On second thoughts, don’t drink like James Bond because he drinks a lot. A study of drinking in the Ian Fleming novels calculated that in one book You Only Live Twice he drank 132 units in  one week – that’s almost ten times the amount recommended by the British Medical Association of 14 units per week. It works at about 60 glasses of wine. Bond also smoked around 70 cigarettes a day – not recommended. He also did lots of other dangerous stuff which we wouldn’t recommend either.

But he did also have quite particular tastes in alcoholic drinks which are worth exploring. So here we go. 

How to drink like James Bond

There’s a lot of drinking in here

Here’s how to drink like James Bond


Bond really liked a cocktail and he was quite particular about how they should be served

Vodka Martini

The ultimate Bond drink. When the books came out in the 1950s, vodka was quite unusual in Britain and America, and would have marked Bond down as a man of taste. In Dr No (1958), he says: “I would like a medium Vodka dry Martini— with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred, please. I would prefer Russian or Polish vodka.” In the films “shaken, not stirred” became Bond’s catchphrase. But if you talk to most bartenders, they say that you should never shake a Martini because it dilutes it too much and makes it cloudy. 

So why does Bond order it like this? There are various theories. The first is that Fleming didn’t know what he was talking about, or that Bond was making sure he wasn’t completely intoxicated by having a slightly more dilute drink. 

Last year I finally got round to making a Martini a la Bond, and, once I’d got over the cloudiness from the fine ice particles, it’s actually a delicious drink: very very cold from the shaking, a little more dilute than the stirred version. Perhaps Bond was on to something.

Kavka vodka Martini

Shaken, not stirred

The Vesper Martini

This seems to have been invented by Fleming. In the first novel, 1953’s Casino Royale: “Bond insisted on ordering Leiter’s Haig-and-Haig ‘on the rocks’ and then he looked carefully at the barman. ‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’

Now there’s a man who knows what he wants. Sadly Kina Lillet was discontinued in 1986, original bottles are like gold dust only more expensive. Most bartenders recommend Cocchi Americano, an aromatised wine made with cinchona bark, instead. Having never tried the original I cannot comment, only to say that the Vesper is a great drink especially if you use a really weighty vodka.


This is made from equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth served with ice and a spritz of soda water. It gets its name from its popularity with  American tourists to Italy in the ‘50s. 

It crops up in quite a few Bond books including the short story ‘From a View to a Kill’ where Bond recommends drinking it in hot weather where one of his more usual drinks like a vodka Martini would be too strong. It’s a great drink for when you really want a Negroni but plan to get some work done/ bump off a Smersh agent in the afternoon.

James Bond smells Cognac in Goldfinger

Bond could be a monumental drinks bore

Whisky and other spirits

Bond proves himself a monumental drink bore in the Goldfinger film (1964) when enjoying an after dinner Cognac with M. He comments: “I’d say it’s a thirty-year-old fine, indifferently blended . . . with an overdose of bon bois.” Nobody likes a smart arse, James.

In the books, Bond is an enthusiastic drinker of Whisky & Sodas. His brand of choice is Black & White, a blended Scotch originally produced by James Buchanan & Co Ltd, it’s now a rather unloved part of the Diageo stable.

In the films, with a firm eye on product placement, Bond has become a single malt drinker. During the Pierce Brosman era, he drank Talisker but for the Daniel Craig films he’s very much a Macallan man. Even using it in a bizarre drinking game involving scorpions in Skyfall (2012). Again, not recommended. Later in the film, the evil villain Silva, played by Javier Bardem, offers Bond a Macallan 1962 50 year Old. Show off. 

A reader reminded me that Bond is also a keen American whiskey enthusiast. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (published in 1963), Bond pours himself “a stiff Jack Daniel’s sourmash bourbon on the rocks and added some water.” Jack Daniel’s also crops up in the Pierce Brosnan film Goldeneye (1995) while in Goldfinger, Sean Connery enjoys a “bourbon and branchwater” with the eponymous villain and Pussy Galore. Well, he is in Kentucky. Sean Connery would go on to do adverts for Jim Beam bourbon which also appears in the hugely underrated Timothy Dalton Bond film The Living Daylights (1987).


Bond’s next favourite drink is Champagne. If you watch the Roger Moore films from the 1970s and ‘80s, he drinks a lot more Champagne than cocktails as befits the smoothest man to have ever walked the face of the earth. There’s an awful lot of Champagne drinking in Fleming’s novels too. In Casino Royale, Bond describes a 1943 Taittinger Blanc de Blancs as “probably the finest champagne in the world.” 

But the two brands most associated with Bond are Dom Perignon and Bollinger. In the film of Goldfinger, Sean Connery says: “there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!” Here Bond is not only wrong about the Beatles but about the temperature to serve Champagne. That’s around 3 degrees Celsius, just above freezing, far too cold to appreciate such a great wine.

Bollinger’s most notable appearance in a Bond film occurs in Moonraker (1979). Roger Moore visits Dr Goodhead (geddit?) in her hotel room in Venice. Noting a bottle of Bollinger in the ice bucket, he quips: “If it is the 69, you were expecting me.” As I said, none smoother. 

Drink like James Bond

Roger Moore, none smoother

Other wines

While Bond is very much a Champagne and spirits man, as befits someone of Fleming’s generation, there are some wines in the books such as Château Mouton Rothschild and Piesporter Goldtropfchen from the Mosel in Goldfinger. Its not all fine wines though. In Live and Let Die, published in 1954, Bond drinks Liebfraumilch. In other words, Blue Nun! While in From Russia with Love (1956), Bond enjoys a bottle of Chianti on the train.

Château Angélus, an extremely expensive St. Emilion features prominently in some of the Daniel Craig films. In Casino Royale, Bond enjoys a bottle with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) on a train to Montenegro. There’s clearly something about wine, women, and trains for Bond.

Seven bottles to help you drink like Bond:

Cocchi Americano

Kavka Polish Vodka

Tanqueray London Dry Gin

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino


Bollinger Special Cuvee

Dom Perignon 2013