How We Count Drinks

A high-tech counter

While this site attempts to present straightforward information, the evidence is sometimes a bit murky. If James Bond drinks a martini, it’s pretty easy to count it as a martini. But what about situations where he drinks two bottles of champagne, or a half-empty glass is seen by his bed? We have established a few ground rules.

The Novels

In the Fleming stories, it’s pretty easy to tell when Bond is having a drink; it’s there in print. Occasionally, the author indicates what Bond is about to eat or drink. A good example of this occurs in Diamonds Are Forever, when 007 offers to buy dressed crab and a pint of Black Velvet for Bill Tanner at a local restaurant. The two depart for lunch, but Fleming does not actually describe the meal, instead jumping ahead to a meeting in Scotland Yard. Since this is mainly a narrative device used by Fleming to move the action along, we will count any such instances as having actually taken place, unless of course, the information is later contradicted (i.e., if the restaurant had blown up before Bond and Tanner arrived).

The major problem is 007’s frequent enjoyment of multiple bottles of champagne, or portions of bottles of liquor. In the case of the champagne, the bottles will be noted, but each bottle will be counted as a single drink, since it is impossible to estimate how many individual glasses may have come from a given bottle (or even the exact size of the bottle). We estimate that in addition to numerous single glasses of champagne Bond consumes eight bottles of bubbly. If we were to use the five glass rule, this would equal something in the neighborhood of an additional 30 drinks. Obviously, trying to divine such amounts is something of a slippery slope, since many factors are simply unknown. Hence the single drink rule.

The liquor is easier to interpret. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond drinks a half-pint of I.W. Harper, and in You Only Live Twice, he drinks a pint of Jack Daniel's. Given that a pint contains eight two ounce shots, we'll count these instances as four drinks and eight drinks, respectively. Luckily, in the other cases where Bond has a bottle of liquor, Fleming details the number of drinks he takes.

By the way, for those who are interested in such things, there are roughly 17 1½ ounce drinks in a bottle of liquor and five 5 ounce glasses in a bottle of champagne. The problem in applying any such standards is that Bond hardly sticks to standard shots. With that in mind, we will count doubles as single drinks.

One other item of note: in You Only Live Twice, 007 drinks sake. A lot of it. We’re counting each individual flask (as Fleming calls a sake container) as one drink. There is also one other irregularity involving brandy and ginger ale that is pointed out on the review page.

The Films

The films often present more of an interpretive challenge. In one scene in Dr. No, 007 has an unidentified liquor drink in his hand, but is not seen taking a sip. Near the end of From Russia With Love, Bond and Tatiana Romanova may be drinking mimosas. Because of uncertainties like these, we will count confirmed drinks, cases where Bond actually:

  • consumes a drink;
  • intends to consume a drink, but the scene comes to an end;
  • has a drink nearby him or in his hand;
  • prepares or receives a drink; or
  • evidence suggests a drink was consumed previously.

Under our system, the first drink would count, while the evidence for the mimosas is simply too vague. Any undetermined drink will be noted, even if it is not counted. In the case of bottles of liquor or champagne consumed in the films, these will be noted, but usually counted as only one drink, since it is often impossible to determine exactly how many separate drinks came from a given bottle. (In a few cases, these may be counted as two drinks, if Bond obviously pours a second drink from a bottle and then takes a sip.)

For the films, drink totals come from the 19 EON productions and Never Say Never Again. The television and movie versions of Casino Royale are analyzed on their respective pages, but totals are not counted in the Statistics section.

Original material © 2001 The Minister of Martinis
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