Tag Archives: James Bond

Confessions of a Mixologist – Claire Smith

“Excellent Choice, Mr. Bond”, this line from the promotional machinery of Moet Hennessy, the world’s premier luxury wines and spirits company, marks the move to Belvedere vodka, as the spirit of choice for Bond, James, for Spectre. To coincide with this coup, Claire is on her first trip to India to tell us why Bond’s choice in vodka is the right one, and how to enjoy the perfect Martini.

Claire is the head of spirit creation and mixology for Belvedere Vodka, a brand owned by Moet Hennessy. I never realised however that I’d end up discussing the laws of thermodynamics with this elegant blonde, who looked more at a home in a country manor, than in the rough and tumble of a night club bar.

Claire Smith
Claire Smith


Tulleeho – Bond has expressed a preference for his vodka martini, Shaken not Stirred. Does the technique make a difference to the intensity of the drink? Does shaking lessen the intensity of the drink, and hence is Bond a wussy?

Claire – No actually the 2nd rule of thermodynamics states that there can be no change once all the components of the liquid reach the same temperature. So once you’re shaking the Martini, the ingredients reach equilibrium very quickly and nothing else changes, so there’s no further dilution. You can shake a cocktail for 3-4 minutes, and you’ll have the same level of dilution. The difference is that when you stir a Martini, you’ll take much longer to reach that temperature. So it can take upto 90 seconds to get a cocktail down to -5 or -7 degrees, whereas it can take 3 to 5 seconds when you’re shaking. It’s really about the contact the ingredients have with ice, and you’re maximising the surface area when you’re shaking rather than stirring. So it’s not more dilute, it’s more aerated, it feels lighter, and it’s colder.

Tulleeho – Heineken reportedly paid USD 45 million, and got a hit and a miss in Skyfall. Can you control the level and type of exposure you get in Spectre?

Claire – We’re very excited to see how the brand is portrayed or animated in the movie. We’ve had lots of conversations with the production team. We’ve done a lot of internal training on the Martini, to make sure our message is communicated, and I can’t say any more than that at the moment.


Tulleeho – You also have a responsibility for helping develop Belvedere’s flavor portfolio. Any favourites here?

Claire – For Belvedere’s flavours, we use natural and fresh ingredients and are always Belvedere-Bloody-Mary---bottleexperimenting. Last year we launched Mango and Passion fruit, which was the first time we’ve launched something tropical, so that’s very fruit forward and is also a response to the very sweet style of flavours which are popular in the US. The Belvedere Bloody Mary is also a genuine innovation with us taking all the ingredients in a Belvedere Bloody Mary and infusing them into our vodka. The Pink Grapefruit is also an annual bestseller, as people like the innovation, but they also like something they can appreciate and use regularly.

Tulleeho – Bond’s had a long association with Smirnoff, so this is the first time that he’s upgraded his vodka. Why do you think he’s done that?

Claire – Thank you for saying that, I can’t speak about his association with Smirnoff, but it’s very exciting that we’re partners. In Dr No, he asks for Russian or Polish vodka, so we know that he’s a fan of both styles and it’s great to see that he’s selecting a Polish authentic vodka. We know that Bond is a big fan of vodka, so it’s only natural that in 2015 Bond – is picking a luxury vodka. “Excellent choice Mr. Bond”

TulleehoBelvedere is made from rye, as opposed to a lot of vodkas, which use wheat as a base. Rye v/s Wheat, what’s the difference?

Claire – Rye is probably a little more complex a grain than wheat. If you look at rye bread v/s white bread you’ll immediately see the difference. Wheat is a very delicate, light grain, When you distill it, you tend to create more of a neutral style of vodka, with possibly some hints of citrus, rye on the other hand has more of a broad palate, more complexity when you distil it, black pepper, white pepper, spices, to caramel, toffee, etc. somewhere in the middle between indulgent flavours and spice.

This can also depend on how and where it’s distilled. Wheat vodka in Russia can taste very different from wheat vodka in America. We’re using the distillation to liberate the lovely character of our grain. We’re using a lovely grain as well.

TulleehoAre you going to be in the movie?

Claire laughs – “I’m waiting for the call, I’m very busy, and I have to make some time, but for Daniel Craig, I’ll make some exceptions and move some stuff around.”

Tulleeho – What’s your Desert Island drink?

Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka

Claire – Belvedere Pink Grapefruit vodka goes with everything (and coconut water) and I love coconut water!

