James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, showed a preference that was “incongruous with his otherwise impeccable” culinary taste.

United Artists/Columbia,

FILE — This 1962 file photo shows Ian Lancaster Fleming, the bestselling British author and creator of a fiction character known as secret agent, James Bond. British doctors who carefully read Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels say the celebrated spy regularly drank more than four times the recommended limit of alcohol per week. Their research was published in the lighthearted Christmas edition of the journal BMJ on Thursday Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/File)

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Why Bond likes his martinis 'shaken, not stirred'

  • Article by: Karen Kaplan
  • Los Angeles Times
  • December 13, 2013 - 8:28 PM


Scientists know that the best way to make a vodka martini is to mix the ingredients with a thin wooden spoon — it combines the ingredients effectively without raising the drink’s temperature the way a metal stirrer would. So why would James Bond, the world’s most sophisticated martini drinker, routinely order his cocktail “shaken, not stirred”?

A trio of British medical researchers believe they have the answer: The heavy-drinking 007 most likely suffered from an alcohol-induced tremor that forced him to shake his martinis. In fact, they argue, the British Secret Intelligence Service agent with a license to kill consumed so much alcohol that he ought to be dead.

“Ideally, vodka martinis should be stirred, not shaken,” the researchers report in the British Medical Journal’s Christmas issue. “That Bond would make such an elementary mistake in his preferences seemed incongruous with his otherwise impeccable mastery of culinary etiquette.”

The BMJ’s Christmas issue is known for its wacky medical reports, but the authors took the Bond matter quite seriously. For starters, they used the books by Sir Ian Fleming as their source material, not the movies. As they read, the researchers took detailed notes about Bond’s activities, including his drinking. Then they crunched the numbers.

The authors calculate that the total elapsed time in the 12 novels studied added up to 123.5 days, during which 007 consumed 9,201.2 grams of pure alcohol. This works out to 521.6 grams of pure alcohol per week, or 74.5 grams per day.

For the sake of comparison, the British National Health Service advises men not to exceed 168 grams of alcohol per week, with no more than 32 grams on a single day.

These drinking habits would put Bond at serious risk of some serious diseases, including hypertension, stroke, depression and sexual dysfunction, “which would considerably affect his womanizing,” the study notes.

The study authors say that Bond’s risk of developing liver cirrhosis is at least seven times greater than for a nondrinker. A person with cirrhosis dies at age 59, on average, the BMJ study said. Fleming, a heavy drinker and smoker, died of heart disease when he was only 56, and “we suspect that Bond’s life expectancy would be similar,” the researchers write.

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