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From Russia With Love


British secret agent James Bond gave the world its most famous drink order: “A martini – shaken, not stirred.”  Even if you don’t like martinis, it sounds great in Sean Connery’s dulcet tones.  If Bond had been a Russian, he might have asked for “Wodka – leave the bottle.”  But then he would have been working the wrong side of the Cold War street, would have worn a fur hat – and we would have rooted against him.

An American James Bond may have ordered a martini as well, but probably would have asked for it “dirty.”

James Bond hailing from Spain or Italy would certainly have gone for bubbles, but the order might have been badly dubbed.  Cava, por favor.  Prosecco, si prega di.

A French spy?  Champagne, of course.  He’s licensed to chill.  Bollinger has been 007’s bubble of choice for years, but Dom Perignon was the thing early in the franchise.  1953, s’il vous plait. He finds the ’55 Dom useful in hand-to-hand combat – in Dr. No, Bond is ready to clobber the bad doctor with that vintage until a moment of civility overtakes him.

If Bond had been Canadian, he may have tried to pry state secrets from the enemy with a friendly game of Beer Hunter.  Remember James, only one can of the sixer gets shaken.

Germany’s answer to the secret agent would no doubt have ordered Riesling – with the help of M’s Riesling label decoder ring.

A Japanese Bond would have… been Charlie Chan.  Waiter, sake for number one son.

It doesn’t really matter what the drink is, though, as long as 007 can share it with a Bond Girl.  Daniela Bianchi, in “From Russia With Love,” fits the role just fine.

TFH guru Brian Trenchard-Smith points out in his commentary that “From Russia With Love” was not only one of John F. Kennedy’s favorite books, it was the last movie he ever saw.  Kennedy screened the James Bond followup to “Dr. No” the night before he left for Dallas.

For this Bond film, we will go for a Cold War favorite – well, a cellar-temperature war favorite.  Russian wine is not easy to come by, but it’s out there.

Grapes have been cultivated for centuries in Russia, but the advent of the modern era of Russian wine was a 19th century Crimean sparkling wine factory.  Much like the US had its Prohibition to stop the growth of a burgeoning wine industry, so Russia had the revolution of 1917.  That’s when the French left the country and took their winemaking know-how with them.  Russia now has only half the vineyard land it had during the 1980s, largely because of former Soviet head-of-state Mikhail Gorbachev’s campaign to stamp out alcoholism.  One might argue that vodka is more to blame for the country’s alcoholism problem, and their current leader agrees.

Abrau-Durso is Russia’s oldest Champagne house – why do they call it Champagne? – and the Rusky sparkler can be found online for anywhere from $10 to $50 a bottle.  Shaken, Mr. bond?  “Nyet.”