’d be willing to guess that in the Fleming novels, Bond consumes more whisky and sodas than he does martinis.

The whisky soda may be dismissed by some modern drinkers – wrote a defense of the drink – and cited a NY Times article that showed that adding soda (or just water) does not just dilute or weaken the drink:

“Aroma molecules are also more chemically similar to alcohol molecules than they are to water, so they tend to cling to alcohol, and are quicker to evaporate out of a drink when there’s less alcohol to cling to,” wrote food scientist Harold McGee in The New York Times. “Add water and there’s less alcohol to irritate and burn, and more aroma release.”


Bourbon and Branch Water

In Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond is in America, and is again escorted by Felix Leiter for a time and given lessons in the native food and drink.

He walked home with the crowds, had a shower and some sleep, and then found his way to a restaurant near the sales ring and spent an hour drinking the drink that Leiter had told him was fashionable in racing circles – Bourbon and branch water. Bond guessed that in fact the water was from the tap behind the bar, but Leiter had said that real Bourbon drinkers insist on having their whisky in the traditional style, with water from high up in the branch of the local river where it will be purest. The barman didn’t seem surprised when he asked for it, and Bond was amused at the conceit.

Branch water is preferable if it has been limestone-filtered, which removes the iron from the water. Iron would discolor the bourbon. Bourbon is made with limestone-filtered water, and as part of the state of Kentucky sits on an ancient limestone aquifer, it is the bourbon capital of the world. Limestone-filtered water is also very smooth on the palette, and thus is the perfect mixer for the bourbon.

At least five times in the novel Bond has this drink. When he is in Las Vegas, he orders the drink again, and tests the bartender, as Leiter had told him Vegas was a desert and there were no river branches to get the water out of.

He walked over to the bar and ordered himself a Bourbon and branch water to celebrate the five thousand dollars in his pocket.

The barman produced a corked bottle of water and put it beside Bond’s ‘Old Grandad’.

‘Where’s this come from? ‘ asked Bond, remembering what Felix Leiter had said.

‘Over by Boulder Dam,’ said the barman, seriously. ‘Comes in by truck every day. Don’t worry,’ he added “it’s the real stuff.”

When he is being held by Spang in Spectreville, Bond also demands a bourbon and branch water “half and half” before talking. Nowadays, Branch is simply a term that many bourbon drinkers use for water.




In the short story The Hildebrand Rarity, Milton Krest consumes three double bullshots “vodka in iced consomme” before lunch, and then beer with the meal.

Bullshots were a drink that became fairly popular in the 1950’s. Sometimes served hot, the drink was usually made from beef broth, and along with the vodka, some people put hot sauce into it as well.


When James Bond is sent to meet up with Kristatos in Risico, he has “been told to look for a man with a heavy mustache who would be sitting by himself drinking an Alexandra.”

Bond thinks that the “creamy, feminine drink” of a “tall-stemmed glass of cream and vodka” is an amusing and clever secret recognition signal.


In Risico while meeting with Kristatos, Bond orders a Negroni.

Bond nodded. ‘A Negroni. With Gordon’s, please.’

The waiter walked back to the bar. ‘Negroni. Uno. Gordon’s.’

Like the Americano, the Negroni contains equal amounts Campari and sweet vermouth. It also contains an equal measure of gin. In the story, Bond specifies Gordon’s gin, a favorite of his.

The drink is said to have been invented around 1920, when Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano—sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda—with gin swapped in for the standard soda.

Others are skeptical of this claim, wondering if this yarn is just a bit of brilliant corporate PR by Campari, noting that the drink doesn’t appear in cocktail manuals until the middle of the century.

Risico was written after Fleming visited Venice (and the Lido peninsula) in 1958.

Negroni with Bond’s preferred Gordon’s.

If I’m making a Negroni, these are my preferred mixers:


Plymouth Gin, Campari and Dolin Vermouth.