The Man With The Golden Gun: Food & Drink from the novel

An in-depth look at the food and drink from in Ian Fleming’s final novel.

Ian Fleming’s final novel picks up with James Bond’s return to his homeland after being brainwashed by the Russians. You Only Live Twice ended with Bond heading for Vladivostok after suffering amnesia and presumed dead. After suddenly reappearing in London he gets back in contact asking for an appointment with M.

“I think 007’s round the bend”, Bill Tanner warns him.

Needless to say the meeting with Bond doesn’t go well and while M lunches at Blades a sedated James Bond is stretchered out of the building via the service lift. M’s “usual meagre luncheon” at Blades is “a grilled Dover sole followed by the ripest spoonful he could gouge from the club Stilton”. Somewhat out of the ordinary M also orders a bottle of “the Infuriator”, an “Algerian red wine that the wine committee won’t even allow on the wine list”. They only stock it for M who has “never ordered more than half a carafe of the stuff”.

Some weeks later 007 is sent to the West Indies on the trail of Scaramanga after enduring a month of electroconvulsive therapy at the hands of Sir James Moloney. He’s been sent there to redeem himself – or die. Travelling as Mark Hazard of Transworld Consortium – by now the usual Universal Exports cover has been blown – he is passing through Jamaica’s Kingston International Airport.

While awaiting his connecting flight he chances upon a clue that Scaramanga is on the island. He decides to stay to and calls the local Secret Service office to let them know and to arrange a few things for him. Bond is delighted to find none other than Mary Goodnight answers the phone. Before hanging up invites her to dinner that night at Morgan’s Harbour where “we’ll have dinner and swop secrets until the dawn steals over the Blue Mountains”.


At the bar of his harbourside hotel he orders a double Walker’s deluxe bourbon on the rocks and watches the pelicans diving for fish. He orders another drink with a “water chaser” – he’s taking it easy after the shock treatment. He’s asked the owner to put aside two lobsters to serve broiled with melted butter and a pot of foie gras. The owner volunteers to put a bottle of champagne on ice too.

When Goodnight arrives she asks for a daiquiri, while Bond guiltily orders his third bourbon. He’s trying to stick to the rigid rules imposed by Maloney and as well as drinking less he has cut down on cigarettes, “trying to keep to twenty and failing by about five”. Although Fleming doesn’t mention his drink ration, Bond decides the champagne doesn’t count anyway.

Before having dinner Bond asks Goodnight about the whereabouts of her boss, Commander Ross. It turns out he disappeared a few days before while investigating Scaramanga. One of the things Bond had asked her to find out about was 3½ Love Lane in Savannah la Mar. At the airport he had learnt Scaramanga would be there after midday the following day and wants to see if he can encounter the hitman there.

“Did you get anywhere?” he asks. Much to Goodnight’s embarrassment it turns out to be a brothel.

3½ Love Lane

The following day Bond drives to Sav’ la Mar and finds the house of ill repute. Attached is the Dreamland Café where Bond orders a Red Stripe from the girl managing the establishment, Tilly. They talk while Bond drinks his beer and, noticing it is 5:45 pm, tells him she needs to feed her birds.

She feeds the two “kling-klings” – Jamaican grackles named Joe and May – ginger cakes. Bond buys two more ginger cakes for her to give them but while feeding them Scaramanga walks in. She becomes nervous and tells Bond to keep quiet around the hitman, offering him a second beer.

Of course Scaramanga wants to sniff Bond out and, as a demonstration of his prowess with his “gold-plated, long-barrelled, single-action Colt .45” he shoots the two birds dead. In response, Tiffy grabs Bond’s empty bottle and hurls it at Scaramanga.

Bond downs the rest of his beer but having raised Scaramanga’s suspicions, he interrogates Bond. Suspecting him of being a policeman, Bond explains he works in private security. That calms Scaramanga’s ire enough for him to ask Tiffy to bring them more beer. When she brings the bottles and glasses Scaramanga gives her a $100 bill to buy new birds.

