Berry Bros & Rudd
Why not wander down to Berry Bros. and Rudd, the oldest fine wine and spirits merchant in London? Rumour has it, the cellar contains a secret passageway to the palace, that allowed King Charles II to visit his mistresses without being seen crossing Pall Mall. The cellar itself certainly does contains a bricked up archway pointing in the direction of the palace, but no one knows what lies on the other side…
In addition to historical intrigue, the company have their own delectable gin, No. 3 London Dry Gin, named for the company’s address in St James’s Street, their home since 1698. The gin was designed to be the “last word in gin for a dry martini”. Bottles can be purchased here or you can try before you buy at Ian Flemming’s former haunt the Duke’s Hotel - where the author reportedly created Bond’s famous “shaken not stirred” catchphrase - for a Vesper Martini made with No. 3 London Dry Gin.
Flemming was a local and you can see evidence of his inspirations in every corner of St James’s. Including a particular scent in nearby perfumer Floris…
Paxton & Whitfield
Visit Paxton & Whitfield at 93 Jermyn Street. World-renowned for its excellent selection of cheeses, and also a former home to the man who inspired a Bond villain.
Aleister Crowley - father of occultism - resided in the rooms above the shop in WWII, whilst Queen Victoria was the first monarch to give the shop its royal warrant. Since then, every monarch in power since has renewed it, and Paxton & Whitfield still make at least weekly trips to Buckingham Palace.
By now you may have a thirst for a Martini, shaken not stirred, so let’s move on to another one of Flemming’s favourite spots, The Duke’s Hotel bar…
The infamous Vesper Martini is one of two Bond inspired drinks on offer here, the other being The Fleming 89, which was created in partnership with Jermyn Street perfumery Floris; whose No. 89 Eau de Toilette you will have just encountered. Inspired by tonka beans used in the cologne, the hotel infuses Russian vodka with a handful of the vanilla-scented beans to create this special elixir. In a frosted martini glass, they add a sugared rose, the infused vodka, English vermouth, Lillet, a few drops of chocolate bitters, and to top it off, some Russian vodka and a spritz of rose liqueur, creating a chocolaty, dessert-like cocktail.
It is the Vesper Martini however that hides a dark secret. Flemming supposedly based the character Vesper Lynd on real life spy Krystyna Skarbek (or Christine Granville as she became known) who was famous for her daring exploits, extreme charm, and eventual murder by Dennis George Muldowney, an obsessed Reform Club porter. So raise a glass to the memory of this extraordinary Polish-born British spy, shaken not stirred of course.