British spy James Bond is nearly as well known for his signature drink—a martini, “shaken, not stirred”—as he is for his exploits as Mi6’s deadliest double-agent. A new BMJ study finally explains why, shedding light on 007’s truly colossal tippling habits.
Thanks to an exhaustive examination of Ian Fleming’s 14 Bond novels, we now know that 007 averaged 92 drinks per week (more than 13 per day), more than four times the recommended amount. On one especially prodigious day, Bond consumed just shy of 50 “alcohol units.” Out of the 87.5 days he was able to drink (i.e. any day he wasn’t incarcerated or hospitalized) in the books, Bond abstained for fewer than 13. You Only Live Twice was Bond’s most aggressive effort, downing nearly 226 drinks over the course of the novel and The Man With the Golden Gun his least, consuming just 41.5 units (over the course of three days).
The study further posits that Bond’s “shaken, not stirred” request was made due to persistent alcohol-induced tremors—a common symptom of wild overconsumption. But if this were truly an affliction that Commander Bond suffered, it’s unlikely that he would be able to fire a gun, defuse a bomb or complete one of the other countless espionage acts he’s regularly tasked with performing. Then again, 007 operates in a universe with deadly guns made purely out of gold, steel-toothed giants and, more often than one might expect, lasers—so anything’s really possible.
Read the full tongue-in-check study here.