James Bond, the well known fictional character originally created in 1953 by Ian Fleming has obviously captured the imagination of many, starring in 23 movies, books, short stories, radio, television, and even comic strips. James is a British Secret Service agent, or let’s just say spy, code name 007, who is highly intelligent, incredibly sophisticated, very popular with beautiful women, and simply, lives an unbelievable lifestyle. What we might term the James Bond Lifestyle is incredibly alluring to most.
As a connoisseur of all things great, an interesting question is what does James drink? We’ll get to his choices of Champagne in a moment, favorite beverage, but he also likes Vodka Martinis, shaken not stirred. In fact “shaken, not stirred” has entered our lexicon due to Bond. Martinis are traditionally stirred, although few modern bartenders either understand that or know how to do it properly (try 40 turns with a bar spoon). The only reason I can understand for shaking is to ensure the drink is “very cold,” his stated preference.
He also likes “Vespers,” a drink he invents in the book Casino Royale, which is “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.” It is unusual as it combines both gin and vodka. Today, Kina Lillet is no longer available and Lillet Blanc is usually substituted.
In Ian Fleming’s novels his preference is usually Taittinger, although he drank a couple bottles of Dom Pérignon '46 in Moonraker. Ian Fleming’s favorite was supposedly Taittinger. James Bond’s preferences in the movies change over time.
In the early movies, he drinks a lot of Dom Pérignon. He has Dom ’55 in the first Bond movie Dr. No, after saying he prefers the ’53. Marilyn Monroe also said many times her favorite drink was Dom ’53. In Thunderball he also has the ’55. He also states he prefers the ’53 in Goldfinger. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service he has Dom ’57, in You Only Live Twice: he has the Dom ’59, and in The Man with the Golden Gun he has the ’64 saying he prefers the 62. I loved how in The Spy Who Loved Me, he comments that ““Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ’52 can’t be all bad” referring to megalomaniac and overall evil dude Karl Stromberg.
He does drink some Taittinger in the movies, for example a bottle of Taittinger Tete de Cuvee Blanc de Blanc in From Russia With Love he has cooling in a river while on a date.
He switches to Bollinger in later movies, starting with Live and Let Die where he has a bottle, variety unknown (as in Quantum of Solace). In Moonraker, Octopussy, The Living Daylights, and License to Kill he shows a preference for Bollinger RD (Recently Disgorged), and vintages include ’69, ’75, and ’79. He switches to my favorite Bond Champagne, Bollinger La Grand Annee in Goldeneye and also drinks it in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, and Casino Royale. Vintages include ’61, ’88, ’89, ’90, ‘and ’95.
Bond doesn’t get everything right about Champagne. For example, in Goldfinger he says “there are some things that just aren't done. Such as drinking Dom Pérignon '53 above a temperature of 38 degrees Farenheight.” While we all may have our different preferences, 38 degrees is too cold!
So exactly what is James Bond Champagne? Hard to say, but he clearly loves Dom Perignon, Taittinger, and Bollinger and often has significant vintage preferences. Since these Champagnes are stylistically very different, let's just say he loves Champagne.