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Archive for the ‘Drinks in Movies’ Category

Yet another Bond/Skyfall post, in my defence as a huge fan I write about James Bond all the time, I‘m not jumping on the bandwagon. In a variation on my recurring Drinks in Movies thread I am going to look at the drinks in Skyfall. There are films that are full of nuanced symbolism and metaphors, in other movies what you see is what you get. I could be cracking open the secrets of the film or reading too much into it you decide. Whatever your thoughts, there are lots of spoilers here so don’t read unless you have seen Skyfall.

As I have mentioned before Bond drinking a vodka martini is a bit of a cliché that is only partly true. In the Ian Fleming novels Bond invents the Vesper in Casino Royale but drinks various different things but favours Scotch Whisky, no great surprise, his farther is from Glen Coe after all. Around the half way point of the movie Silva (Javier Bardem) gives Bond (Daniel Craig) a glass of his favourite Whisky, a Macallan 1962 Fine and Rare Vintage, he describes it as being a 50 year old. Most likely a reference to the 50th anniversary of Bond rather than the drink itself. So what can we read into this? Silva knows everything about Bond, something thay he prides himself on. We also see M (Judi Dench) drinking the same Brand of whisky, something that I am sure hasn’t escaped Silva’s notice. Does it go deeper? Is it also the Writers (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan) or the director (Sam Mendes) telling us they know there character, they aren’t filmmakers for hire, paid to churn out the next Bond film, they know their character inside out.  Its one of those great little touches that fans will appreciate but many people won’t notice like giving Bond a midnight blue dinner jacket instead of a black one.  

We do see Bond drinking a martini in the Macau casino but we never hear the shaken not stirred line or the Vesper recipe. This is still the Bond we have known for 50 years (longer in the books) and we aren’t going to forget that, but he is moving on. This works in the same way as the exploding pen conversation with Q (Ben Whishaw) being a reminder of the past and a signpost to the future.

There has been a lot of fuss over Bond drinking Heineken, this is unfounded as he is no stranger to beer having drunk it many times in the books and films. As a product placement Heineken has appeared in several films including Craig’s other two outings as Bond. Product placement is certainly nothing new to Bond, in the books he has drunk more champagne than anything favouring Taittinger. In Cassino Royale he remarks that “[1943 Taittinger] is probably the finest champagne in the world” but a long standing placement deal means he has drunk little but Bollinger since Live and Let Die 1973). I wouldn’t read much into beer or the product placement, but it is worth considering when he drinks it. In the scenes where Bond is “dead” he is living away from his spying world as a broken man, an ordinary man and not the supper hero that Bond has become, beer as the great leveller of men, a memento mori.

Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) pours M (Judi Dench) a glass of cognac, Courvoisier VSOP, this is a gesture seen many times in Bond films where M gives Bond a drink. A possible hint towards Mallory being the new M as he does at the end of the film. It actually goes a stage further than that. In GoldenEye Bond (Pierce Brosnan) meets the new M (Judi Dench’s first appearance) for the first time. When she offers him a drink he tells her “Your predecessor kept some cognac in the top drawer of…” she tells him that she prefers bourbon (She actually gives him Jack Daniel’s, a Tennessee Whiskey rather than a bourbon, but a common mistake in England). Later in the movie we see Mallory as M in an office more reminiscent of the one inhabited by previous M’s Robert Brown and Bernard Lee than the modern one Dench uses, the office and the return to Brandy could just be a further reference to Bonds past in his 50th year on screen, but it could also be a suggestion of a return to classic Bond of the 60’s.

As mentioned I am probably reading too much into this, but next time you watch Skyfall take a look and see what you think. And while you are at it look out for the scrabble score mug Q (Ben Wishaw) drinks his Earl Grey in. 

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As summer has finally found its way to the UK and millions of families will be “enjoying” burnt or undercooked barbeque food they will be looking for something to drink with it. Three years ago I wrote about the perfect summer drink, the Mojito’s as featured in the movie Miami Vice. I thought I would share it again for anyone who missed it first time around. I also take every available opportunity to reming people about the underrated Miami Vice:

Ever since Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) declared to be a “fiend for Mojito’s” in Miami Vice (2006) they are everywhere. Bacardi have milked it for all it’s worth tailoring their television advertising towards the drink as well as selling them at sporting events and music festivals. You can even buy ready mixed bottles of Mojito, not that I have tried them; the key to a great Mojito is fresh ingredients. The Mojito is Cuban drink mixed and served in a highball glass. It has just five ingredients:

  1. White rum
  2. Sugar Syrup* (traditionally “Guarapo” sugar cane juice)
  3. Lime
  4. Fresh Mint (traditionally spearmint)
  5. Soda Water

To prepare:

Notes: Some people also add Angostura bitters, don’t bother doing this. Castor or icing can be used instead of sugar syrup but syrup is best. Traditionally you should use spearmint but any fresh mint will taste good.

* To make sugar syrup mix equal quantities of white sugar and boiling water. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. This can then be kept covered in the refrigerator for several weeks.