Dregs – James Bond’s Drinks

The Tulleeho Guide to James Bond’s Drinks:

[toggle title=”Diamonds are Forever” state=”close” ]When in Saratoga drink Bourbon and preferably with branch water – our words not Mr. Fleming’s. Anyway, the first time Bond drank Bourbon with branch water was in Diamonds are forever (on Felix Leiter’s advice). Confused by what branch water is ? For those old enough to remember Dallas, branch water was also J.R’s favourite drink. The answer is simple, branch is nothing more than the term given a stream in the American South. If you can locate a nearby stream near your house (unpolluted preferably!), pick up some water, take it home, put it in a bottle and call it branch water, thus becoming a Bourbon snob.

Bourbon isn’t of course the only thing Bond drank in DAF. He stays loyal to his cocktails, the only variation to his medium dry Martini with a lemon peel is a change in his vermouth to Cresta Blanca, a new brand from California, recommended by Felix. “Best vermouth I ever tasted, said Bond” (what price Kina Lillet, Mr. Bond?). Those out there looking for Cresta Blanca will have to stay disappointed as this product from the Cresta Blanca Winery is long since gone as is the Winery. Hopefully the sandstone cliffs overlooking the Winery (from which it gets its name), remains. The Cresta Blanca Winery was purchased by Wente vineyards in 1981 and turned into their visitor centre.

Bond also drank a Stinger (a popular cocktail of the 60’s) on a couple of occasions with Tiffany Case. The Stinger for those interested combines 2 oz. (60 ml) brandy with 1 oz. (30 ml) of white creme de menthe. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass. The Stinger can also be made with green creme de menthe, but Bond preferred white. Et vouz?

Where there’s Bond, there’s Champagne – he orders Clicquot Rose the first time he has dinner with Tiffany Case (played most delectably by Jill St. John in the movie) and later on the liner back to England, he orders Bollinger to go with the Bearnaise sauce Tiffany sends him along with his steak. Sadly the vintage of either is not disclosed.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Goldfinger” state=”close” ]

James Bond with 2 double bourbons inside sat in the departure lounge of Miami airport and thought about life and death. When the flight was delayed he had another double bourbon on the rocks.

In between foiling the plans of Auric Goldfinger to rob Fort Knox, the US Gold depository (here’s a piece of trivia for you, if Fort Knox houses the US gold, then where is the US Silver stored ?) and bedding a number of willing women, including Jill Masterton (who gets painted in gold for this) and Pussy Galore (leader of a lesbian organisation – but when did that stop James or the women?), Bond also manages to drink a copious amount of alcohol through the course of Goldfinger, some of which required us to make use copious use of Google. Any of you out there drunk Enzian?

Junius Dupont, the reclusive millionaire takes Bond to Bill’s on the Beach for the finest stone crabs in the neigbhourhood. As an aperitif they had a couple of Vodka Dry Martinis with a slice of lemon peel and with the Stone Crabs, Dupont ordered the Pommeroy – Pink Champagne – Pommeroy 50 – 2 pints in silver tankards – champagne in tankards, not bad.

It should actually be Champagne Pommery however not Pommeroy.

At dinner with Goldfiner, Bond has a Moselle**, the Piesporter** Groldtropfchen 53 with shrimp curry and rice.

Later on in the dinner, Goldfinger opens a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1947 to accompany the roast duckling.

Goldfinger himself doesn’t drink or smoke. “As for drinking I am something of a chemist, and I have yet to find a liquor that is free from traces of a number of poisons, some of them deadly, such as fusel oil, acetic acid, ethyl-acetate, acetaldehyde and furfurol”

“Since you’re a drinker, Mr. Bond, I will give you one word of advice, never drink so-called Napoleon Brandy, particularly when it is described as ‘aged in the wood’. That particular potion contains more of the poisons I have mentioned than any other liquor I have analysed. Old bourbon comes next”. If you’re familiar with cockney rhyming slang, you’ll know what Napoleon Brandy is slang for.

“Thank you I’ll remember. Perhaps for those reasons, I have recently taken to vodka. they tell me its filtration through activated charcoal is a help”

In the Hotel de la Gare Bond has an iced pint of Rose d’Anjou**.

The Rose accompanies a large sole meuniere** He has a Hennessy Three star cognace with his coffee.

In St. Laurent, after Bond wrecks Tilly Masterton’s car, Bond tells her to get him sausage, bread and butter, and a half litre of Mâcon** with the cork pulled. In Geneva @ the Bavaria, a modest Alsatian Brasserie, Bond drinks Enzian** washed down with Lowenbrau.