By the end of their meeting Scaramanga has hired Bond – or Mark Hazard at least – to act as security for him. He’s about to host a shareholders’ meeting of the Thunderbird Hotel in Negril and wants Bond to make sure his meetings with a few shareholders at a time are not bugged. He’s told to follow Scaramanga’s car to the hotel.

Thunderbird Hotel

After checking in Scaramanga tells Bond he can order anything from room service. And as soon as he has unpacked his case he does exactly that.

He orders a bottle of Walker’s deluxe bourbon with three glasses and ice. He also asks for a dish of eggs Benedict to be brought to his room at 9 pm. By the time he has showered the bourbon has arrived.

“The best drink in the day is just before the first one (the Red Stripe didn’t count)”, Fleming tells us.

Bond adds ice to one of the glasses and pours himself three fingers of bourbon. Pulling a chair up to the open window he swallows the drink in “two long draughts” and refills it with more ice for a weaker drink as he ponders his mission. When the eggs come the chef might have been proud to learn that the mousseline sauce “might have been mixed at Maxim’s”. High praise from Bond indeed.

Before he goes to bed we learn why Bond had asked for three glasses rather than one. He balances them atop his upended suitcase which is placed just inside the door. It acts as a crude alarm should anyone enter while he is asleep.

He wakes at 7:30 and goes to the beach for a swim followed by “a quick and small breakfast in his room”. Afterwards he explores the hotel and realises is only half finished then meets Scaramanga in the lobby. While they inspect the conference room Scaramanga tells Bond to remain outside during the shareholder meetings. He also fills him in on the other shareholders. When he returns to his room he finds it has been searched.

The shareholders’ meeting

Instructed to be in the bar around midday, most of the attendees are drinking champagne when he arrives. The exception is Mr Hendriks, who has a Schweppes Bitter Lemon. The bar is “a mock-English public-house saloon bar with luxury accessories” such as silver tankards and decorated with hunting prints and brass accessories. Bond is invited to “meet the gang” by Scaramanga – and “pass round the canapes”.

Bond orders a pink gin made with Beefeater and “plenty of bitters” and goes to talk to Hendriks, who he pegs as a KGB agent rather than the Dutch businessman he claims to be.

For lunch they are served shrimp cocktail, steak with French fries and fruit salad. While Scaramanga sits at the head of one table, Bond finds he is at the head of another and talks to one of the hoods about roulette odds with one or two zeros.

Afterwards he goes to the beach and nods off to dream of Mary Goodnight. Waking with a start he looks at his watch and finds it is 3:30 so heads to his room for a cold shower. As he is heading back to the conference room the hotel manager invites him to meet his assistant, Mr Travis. When Bond tries to delay the introduction the manager calls him by his own name. Bond curses himself, believing his cover has been blown. However “Mr Travis” turns out to be none other than his old CIA buddy, Felix Leiter.

While the six “shareholders” join Scaramanga in the conference room Bond is instructed to remain outside and make sure no one enters, “even if the hotel catches fire”. Locking both the door of the conference room and that to the lobby, Bond picks up a champagne glass and uses it to eavesdrop on the meeting. When he hears a chair creak he quickly moves his chair back and puts the glass to his lips as if drinking.

After Scaramanga returns to the meeting Bond continues to listen in. He hears Hendriks inform them, “There is a man that is called James Bond that is looking for him in this territory. This is a man who is from the British Secret Service”. When he hears the meeting breaking for lunch he tops up his glass.

“Okay, fellow. I guess that’s enough of the house champagne”, Scaramanga tells him when he emerges from the conference room.

Before he returns to his room Bond fills in the CIA men with what he’s learnt so far. Afterwards he has two “heavy slugs of bourbon”, a cold shower and a nap before dinner .

