Agent 007 James Bond is one of the coolest, stylish icons of masculine sophistication that we have ever encountered, no? Ian Fleming’s character is the perfect representation of charm and wit paired with destructive ability. Whether osculating with a Bond girl on a yacht or chasing bad guys in an Aston Martin, 007 did it with style and with a statement.
Fleming was intentional in creating signatures for Bond. The Aston Martin. The Walther PPK. The martini. Flemming knew that the audience would make the associations with Bond’s signatures that he wanted them to make. A common understanding that Bond was a man of class and sophistication with a license to kill.
We’ve heard him say “shaken, not stirred” 50 times or more. The martini was Bond’s signature drink. Like Bond, the martini says elegant and strong. Fleming went so far as to create a specific martini for Bond – the Vesper Martini – named after a character in the 1953 novel, and subsequent film, Casino Royale. I’ll get into the Vesper in a minute.
Agree or disagree, I think what we choose to drink in social situations reveals something about us more than we would like to admit. It makes a statement. And what we choose to drink while socializing is as varied as the social occasions themselves. There are literally thousands of drinks, cocktails, spirits and wines to choose from and it can be daunting. So we fall back on what we know or try something from the bar menu. Every man, who wants to make a statement, should have a signature drink. A drink that makes a very intentional statement at that.
Remember the bar scene in the movie Brown Sugar when the main characters, Sid and Dre, ordered drinks for each other? She orders him a Kettle One, straight, with a twist. He ordered her a Perfect 10. The writer wanted us to feel the repressed intimacy between the two characters and did so by having each know the other’s signature drink. And those cocktails made statements about each.
What are you saying when you order a beer? That you are down to earth? A regular guy? Does a craft beer suggest that you enjoy the finer things in life? That you savor quality? If you are in a bar in the dead of winter and order a margarita, does it say I wish I were in Cabo right now? Do you order wine just to be safe? Rare scotch to say that you are accomplished and worldly? Does your drink suggest that you just got out of college or haven’t grown since those days? (hello Red Bull and Vodka). Or are you indecisive and wishy-washy and just order what everyone else is having?
I’m not suggesting what you should drink or that you drink at all. I am suggesting that you consider that your choice makes a statement and if you are going to make a statement, make it an intentional one. For example, in a recent bartender blog, Jordan Catapano explains that a man who asks to see the wine list usually has interest in art, culture, and travel. But if he orders the house varietal, he may need a bit more grooming.
My signature drink is the Vesper martini – James Bond style. It is simply a variation on a classic martini which is my fall-back should the bar keep come up short on ingredients. A signature drink like a classic martini says you know exactly what you like. That you perhaps are discerning, particular and sophisticated with a slight hint of douche-baggery.
The Vesper Martini, described by James Bond in Casino Royale, is 3 ounces of London Dry Gin, 1 ounce of Vodka and a 1/2 ounce of Lillet (bianco). Lillet is a dry vermouth made in France since the 1800’s. It is made of wine, liqueurs, fruits and herbs and aged in oak. The Vesper is garnished with a lemon peel. Given the 3 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of vodka, you can imagine that it is a potent drink. Make no mistake, it’s a man’s drink. And while one or two might suggest sophistication, 3 or more says you have a drinking problem. So please be responsible with this signature.
Do you have a signature drink? What do you think it says about you if anything? I am a curious fellow so please do share.
If you are meeting friends for a drink, what are you likely to select: