James Bond Feed

We'll Always Have Paris -- Harry's and Hemingway

Drink iconically in Paris!  Both of these legendary bars predate the great movie Casablanca, which is the source of many classic lines, e.g. the subject title of this post.   One night in Paris my wife and I visited these historic bars to soak in some history and cocktails (not necessarily in that order).     

HarrysBarParisHarry's Bar opened in 1911.  American expats and visitors initially formed the bulk of its clientele.   Notable people who have imbibed there over the years include Humphrey Bogart (one of the stars in Casablanca) and Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond novels; in Casino Royale 007 refers to Harry's as the best place in Paris for a "solid drink").  Despite its American origin, Harry's is named for Harry McElhone, a Scotsman who tended bar there in the 1920s.  My wife and I were pleasantly surprised that most of Harry's current patrons were native French speakers, or at least they were the night we were there. 

Our experience at Harry's was worthwhile but not worth repeating.  The cocktails certainly were above average and the bartenders were proficient.  However, the service and atmosphere were perfunctory.  We didn't feel like we were being pushed out the door, but nothing about Harry's invited us to stay, linger, and have another drink or two.

RitzParisThe Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris hotel is named for that Hemingway (the inspiration for the Hemingway Daiquiri).  The bar was in business before Papa started drinking there, but he supposedly liberated it from the Nazis towards the end of World War II.  The place oozes class, elegance, and discretion.  For example, you can't take photos and there is an informal dress code.

The Bar Hemingway is fairly deep inside the hotel.  The journey is worth the very expensive cocktail or two.  Once my initial sticker shock wore off, I was able to appreciate our finely crafted drinks. Unlike the vibe in Harry's, the atmosphere in the Bar Hemingway felt more welcoming, e.g. the bartender was delighted to have us sample the house ginger essence.

Bottom line -- Harry's and Bar Hemingway both blend cocktails and history, but if you have to pick one (and can afford it), follow Papa's lead.

Great Scot! -- The Bobby Burns

Robert Burns was an 18th century Scottish poet and a big deal in the Romantic movement.  Even if you're like me and don't know much about poetry, you probably have heard his most famous poem -- Auld Lang Syne.  It's the song everyone massacres on New Year's Eve because they don't know the  words and/or have had too many cocktails (the title roughly translates as "days gone by" or "old times"). 

2 ounces scotch (I used Monkey Shoulder)
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I love Carpano Antica)
.5 ounces Benedictine

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the grace and passion of creating your own liquid poetry, and strain into a chilled glass.

Combining these ingredients may look odd, but they complement each other nicely.  You can adjust the ratios depending on the taste of the scotch you use, or how sweet you want the drink to be.  I suggest scotch constitute at least half of the Bobby Burns.

The Bobby Burns is one of many Scottish things and/or people that I like.  Others include the actor Sean Connery and bagpipe music.  Yes, bagpipe music.   If hearing a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace (click on the above link) doesn't move you, you have no soul.

Whether your cultural tastes run towards Robert Burns from Scotland or Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons, you'll like the Bobby Burns.  But unless you have Scottish blood in you, please don't start singing Auld Lang Syne.

Party Like It's 1959

Or, in the words of Prince, party like it's 1999.  Just as long as it's a cocktail party.  This 2014 article from the Huffington Post website gives you nine good reasons to have a cocktail party (click here for the article).  Sometimes the old ways are the best; James Bond geeks like me will know from which movie this line comes (hint -- Moneypenny utters it).  Thanks to my friend Joselle for posting the article.

Pearls Before Swine

So what should you serve at your cocktail party?  Obviously I suggest libations from the Wulf Cocktail Den, or whatever your liver desires.  Even if using the word "libation" might make you a snooty fatface (thanks to Stephan Pastis and his great comic strip Pearls Before Swine).



007 Orders a Cosmo?

Yes (with sugar free cranberry juice!).  He also orders a strawberry daiquiri with three umbrellas, a Robitussin and tonic .........

Calm down.  James Bond doesn't actually order those  cocktails in the movies or novels.  Fortunately Daniel Craig, who has played 007 in four movies, has an excellent sense of humor.  Watch below or click here to see a hilarious clip from Craig's recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Thanks to my friend (and fellow Bond geek) Sarah for telling me about this clip. 

If you want to read more about the drinking habits of 007 and his creator, look at James Bond's ABC and Drinking Like Ian Fleming.  Or just click the James Bond archive tab on the right to see everything the Den has to offer about Bond, James Bond.




A Ferocious Bond -- The Double O Intense Martini

What makes a vodka martini more intense?  Belvedere Intense vodka.  Belvedere, which is now James Bond's vodka, issued this limited release earlier this year.  My wife and I had the pleasure of discovering it while going through duty free at Heathrow Airport in London. 

Double O Intense MartiniHow does Belvedere Intense differ from regular Belvedere (which is one of my favorite vodkas)?  The proof is in the proof.  Regular Belvedere is 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume), and Belvedere Intense comes in at a muscular 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume).

If you acquire Belvedere Intense and want to make your Double O Intense Martini in the style of Sir Roger Moore, click here for how to do it.  If you like to make your Double O Intense Martini some other way, go for it.

So how did Ian Fleming, who wrote the novels, come up with the Double O label?  Thanks to Stewart, a fantastic guide for the James Bond walking tour at Brit Movie Tours, I learned the answer -- 007 was a German diplomatic code during World War I.  British intelligence cracked the code and intercepted what is now known as the Zimmerman Telegram, which influenced the decision of the United States to enter the war.

Now you've had a cocktail knowledge shot with a history back. Cheers!

