Several reviewers have commented on the amount James Bond drinks in Solo, the latest 007 novel, and author William Boyd has recalled in interviews how heavy drinking was part of daily life in those days. Back then drinking and driving still wasn’t taboo and a couple of martinis were part of a normal lunch for many.
If you haven’t yet read the book some of this article contains plot spoilers so, if you really don’t want to know, bookmark this page and come back once you’ve read the book.
With that warning out the way, let’s get down to business.
Some believe that Boyd has overdone the booze, but without directly comparing stats with Ian Fleming’s books it is hard to judge. Bond does booze heavily in many of the original novels (see James Bond’s drinks), and so while the alcohol consumed in Solo does seem high, it may not be so excessive in comparison with the past; perhaps that’s something to look at another day.
And anyway, Bond is close to being a functioning alcoholic, if he hasn’t stepped over that line already; much like Fleming himself in fact. He drinks to relax, and often uses alcohol to take the edge of his nerves, which after years in the Double O section must be pretty frayed.
Whatever the reasons, the list below covers the drinks consumed by 007 in Solo:
007 often drinks Champagne and Solo is no exception. He orders a bottle of Taittinger Rosé 1960 to go with his first course when dining at The Dorchester; a bottle of Veuve Clicquot at an Edinburgh oyster bar after discharging himself from hospital; and an unspecified champagne at a Washington DC hotel.
Not only did Bond drink Heineken in Skyfall, but he also drinks the fictional Green Star beer in the equally fictional country of Zanzarim. He orders it a few times while in Africa, first when he dines with Blessing after realising the quality of the wine list.
Bond pours himself three fingers of Dimple Haig when snooping around Bryce’s house while still in London and, later in the book, orders a bottle of Johnnie Walker at his Zanzarim hotel, which is much used as the mission progresses. M thoughtfully brings him a half bottle of Dewar’s while in hospital and once in the United States drinks a number of bourbons, both straight and with water.
On his flight to Zanzarim Bond orders a couple of brandies and soda, while he also drinks straight brandies on a number of occasions with Bryce.
To go with his main course at The Dorchester Bond orders a bottle of Chateau Batailley 1959, while he later orders a carafe of Barolo to go with spaghetti amatricana at a café on King’s Road; and, at a grill in Washington, he drinks Chateau Lynch-Bages 1953 to go with his filet mignon and salad.
Bond orders two dry martinis at a private casino prior to dining at The Dorchester, drinks a bady made dry martini in a Washington bar after a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and mixes what he tells Felix Leiter is an “African martini”, made with Gordon’s gin and freshly squeezed lime juice. He also drinks a very dry vodka martini in the lobby bar of his Washington hotel.
To conclude his meal at the Washington grill, Bond drinks a calvados.