Last Call

James Bond Now Drinks Heineken. So What?

Ring the bell, it's time for Last Call, where JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice and recipes. Got a burning question for your bartender? Leave it in the comments and it might be answered in a future column.

By now, you might have heard about the new James Bond film, Skyfall. It's coming to your favorite megaplex in about a month. This time, Bond is trading in the iconic vodka martini for... wait for it... Heineken. Yup, he's swilling one of the most popular (if nondescript) imported beers in the world. Suffice to say, more than a few Bond fans (and more than a few booze fans) have their knickers in a bunch over this development.

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The way people are reacting over the apparent selling out of James Bond, you'd think someone pissed on their grandmother's grave. These people do have a bit of a point. When you think of Bond, practically the first thing you associate with him is his classic drink: A vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. It's an iconic order, one that shaped the way America drinks. But where did it come from?

Cocktail purists who enjoy Bond often believe that 007 preferred the Vesper, a variation on the classic Gin Martini. After all, he ordered it in the original Bond novel Casino Royale, and gave quite detailed instructions including the finer points of making it. He then named it after the first Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. But, if you're familiar with the story, you know that by the end he was more than done with Lynd. I believe the exact way he put it was "The bitch is dead now." One can only assume he lost his taste for the drink about the same time.

Bond's first time in film with his Martini order was in the first Bond film, Dr. No. If you watch it, you may notice there's quite a few strategically placed vodka bottles. Every single bottle has the label facing the camera. And, every label has the shiny red Smirnoff logo. That's right folks, Bond started shilling products over fifty years ago, right out of the gate. Do you think he drives Aston Martins just because they're British automobiles?

So, if you feel mild consternation over James Bond's new preferred libation, get over it. He's been doing this for decades. And, it could be worse. Can you imagine him swilling Michelob Ultra?

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JK Grence
Contact: JK Grence