Variation on a Vesper

Vesper with MancinoSometimes changing one ingredient transforms an entire cocktail.  The Vesper is no exception.  I made my version of this classic 007 cocktail, which James Bond himself created, with Bianco Ambrato vermouth from Mancino Vermouth.  Full disclosure -- I did not receive any compensation, but Giancarlo Mancino generously gave me a free bottle when I met him at Tales of the Cocktail earlier this year.  I also met the U.S. distributor, so we can get it through the Internet.

3 ounces vodka
1 ounce dry gin
.5 ounces Mancino Bianco Ambrato vermouth

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake con passione as if you were with a Bond girl or Bond (depending on your preference), and strain into a chilled glass.

The Bianco Ambrato has a distinctive flavor compared to other dry vermouths.  It strikes the delicate balance of asserting itself without overpowering the entire cocktail.  Bravo!

The Bitch Is Dead -- The Vesper

Vesper 4"The bitch is dead" -- this is how James Bond describes the demise of Vesper Lynd, the girl who broke his heart.  In Casino Royale (both the novel and the movie starring Daniel Craig), Bond falls in love with Vesper before he learns she is a double agent and she commits suicide.  All of this happens after he creates a cocktail in her honor.  Here is my version:

3 ounces vodka (I recommend Belvedere or Zyr)
1 ounce dry gin
.5 ounces dry vermouth (I like Noilly Prat)

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the fury of 007 exacting vengeance on his enemies, and strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with lemon peel.

Vesper 1Those of you who are fans of James Bond and/or the Vesper immediately will notice the big difference between my version and the original.  The original calls for a 3:1 ratio of gin to vodka (click here for a YouTube clip of Bond ordering the drink).  I like vodka a lot more than I like gin, so my Vesper reverses the ratio in favor of vodka.  Also, I use dry vermouth instead of Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine (with a new formula it's now known as Lillet Blanc), that Bond mentions because it's easier to obtain.

Bond would respect my variation on the Vesper, as he is a bit of a cocktail maverick himself.  After all, his preference that his vodka martinis be "shaken not stirred" runs contrary to the Hamlet Cocktail Conundrum.

The Vesper is a big cocktail in that it contains four ounces of high proof alcohol.   Think you can handle it?  Go Bond or go home.

Drinking Like Ian Fleming

The Aston Martin DB5 -- my favorite Bond car.
The Aston Martin DB5 -- my favorite James Bond car.

During my recent journey to London I had all sorts of James Bond related experiences.  They included a great walking tour courtesy of Brit Movie Tours (the motto of the tour should be "For Bond Geeks And The People Who Love Them"), a fascinating exhibit entitled Bond In Motion at the London Film Museum, and a cocktail at Dukes Hotel bar.

007 doesn't actually live here.
007 doesn't actually live here.

Why Dukes?  Because it was Ian Fleming's favorite watering hole.  Yes, that Ian Fleming, the man who wrote the James Bond novels.  Amusingly, after watching Dr. No (the first movie) he thought the character's adaptation to the silver screen was a disaster.  After 24 (and counting) films in more than 50 years, clearly he was wrong.  

MI6 headquarters (really).
MI6 headquarters (really).

Rumor has it that Fleming coined the iconic phrase "shaken not stirred" for the James Bond martini while imbibing at Dukes.  Dukes has embraced its connection to Fleming and his literary creation, as much of its cocktail menu has a James Bond theme.

Another reason why Dukes might be for your eyes only -- the place makes martinis to die for.  Or live and let die for.  Or give you a license to kill for.  You get the idea.

James Bond's ABC

As in Alcoholic Body Count.  Thanks to an infographic from Food & Wine, you can just see how much 007 drinks in every film (23 and counting).  Click here to read it.  You might learn some interesting things, e.g. Daniel Craig drinks more than his counterparts.  Thanks to my wife for finding this for me.

Readers of the Den know I'm a big James Bond fan.  If you want to see Sir Roger Moore's version of 007 cocktail's here, or for a cocktail tribute to my favorite Bond girl click here.

If you want to learn about what Bond drinks in the movies (as opposed to how much), I recommend 007 On the Rocks by Stephan Kurr.  The book is a quick and informative read.

So (cue the theme music), we'll have to see how much Bond drinks when SPECTRE comes to the silver screen later this year.


Shaken Not Stirred -- The James Bond Martini

Martini, Vodka Martini.  This is 007's cocktail.  Of course, martinis predated the literary and cinematic franchise that Ian Fleming spawned.  However, those martinis used gin.  Due to my obsession with James Bond, I've read a lot about his drinks and drinking habits (I even attended a seminar) and contributed to the discourse, e.g. click here to read about a cocktail I associate with the movie Goldfinger.

Drink like the world's most famous British spy.
Drink like the world's most famous British spy.

This recipe comes from a man who knows a lot about James Bond -- Sir Roger Moore.  With apologies to Sir Roger, I changed the recipe  ever so slightly:

3 ounces vodka (I recommend Zyr)
.5 ounces dry vermouth (I used Noilly Prat)

Pour the vermouth in a martini glass, swirl it around, then pour the excess into a shaker.  Swirl the vermouth around the shaker, and discard the remainder.  Put two ice cubes and the vodka into the shaker, shake as if you're maneuvering an Aston Martin DB 5 around Blofeld's trap, then put the shaker and the glass in the freezer.  Wait 30 minutes (if you can) and strain the shaker's contents into the glass.  Garnish with lemon.

Click here for an article in the Guardian in which Moore discusses how he makes a vodka martini.  Even though I really like Zyr, use whichever vodka you prefer.   

You'll notice that a shaken vodka martini clashes with the Hamlet Cocktail Conundrum.  Why shake a cocktail that has no citrus or egg white?  Shouldn't you stir it?  Technically you should stir, not shake.  But in the spirit (pun intended) of James Bond, dare to be different.  There will be no spectre of a weak drink.