Evening entertainment

Dinner is “less stuffy than luncheon” and everyone except Hendriks and Scaramanga are pretty drunk after the meeting. It seems to have gone well but Bond notices they all avoid him as best they can. He “had been dealt the death card by the boss”.

They are served “the conventional ‘expensive’ dinner of a cruise ship” consisting of “desiccated” smoked salmon with a thimbleful of black caviar, fillets of an unnamed native fish in a cream sauce, poulet suprême, which is “a badly roasted broiler with a thick gravy”, and bombe surprise for dessert. While they eat tropical decorations are brought in as a backdrop for a calypso band.

Bond is bored of the evening but when he decides to go to bed Scaramanga stops him, telling him “If you figure the evening’s not going so good, make it go better”.

Bond decides the best way to do this is by using Scaramanga’s golden gun to shoot a decorative pineapple off the singer’s head. Afterwards he hands her a hundred dollar bill and tells the band leader “I’ll be sending plenty of rum over to loosen things up”. He then adds some of the unlikeliest words to ever emerge from James Bond’s mouth.

“Smoke weed if you like. We’re private here”.

He tells him to sing Belly Lick “with the blue words” – they’d just performed the clean version – and that the girls needed to wear less and should end up naked.

Bond finally returns to his room at midnight and goes to bed after showering. At 3:30 he is awoken by sound at his window. Mary Goodnight is tapping on the glass to get his attention. She has some important intelligence for him.

Bond leads her into the bathroom and turns on the shower to ensure they are not overheard. Goodnight tells him Hendriks has been told to look out for “the notorious secret agent, James Bond” and to kill him. So far he doesn’t appear to have identified Bond though.

But when they exit the bathroom Scaramanga is standing in the room, gun in hand. They manage to bluster their way out of trouble but Scaramanga ends by asking if, rather than Mark Hazard, he is actually James Bond. More bluster gets Bond through that conversation too.

The next morning Bond wakes early and swims before letting himself into Scaramanga’s room preparing for the action that is sure to come that day. Afterwards, “rather excited” by the prospect of what is about to unfold, he orders an unspecified large breakfast which he consumes “with relish”.

In the lobby Bond hears Hendriks ask Leiter for somewhere private to receive a phone call. He takes the call in a soundproof booth in the lobby while the CIA listens in. Afterwards Leiter tells Bond that Hendriks mentioned his name and number repeatedly during the call. Bond then goes to his room where he has a “strong nip of straight bourbon”.

At midday they assemble in the lobby. Scaramanga explains to the hoods the plans for the day. They’ll take a steam train “engine and rolling stock on the little old Denver, South Park and Pacific line” to a  “Champagne lunch at Green Island[..] After lunch we get aboard the Thunder Bird, big Chris-Craft, and take a cruise along to Lucea, that’s a little township up the coast, and see if we can catch our dinner. Those that don’t want to fish can play stud. Right? Then back here for drinks. Okay?”

Into the mangroves

After the expected showdown with Scaramanga Bond is creeping through the mangroves searching for the gunman. Leiter is injured and Bond is tired, thirsty, and his shoulder is throbbing from a gunshot wound. He daydreams of the lunch at Green Island of “great dishes of cold lobster salad, cold meat cuts. And mounds of fruit – pineapple and such[..] And there would be drink! Champagne in frosted silver coolers, rum punches, Tom Collinses, whisky sours, and, of course, great beakers of iced water” and of Scaramanga “offering Bond just one more goblet of iced champagne”.

He shakes himself out of his reverie. “For God’s sake, no more daydreaming!” he tells himself.

After killing Scaramanga Bond is unconscious in hospital for a week. He receives a cable from M telling him he has been offered a knighthood. He turns it down of course as “there was one thing above all he treasured. His privacy. His anonymity”. Thinking of the only times his CMG got an outing, at the annual Secret Service old boys club, when sharing their stories over Cockburn ’12.

“I just refuse to call myself Sir James Bond. I’d laugh at myself every time I looked in the mirror to shave”, he explains to Goodnight.


David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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