The James Bond film franchise turned 50 years old in October and to celebrate its golden anniversary and its latest instalment, “Skyfall”, Luca Restaurant and Jacques Scott Wines & Spirits teamed up for a “spytacular” event on 10 November.
The marathon session, called Bond & Bollinger, gave Cayman residents a chance to enjoy the suave James Bond lifestyle in multiple ways, starting with the dress code. Guests were asked to wear “casino attire”, or come as the favourite Bond character, which for many of the men meant coming dressed in a tuxedo as the famed super spy himself, while women generally donned elegant evening wear.
Rather than the typical dinner and an movie, Bond & Bollinger was a movie and a dinner, with a Champagne reception to get things started.
At 4pm, the guests met at Luca Restaurant where they enjoyed a selection of hors d’oeuvres and their choice of two of James Bond’s traditional favourite beverages – Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne or a Vesper martini – shaken, not stirred, of course.
The Bollinger and Bond marketing partnership dates back to 1973 and the film “Live and Let Die”. In total, Bollinger Champagne has appeared in 13 James Bond movies, including all of the last 11, starting with 1983’s “Octopussy”.
To celebrate its long-standing relationship with the spy known as 007 and the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, Bollinger released a special gift set called “Bollinger 002 for 007” this year. This gift set features a Bond-inspired box containing a bottle of Bollinger 2002 La Grande Année, from what is considered the best Champagne vintage of the last decade.
Several of these gift sets were on display at the Bond & Bollinger event, although that wasn’t the Champagne being poured. However, this limited-edition collector’s item is available at Jacques Scott stores for $189.
After the hour-long reception, the guests hopped on busses arranged by Luca for a short ride over the Hollywood Theatres at Camana Bay, where they had a private screening of the new hit James Bond film, “Skyfall”, which opened in North America and Cayman just the night before.
In just eight days after its North American opening, “Skyfall” had already earned a franchise-record box office take of US$669 million worldwide. In addition, its soundtrack, with title song sung by Adele, had already become the highest charting Bond album since 1985.
The new film tips its hat to the 007 of old while setting the stage for the next generation of Bond movies, but still has plenty of the patented excitement for which the franchise is known.
After the film, guests were taken back to Luca where more Champagne and Vesper martinis awaited. They then sat down for a four-course dinner fit for James Bond, starting with scallop tartar marinated with Smirnoff vodka and dilled cured salmon gravlax.
Next served was risotto, made with rock shrimp, Bollinger Champagne and arugula.
For the first time in a Bond film, the hero drinks an alcoholic beverage other than a martini or his favourite Champagne – a Heineken beer, which just happens to be another product distributed by Jacques Scott here in Cayman. Although several of the special James Bond Heineken bottles were on display at Luca, beer was not the beverage of choice for the Bond & Bollinger guests.
However, Luca Executive Chef Federico Destro came up with a good way of working Heineken into the menu, serving Heineken-battered asparagus with the Beef Wellington as the main course.
Putting a sweet ending on the meal was a white and dark chocolate mousse served in a martini glass.
During dinner, guests had their choice of sticking with Bollinger Champagne or Vesper martinis, or choosing one of the two still wines provided by Jacques Scott. Both of the wines chosen had James Bond inferences in their name – Duckhorn “Goldeneye” Pinot Noir referred to the 1995 James Bond film “GoldenEye” and Chateau Lamothe “Valentine” Reserve, referred to one of the Bond villains known as Father Valentine in the book “Scorpius”.
When dinner was finished, many of the guests went outside and continued the party. Some of the men smoke cigars, the only kind Bond would smoke – if modern censors would allow – Cubans.
The James Bond film franchise isn’t the only thing celebrating a 50th anniversary this year; Jacques Scott – or was it Scott; Jacques Scott – was first established in the Cayman Islands in 1962 and has indefatigably provided fine wines, beers and spirits to residents and visitors ever since in a way that would make any super spy proud.