The guy in the clip reminds us to enjoy responsibly, this goes more for Mojito’s than other drinks as when mixed properly you won’t taste any alcohol.

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There appears to be a lot of fuss over James Bond drinking Heineken in the upcoming movie Skyfall, what’s the big deal? It isn’t the first time he has drunk beer. Product placement isn’t new to movie in general and certainly isn’t new to Bond. Think of the cars he drives, Bond didn’t give up his Bentley (driven in the books) in favour of various Aston Martin, Lotus and BMW’s for the fun of it. And lets not forget Vesper Lynd’s introduction in Casino Royale where Bond makes it clear that his watch is an Omega not a Rolex (as featured in the books and worn by Sean Connery). Pierce Brosnan used a Ericsson phone and had a Parker Jotter pen with a handy class-four grenade (I still have one that I won along with a copy of GoldenEye on VHS – mine lacks the grenade). By the time Pierce Brosnan hung up his Walther it is rumoured that as much of half the $140million budget for Die Another Day (2002) came from “marketing partners” this led to the film being nicknamed “Buy Another Day.” Then we have the whole idea of what is sponsorship, United Artists is part of MGM that by the time Daniel Craig took over were owned by Sony. Take a look at the gadgets on display, Sony Vaio laptops, Sony Ericsson mobile phones, Sony Bravia TV’s and Sony Cyber-shot cameras.

Looking more specifically at what Bond drinks, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Bond actually drinks more Champagne than anything else including his signature Vodka Martini. The original character in Ian Fleming’s novels favoured Taittinger remarking in Cassino Royale “[1943 Taittinger] is probably the finest champagne in the world”. in the movies, Sean Connery’s Bond appears to have preferred Dom Perignon but some time in the 80’s and ever since thanks to a sponsorship deal Bond started drinking Bollinger. Oh and did I mention bond has had a deal with Heineken before! If you still have a problem, look at it this way, it could be far worse, he could be drinking the tasteless self proclaimed king of beers that is drunk in most Hollywood productions.

If you are still not convinced, sit back watch any Bond movie and lookout for the products, if you need some refreshment during the film why not try one of these, the recipe for “The Vesper” is:

  • Three measures of Gordon’s Gin
  • One of vodka
  • Half a measure of Kina Lillet
  • Shake over ice until it’s ice-cold and strain into a martini glass.
  • Then add a large thin slice of lemon peel

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My Drinks in movies blog is back thanks to Ross McG who inadvertently reminded me I hadn’t done one lately. And incidentally it has an Irish theme. Intermission (2003) is a black comedy set in Dublin. Those who haven’t seen it, it is painfully funny in places and like all great black comedy you can’t help yourself from laughing even when you know it’s inappropriate. If you haven’t seen it check it out, Colin Farrell and Colm Meaney are both brilliant in it.

During the movie it is mentioned that John (Cillian Murphy) and Oscar (David Wilmot) stole a case of Chef Sauce (an Irish brand of vinegar based brown sauce a bit like low rent HP) from the supermarket they work in. Having so much of it they were using it in everything just to get rid of it including lacing their tea with it. Sounds discusting but all the characters in the movie who try it think its great. I haven’t tried it myself and don’t intend to, has anyone tried it or is it an invention of the filmmakers?

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An Old Fashioned is possibly the first drink to be given the moniker “cocktail” and more importantly the preferred drink of Mad Men’s leading man Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

How to make: Place a small sugar lump in a 12 tumbler with a little water to dissolve it, add two dashes Angostura bitters , a large thin piece of lemon-peel a cherry and an ice cube. Fill a mixing glass with ice and add two shots of whiskey per serving and stir untilled chilled. Pour into prepared tumbles letting a little of the ice and serve with a slice or orange.

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Ice-Cold in Alex is a World War II movie set in Africa.  Shell-shocked fatigued and bordering on alcoholism Captain Anson (John Mills) guides the crew of an ambulance across the desert motivated by the thought of the ice cold larger that awaits him in Alexandria, Egypt. Based on a novel of the same name by Christopher Landon, the bear in the book was Rhinegold, despite its German sounding name is actually an American beer. In the movie it was replaced by the Danish larger Carlsberg.

Whist filming the famous scene when they finally get their beer, real Carlsberg was used for authenticity, after several takes actor John Mills was reported to be quite drunk.

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Well one of them, Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), German actress and double agent, drinks Perrier-Jouët Cuvée Belle Epoque champagne, easily distinguished from other brands by the anemone flower painted on the bottle.

Although Adolf Hitler didn’t actually like wine his army saw things slightly differently looting vast quantities of French wine during their occupation, much of it was sent home to the Third Reich. Champagne as a symbol of French national pride was highly prized and even traded as a commodity. Many French people consumed, hid or even destroyed bottles of champagne to keep it out of German hands. Still there must have still been plenty of it about; at least in Tarantino’s incarnation of WWII, as well as the scene in the basement tavern, La Louisiane, Perrier-Jouët Cuvée Belle Epoque can be seen in at least three other scenes. And for those who are interested it isn’t cheep, around £100 a bottle at current prices!

 

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