James Bond Breakfast according to Ian Fleming…
“Then there were two thick slices of wholewheat toast, a large pat of deep yellow Jersey butter and three squat glass jars containing Tiptree ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam…” – Ian Fleming on James Bond Breakfast
Tiptree ‘Little Scarlet’ is a conserve (aka preserve) made with a special tiny strawberry that only Tiptree grows…yes, they’re the only growers in the world. But that’s not what made me buy it.
It was Bond. James Bond.
Or rather, the author of that super spy series, Ian Fleming, with his description of James Bond’s breakfast.
I didn’t know this, because I’ve mostly just watched the Bond movies, but apparently in the books there are quite a few descriptions of luscious meals befitting of a globetrotting, luxury brand wearing spy. For example…
Coffee brewed in a Chemex, a perfect boiled egg..
“Breakfast was Bond’s favourite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar. The single egg, in the dark blue egg-cup with a gold ring round the top, was boiled for three and a third minutes. It was a very fresh, speckled brown egg from French Marans hens owned by some friend of May in the country. (Bond disliked white eggs and, faddish as he was in many small things, it amused him to maintain that there was such a thing as the perfect boiled egg.) Then there were two thick slices of wholewheat toast, a large pat of deep yellow Jersey butter and three squat glass jars containing Tiptree ‘Little Scarlet’ strawberry jam; Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum’s. The coffee pot and the silver on the tray were Queen Anne, and the china was Minton, of the same dark blue and gold and white as the egg-cup.”
– Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love
Well, how could I not try the preferred preserve of James Bond?
I ordered the jam, and three days later had it with my morning toast and egg, as witnessed from the photo above.
Was the jam worth it? It was pretty good.
You could pick out the petite berries, and it’s a bit sweeter than most preserves…but that’s beside the point. How can you put a price on inserting your taste buds into fictional history?
Of course, I’m not dining on Minton china, but the dream has to end somewhere; I mean, I can pay $13.00 for some jam, but fine china requires a little more investment.
And after your James Bond Breakfast, a Vesper Cocktail, Shaken not Stirred…
And what about after breakfast? Well, that’s easy, then it’s on to cocktails. The Vodka Martini is the drink most folks associate with Bond, shaken not stirred, and all that business…
Interesting to read this dialogue from the the novel Casino Royale, released in 1953:
‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s one of vodka half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’
‘Certainly monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
‘Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.
Bond laughed. ‘When I’m…er…concentrating,’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I think of a good name.’
-From Casino Royale, 1953
Jame's Bond's famous cocktail, The Vesper! A dry martini with a twist (not just the lemon kind).
- 3 measures Gordon's Gin
- 1 measure Vodka
- 1/2 measure Kina Lillet (use Lillet Blanc)
- Ice cubes
- Lemon twist
- Add the gin, vodka and Lillet to a shaker over ice
- Shake well, until very cold
- Pour into martini glass or champagne glass
- Add lemon peel
If you've read the book or seen the more recent film edition with Daniel Craig, you'll know he ends up naming the drink The Vesper, after the bond girl played by Eva Green. While the exact recipe can no longer be made because Kina Lillet is no longer available, the substitute is Lillet Blanc (there's also Lillet Rouge, don't use that one), and I read the fix is to add a pinch of Angostura Bitters, it tamps down some of the sweetness.
And just in case you’d like to revisit a James Bond movie or book…