Monday, February 17, 2014

Ian Fleming's Goldfinger (1964) Part II

As I stated in my prior post Ian Fleming's Goldfinger Part I, this Bond movie was the first to have a plot point be located in the United States of America. While in the prior post I focused on Champagne and Brandy, this one would focus on Bourbon. What was also interesting that in the same year that Ian Fleming's Goldfinger hit the big screen (1964), the United States Congress was passing legislation that made Bourbon the official native spirit of the United States of America.

According to the statute 78 stat 1280 dated May 4, 1964 [S. Con. Res. 19]:
- Whereas it has been the commercial policy of the United States to recognize marks of origin applicable to alcoholic beverages imported into the United States; and
- Whereas such commercial policy has been implemented by the promulgation of appropriate regulations which, among other things, establish standards of identity for such imported alcoholic beverages; and
- Whereas among the standards of identity which have been established are those for "Scotch whisky" as a distinctive product of Scotland, manufactured in Scotland in compliance with the laws of Great Britain regulating the manufacture of Scotch whisky for consumption in Great Britain and for "Canadian whisky" as a distinctive product of Canada manufactured in Canada in compliance with the laws of the Dominion of Canada regulating the manufacture of whisky for consumption in Canada and for "cognac" as grape brandy distilled in the Cognac region of France, which is entitled to be so designated by the laws and regulations of the French Government; and
- Whereas "Bourbon whiskey" is a distinctive product of the United States and is unlike other types of alcoholic beverages, whether foreign or domestic; and
- Whereas to be entitled to the designation "Bourbon whiskey" the product must conform to the highest standards and must be manufactured in accordance with the laws and regulations of the United States which prescribe a standard of identity for "Bourbon whiskey"; and
- Whereas Bourbon whiskey has achieved recognition and acceptance throughout the world as a distinctive product of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate {the House of Representatives concurring) That it is the sense of Congress that the recognition of Bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States be brought to the attention of the appropriate agencies of the United States Government toward the end that such agencies will take appropriate action to prohibit the importation into the United States of whisky designated as "Bourbon whiskey"

Agreed to May 4, 1964.
For an interesting article on the origins of Bourbon, feel free to read Springs and the Origin of Bourbon
by Alan E. Fryar. In terms of Bond and Bourbon? Well, here we go.

Once Goldfinger's private jet touches down in Kentucky, Bond tries to charm Pussy Galore once again. Bond mentions since they are in Kentucky, maybe they should have a Bourbon and branch water.

What is branch water? According to the listing for branch water at
branch water
1. Plain water, especially when mixed with a liquor such as whiskey.
2. Chiefly Southern U.S. Water from a stream.
[branch, stream + water.]
With his advanced rebuffed, Bond is taken away by Oddjob to Goldfinger's estate. After breaking out, eavesdropping on Goldfinger's plan to knock off Fort Knox, getting captured and Goldfinger realizing that he's being watched by Bond's friends, he decides to invite Bond for a cocktail. Adhering to the adage of "When in Rome", Bond orders what might be Kentucky's state cocktail: The Mint Julep.

What's odd is not that Bond would order a Mint Julep, its how he orders it that stands out to me. Bond orders one with Sour Mash but not too sweet. This got me curious as to what is the difference between Bourbon whiskey and Sour Mash whiskey.

According to Laura Reynolds in the article The Difference Between Bourbon Whiskey and Sour Mash:
Bourbon's unique character comes from the 51 to 79 percent corn in its recipe. The addition of water to crushed or rolled grain begins the fermentation process, and the fermented mash is distilled to produce a spirit that is no more than 80 percent alcohol by volume. Bourbon may be double-distilled and aged at least two years in charred oak barrels. The result is a mellow, woody blend of flavors that may be bottled straight out of a single barrel or blended from a number of barrels in a small batch.

Sour mash whiskey uses the bourbon recipe but starts the mash with leftovers from a previous batch, much like the starter in sourdough bread. The sour mash process gives a sweeter, deeper flavor to the final product. The alcohol by volume content of bourbon and sour mash is adjusted to between 40 and 50 percent (80 to 100 proof) at bottling time.
For more information on the distinction between Corn Mash and other designations of Bourbon, watch this video by Brendan Coyle of the High West Distillery in Salt Lake City, Utah describes the differences between Bourbon whiskey and Sour Mash Whiskey

Want to make a Mint Julep? Watch Jason Pyle of the Sour Mash Manifesto make a Mint Julep. His video is quite informative and very easy to follow:

In the end, Bond saves the day, defeats the villain, survives the plane crash and gets the girl. All is well in the world...until the next Bond movie which by the way just happens to be Thunderball. See you next time at the movies.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla