From epic chase scenes and near-death experiences to countless seductions, James Bond has secured his place as the toughest and most debonair secret agent in cinematic history. But what sets him apart from other movie characters is that 007 has his own signature cocktail: The Martini. “Shaken, not stirred” is arguably Bond’s most famous line, and it’s created quite the—dare we say it—stir among fans and bartenders alike.
The hype really started with Sean Connery’s portrayal of 007 in the 1962 film Dr. No. We learn that even his enemies know how Bond takes his drink when the doc’s servant brings Bond a Martini, and, much to his surprise, it’s made perfectly. But Connery is, even now, the iconic leading man and set the standard for suave drinking. He demonstrates this time and time again in movies like Goldfinger, the first time Bond orders the drink for himself, and in You Only Live Twice, when his friend Henderson accidentally offers him a stirred Martini, which, ever the gentleman, he accepts graciously.
Up next? Roger Moore’s Bond girls, of course. While the actor had the hard task of following Connery, it’s impossible to deny that he also had a special kind of charm. In The Spy Who Loved Me, leading lady Agent XXX certainly feels it and orders 007 a cocktail, while Bond’s Brazilian contact, Manuela, actually fixes him a drink herself in 1979’s Moonraker.
And as the years passed, Bond got even more creative with how he enjoyed his cocktails. In The World Is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan’s 007 fights his way through a crowded joint, eventually pinning his assailant to the bar with a knife, picking up a Martini, taking a sip and moving on with his business.
But while these Bond moments are classics, we admit that we got goosebumps when, in the 2006 adaptation of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s James Bond goes back to his roots by ordering a Vesper. (The tipple is Bond’s first signature drink in Ian Fleming’s original novel.) Just before the big poker game starts, Bond asks for “three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” Three of his competitors promptly ask for the same, one adding: “keep the fruit.”
If you’re wondering how the drink got its name, a little later on in the movie Bond smoothly explains to his self-deprecating leading lady, Vesper Lynd: “I think I’ll call it a Vesper.”
“Because of the bitter aftertaste?” she replies. “No, because once you’ve tasted it, that’s all you want to drink,” Bond says. Smooth.
Not long after, however, the drink nearly leads to Bond’s demise when it’s poisoned by Le Chiffre. But, of course, Bond recovers, runs back into the bar and demands a Vodka Martini. When the barkeep asks if he’d like that shaken or stirred, he responds, “Do I look like I give a damn?” Fair enough, Mr. Bond, fair enough.
And last but not least, in the latest 007 installment, Skyfall, Bond manages to throw back a shot of tequila while staring down an angry scorpion on his drinking hand. He traps the creature under the glass and promptly exits. Not a bad opening scene—we were happy to see he’d been using his time productively while in hiding.
But no matter if it’s original Bond Sean Connery or current leading man Daniel Craig, 007 always drinks with style. The best part? You don’t have to be a secret agent to enjoy one of these classic concoctions. Check out our How to Cocktail videos to learn how to make a Martini and a Vesper. Bottoms up!
What’s your favorite Martini moment in a James Bond film?
(Photo courtesy MGM/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)