Cocktails And Movies Take Out Theater: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

This week: Cocktails and Movies highlights a rare masterpiece in the Bond canon


Welcome back to another edition of Cocktails and Movies’ “Take Out Theater” column. In fact, it’s our last installment before we kick over into full blown Holiday Mode. Originally, we wanted to run this column last week, but some last minute snags delayed us from going forward. Still, there’s never a bad time to enjoy a James Bond flick, especially one as severely underrated as this. This week’s Take Out Theater is a favorite of Steven Soderbergh and Christopher Nolan both, and is in my opinion the best classic Bond film, if not the best Bond film ever.

The Film 

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Directed By: Peter Hunt
Year Released: 1969
Starring: George Lazenby, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Diana Rigg, and Telly Savalas
Rating: PG
142 Minutes
Studio: MGM/United Artists

After saving a random damsel in distress on a beach, James Bond (Lazenby) is sent on assignment to stop his most dangerous arch rival: Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Attempting to claim a title of nobility, Blofeld will stop at nothing to secure his supposedly rightful title. Bond’s mission is to uncover Blofeld’s evil plot and thwart it where necessary. As if that wasn’t enough, 007 will also have to find a way out of an arranged marriage to Contessa Teresa “Tracey”  di Vincenzo (Rigg)… a marriage her father was adamant to set up in exchange for divulging Blofeld’s location.

Producers Alfred “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman felt it was time to move back from the gadget porn that the series was starting (and eventually would indulge in) to become dependent on, and had writer Richard Maibaum write what’s still considered to be the most faithful adaptation of a James Bond novel to ever be made into a film. Little did they know that with this one film they would not only inspire some of the top modern dramatic talents of our modern age, but they’d set a gold standard for those who would choose to periodically bring the series of films back towards the original tone of Ian Fleming’s original books. Sure, there’s one gadget involved in the film’s mission, and there are plenty of women that Bond sleeps with at Blofeld’s Piz Gloria “allergy clinic,” but once Bond falls for Tracey, the film puts Bond in the most stable relationship of his life. The burgeoning ladies’ man image that the character was cultivating experienced a brief, but welcome, delay in exchange for character development.

George Lazenby, a first time actor in this film, manages to bring charm and sophistication to the table, as well as the prerequisite edge that any actor playing Bond should possess. However, he had one more quality that we would not see again until Timothy Dalton took the mantle in The Living Daylights…he had empathy. Bond laughs, smiles, and falls in love…all in this one movie, on top of kicking high levels of ass. We see a Bond who learns that there’s something of a life outside of his profession, and lets himself accept the possibility with relish. It also helps that Diana Rigg, a woman that Lazenby did NOT share the same fondness his on screen persona had for her, helps mutually sell a romance that was the antithesis of what’s going on behind the scenes. Her character is different from the typical Bond girl, as she is a woman that can actually fight and manages to resist Bond for a decent amount of time. (At least in Bond standards.) And then there’s Telly Savalas’ Blofeld. No disrespect to the men who came before or after Mr. Savalas’ portrayal, as Blofeld has always been a sort of mixed bag of portrayals, but Mr. Savalas’ version of Blofeld has a quiet menace about himself. Hiding that menace is enough charm and respectability to lure the women of the world to his exclusive allergy clinic, and practically get them to do his bidding.

Most casual Bond fans would be the first to tell you that this film would not rate in their top 10, and indeed the financial “fall out” was an indicator to those in charge that they should go back to the stuff people liked. Lucky for me, I was raised by a Bond Fanatic of a father who made sure I kept an open mind during this flick. Much like myself, my father LOVES this movie the most out of the canon for three reasons: its quality, the scenery of the Alps, and his childhood crush on Diana Rigg. I can gladly say that when I first saw this film as a teenager, I agreed with him 110% on all three fronts. If you want an action packed Bond that’s also big on emotion, drama, as well as one of John Barry’s best Bond scores of all time, then sign up for the mission of a lifetime with this week’s Take Out Theater pick!

The Drink

After a particularly climactic sequence in the Swiss Alps, Lazenby’s Bond is located by a St. Bernard. As the dog happily licks him, he quips, “Never mind that! Go and get the brandy, huh? Five-Star Hennessy, of course.” In honor of that request, and in keeping with the Christmas theme of the film, we present…

Easy Bourbon EggnogMaker's Mark Eggnog - Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey


  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 oz  granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 oz Hennessy VSOP cognac
  • 2 oz Grand Marnier (Navan can be substituted for a more pronounced vanilla flavor)
  • 4 oz Bullleit bourbon
  • 12 oz whole milk
  • 8 oz heavy cream


  1. In a mixer fitted with a whip attachment or a blender, blend the eggs for 1 minute.
  2. Add sugar and spices and blend for an additional 30 seconds to incorporate.
  3. Slowly add the cognac, bourbon and Grand Marnier, blend another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the milk and cream and blend 1 minute more. Cover and refrigerate.

This recipe is better made a day ahead to allow the flavors to combine.

To serve, portion 4 oz of eggnog in a champagne flute or teacup, grate fresh nutmeg or cinnamon over the top (optional) and serve.

Thanks to Cocktails.About.Com for providing us with the libations, and thanks to all of you for coming back for yet another installment of #TakeOutTheater! Got any suggestions for film and drink pairings that will make the season bright? Send ‘em our way through the Comments below, our Facebook/Twitter pages, or just email us. We’ll see you again next week, with our first Holiday Take Out pick of the season!