Top 10 spirits features in film and TV
Lay down the red carpet and roll the cameras – it’s action time for these brands that have featured on screens big and small.
Whisky is a common accessory for actors on-screen, and has unsurprisingly made multiple appearances in the James Bond franchise.
You may have clocked some of the spirits bottlings in your favourite TV show or action film – but some features may come as a surprise…
We’ve rounded up the best of spirit brands’ features on-screen, acting the part of a character’s favourite tipple or making a sneaky cameo.
Keep scrolling for our round-up of spirits brands featured on-screen.
Lillet, James Bond
The name’s Lillet. Kina Lillet.
Hitting the pages of a book before it reached the big screen, Kina Lillet was included in Ian Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale in 1953.
Bond invents and orders a Kina Lillet Martini, which he named Vesper after his love interest in the story – Gordon’s gin also gets a shoutout.
“A dry martini,” he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet…three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?”
After the liqueur saw a name change in the early 1970s, dropping the ‘Kina’, the liquid featured in Casino Royale (2006) and is again followed-up in the film Quantum of Solace (2008).
Remember – shaken, not stirred.
Lagavulin, Parks and Recreation
Nowadays, actor Nick Offerman is known as an enthusiast and semi-official spokesman for Lagavulin, occasionally teaming up with Diageo to produce spots for the brand.
But how did it come to be featured in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, in which he plays a main role?
Co-creator of the show Michael Schur told comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble the story behind Lagavulin’s feature, on their podcast Off Menu.
Lagavulin was discovered by Schur through a recommendation – he went to a liquor store to buy Maker’s Mark, but was advised to purchase a bottle of Lagavulin instead.
“I became a Lagavulin drinker, I was the only person I knew who had heard of Lagavulin, no one else knew about [it],” he said on the podcast.
When creating Parks and Recreation, Schur had Offerman’s character Ron Swanson drink Lagavulin as a character trope.
Unbeknownst to him, Lagavulin was Offerman’s favourite dram in real life. It seems Ron Swanson and Lagavulin whisky are a match made in heaven.
The Macallan, James Bond
Edrington-owned The Macallan has become a suited man’s best friend on-screen.
The Scotch features in various scenes in Skyfall (2012).
When Bond is having a morning tipple at a beach bar in Turkey; when he awaits M’s arrival after breaking into her apartment; and most obviously during the face-off between Raoul Silva and Bond at a former chemical plant.
“50-year-old Macallan. A particular favourite of yours I understand?” Silva says to Bond.
The 1962 bottle is poured into two shot glasses: one for Bond to drink, and another for him to shoot – on top of a woman’s head.
The Macallan 18 Years Old Sherry Oak also makes a prominent appearance in a number of Suits episodes – the chosen drink for high-powered lawyer Harvey Spector.
Hibiki 17, Lost in Translation
Ageing actor Bob Harris, played by Bill Murray, is shown to be advertising Suntory’s Hibiki 17 whisky in an iconic scene from Lost in Translation.
Harris is instructed – through a translator – to turn to the camera and say, “for relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”
Glenfarclas, The Gentlemen
In one of the final scenes of Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen (2019), English actor Hugh Grant’s character is confronted with the following line: “I also knew you couldn’t resist a £1,500 single malt, an £80 wagyu steak and a state-of-the-art smokeless Barbie that keeps your feet warm.”
The camera flashes to a bottle of Glenfarclas 1976, aged 40 years – alongside the tempting food pairing.
Aviation American Gin, Red Notice
American actor Ryan Reynolds is a beloved star on the big screen – and he’s no stranger to the small screen either – especially when his Aviation American Gin in involved.
Aviation also stars in black comedy A Simple Favour, which features Reynolds’ actor wife Blake Lively, where she references Dukes bar in London as the makers of the perfect Martini.
Lively is the founder of mixer range Betty Buzz.
Earlier this week, it was revealed Aviation would make yet another appearance on-screen for Reynolds’ and It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia actor Rob McElhenney’s new documentary, Welcome to Wrexham.
Jägermeister, The Hangover
The first instalment in American comedy film trilogy The Hangover sees four men taking a shot of Jägermeister on a Las Vegas rooftop during a stag-do.
The next day, three of the men wake with no recollection of the previous night – and missing the groom. What better way to kick-off a stag do weekend?
Absolut, Sex and the City
If there were an absolute hunk in Sex and the City, it could only be Smith Jerrod.
A fictional ad campaign in the hit TV series, called Absolut Hunk, sees Smith covering his modesty with a bottle of Absolut vodka in season 6, episode 6 – Hop, Skip, and a Week.
In the series, the campaign is a notable success and results in the creation of a new cocktail, called Absolut Hunk, featuring Absolut vodka as its chief ingredient.
Old Forester Statesman Bourbon, Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Action spy comedy Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which is the second instalment in the film series starring Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, features a bottle of Old Forester’s Statesman Bourbon on-screen.
Director Matthew Vaughn said he and co-writer Jane Goldman wrote the sequel’s script to revolve around Kentucky distillers whose products predated Prohibition.
When he happened to bump into a cousin of Campbell Brown, president of Old Forester, at a cocktail party, an idea was hatched to incorporate the Brown Forman-owned brand.
Kahlúa, The Big Lebowski
The Coen Brother’s cult classic The Big Lebowski sees its leading man, The Dude, survive on a diet of White Russians: vodka, Kahlúa and milk.
The Dude labels the drink as a Caucasian, and the man who served as inspiration for the character, Jeff Dowd, said the cocktail was selected because it’s “a lot more fun” than a vodka soda.
If drinking White Russians on the trot leads The Dude to spontaneously exclaim “fuck it dude, let’s go bowling”, we can understand why it’s the drink of choice.