What vodka does James Bond drink?

Drink and drinking

Think you know what vodka James Bond drinks? While it is clear in the films, it is notable that only one vodka brand was ever mentioned throughout Fleming’s stories. Here we take a closer look.

James Bond's Vodka

Since James Bond is so closely associated with vodka and given the frequency by which Ian Fleming namechecked brands it is odd that out of the 12 novels and two collections of short stories he mentioned a vodka brand just once.

Insulting the club Wolfschmidt

The brand was Wolfschmidt, which 007 orders in M’s club while dining together prior to playing Hugo Drax at bridge during Moonraker; on this occasion Bond sprinkles black pepper on the surface of his drink, a habit he picked up in Moscow.

Presumably Fleming had learned the same trick when he was in Moscow before the war, when he reported the espionage trial of six engineers working for Vickers. The pepper sinks to the bottom, taking with it any of the impurities common in low quality vodka.

Afterwards Bond says he probably shouldn’t have insulted the club’s Wolfschmidt, a brand originally distilled in the Latvian capital of Riga, then part of the Soviet Union; today the brand is owned by Beam Inc and reformulated as a budget brand.

Curiously he didn’t do the trick with the pepper in Casino Royale while dining with Vesper, when they both start with chilled vodka and caviar, but perhaps 007 was on his best behaviour that night.

Polish or Russian grain vodka

You might sometimes read that James Bond drank Stolichnaya in the books, but it was never mentioned by Ian Fleming. In Casino Royale Bond tells the barman that his Vesper could only be improved by vodka made from grain rather than potatoes, while in Doctor No he asks for his vodka martini to made with Polish or Russian vodka.

Stolichnaya, made from wheat, won a gold medal when it was introduced to the West in 1953 Bern international trade show when it beat Smirnoff in a blind tasting of vodkas. Casino Royale was published the same year, which makes it difficult to envisage having influenced Fleming as the manuscript would have almost certainly been already finalised.

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You can read more about James Bond’s drinks here

Photo: Vodka Bottle by espensorvik licensed under CC BY 2.0 / caption added to original