Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bond, James Bond: alcoholic spy

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 routinely order his cocktail "shaken, not stirred"?

A trio of British medical researchers believe they have the answer: 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 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.

The BMJ's Christmas issue is known for its wacky medical reports, but the authors who diagnosed James Bond took the matter quite seriously. They read 12 of Ian Fleming's 007 novels as their source material.

As they read, the researchers took detailed notes about Bond's activities, including his drinking. They looked up drink recipes on Wikipedia to figure out the ingredients in each of his cocktails. Their findings:

• The total elapsed time in the 12 novels added up to 123.5 days, during which 007 consumed 74.5 grams of pure alcohol per day.

• The peak of 007's drinking came on Day 3 of the mission described in From Russia With Love. During that 24-hour period, 007 drank a whopping 398.4 grams of pure alcohol: about 14 vodka martinis.

Bond's drinking would put him at risk of serious diseases, including sexual dysfunction, "which would considerably affect his womanising," the study notes.

"We appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high-stakes gamblers," the researchers wrote. "We would advise Bond be referred for further assessment of his alcohol intake and reduce his intake to safe levels."

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