Tuesday, January 08, 2008

James Bond Stamps Commemorate Centenary

And A Question for the Deceased...

One of Pop Culture's heavy hitters (and James Bond's papa) Ian Fleming, is being honored in his native homeland. Six British stamps have just been released to mark the centenary of his birth. As a pop culture junkie, I have to say 'hip, hop, hooray' to that. Who doesn't love an eternally sun-tanned, nimble-footed, womanizing, weapon-toting mystery man. Those bad boys are a chick magnet for a reason.

My favorite James Bond was Roger Moore, who is only slightly ahead of Sean Connery. Or, maybe Sean Connery is just ahead of Roger Moore. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I wouldn't kick either of them out of bed. (Pierce Brosnan on the other hand... too pretty to be Bond. I'd rather kiss Miss Moneypenny. Or, Halle Berry's character. Ok, not her character, just Halle Berry. But, I digress...)

Of course, in my line of work, I wound up thinking about the impact James Bond films have had on modern drinking, and it isn't necessarily a good thing...

At first glance, James Bond is to a martini what the Marlboro Man is to a cigarette. The brilliant personification of ingestible "cool." The elegant image of a health-jeopardizing, potentially addictive substance. The epitome of masculine sexiness wrapped up in one little, easily accessible mouthful.

You may remember my post on vodka's sneaky little takeover where a "Vodka Gimlet" left me somewhat baffled: gimlet=gin in my world. I have nothing against vodka, per se - and use it in some of my own drink recipes. However, when I hear a guy whine about wanting vodka in his gin drink, I just have to cringe.

Bond, apparently, only drank vodka martinis - which actually brings him down one peg below the Marlboro Man, in my estimation of manliness. If a man can't handle gin, how tough can he really be? Maybe that's why the other kids taunted him with the nickname "octo-pussy."

Incidentally, James Bond also asks for the martini to be "shaken, not stirred," which is frowned upon by many bartenders. It waters down the drink, and "bruises" the gin. (I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure what they mean by "bruising" the gin other than it waters it down... maybe someone could clarify that in the comments, below...)

And, back to the Bond martini... what about vermouth, for Crissakes? What - about - the - vermouth??

I'd love to ask the venerable Mr. Fleming, "Why? Why vodka over gin?" Maybe it was it considered more exotic in those days? Or the rumors that gin leaves an "awful hangover" (as if vodka didn't...) Or, maybe Bond was sensitive deep-down because I do hear a lot of girls say, "gin makes me cry."

On this centenary of your birth, I implore, "Why, Mr. Fleming, can't a hotshot British spy can't handle his gin?!"

Well, letting by-gones be by gones and sleeping dogs lie, there's nothing to do but lift our eyes to the Heavens and yell
"Happy Centenary!" raising a double shot of Smirnoff in honor of Ian Flemming, Roger Moore and Sean Connery. Ok, Halle Berry, too. (And, not necessarily in that order...)

Photo courtesy of

1 comment:

The Opinionated Alchemist said...

I read Casino Royale- incidentially the first novel of Ian Flemming quite a while ago.
What I discovered was, that 007 didn't ordered a normal Vodka Martini, but a (later named) Vesper Martini with Vodka, Gin, Kina Lillet and a lemon twist! You can call this gentleman a cocktail-snob!

This was lost in the countless Bond movies - maybe they formerly thought, that it is too detailed for the film... (fortunately, they discovered it again in the current one).

Bond was always quite a connoisseur; and I don't mean here the ladies...

Foie Gras, truffles, Bollinger (Prestige-Vintage) and Dom Perignon and other things are on his preferred list. My goodness; I think he was in his former life bartender...