Casino Royale Book

Casino Royale was written by Ian Fleming as the first ever James Bond book in 1953. Ian was a commander who worked with naval intelligence in the war - he really did lead a life of high stake gambling in exotic locations. He wrote this book from his homestead "Goldeneye" in Jamaica.

If your view of James Bond is the suave, always certain Bond of Roger Moore, you're in for quite a shock here. The entire book is very anti-female. In the movies, women are sultry, interesting creatures to be played with and enjoyed. You kiss them goodbye in the morning and wave as you leave. In the book, women are animals you use for sex only. James is told he has to work with one and calls her a "bitch". When he later decides he might actually stay with a woman long term, he says that he likes her because making love to her "each time [would] have the sweet tang of rape." Lovely.

Even the loyal Miss Moneypenny is described as "would have been desirable but for eyes which were cool and direct and quizzical." Right, wouldn't want a direct woman.

In the movies fans claim that Bond only kills who he has to, never in cold blood. In the book, James says "A Double O number in our Service means you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some job." Also, he fails numerous times in his efforts, only to be saved by others. Many of his choices are spur of the moment and work poorly.

OK, on to the wine and drink!

When Bond first meets some French agents, he orders for them. The guy gets a "fine a l'eau" - a classic cocktail of Cognac and water. The girl gets a "Bacardi" (rum, my favorite brand). It doesn't say that James gets anything for himself. The first drink we see James drink is a straight whisky 'on the rocks' (quotes theirs) in his room.

Next, in the casino, we get the first ever description of his classic drink. Here's the verbatim text from the book:

"Bond insisted on ordering Leither's Haig-and-Haig 'on the rocks' [a quality Scotch whiskey - Lisa] and then he looked carefully at the barman.

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'

'Oui, monsieur.'

'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's [an English gin - Lisa], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. [this is NOT vermouth - see below!] Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'

'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleasant with the idea.

'Gosh that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.

Bond laughed. 'When I'm ... er ... concentrating.' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.'

He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long sip.

'Excellent,' he said to the barman, 'but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.'

A short while later when he's sharing a carafe of vodka, nestled in a bowl of crushed ice, with the female agent, he learns her name is Vesper. He says:

'Can I borrow it?' He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said. 'It sounds perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?'

But that's not all. They go right into a Champagne dialogue.

'If you agree,' said Bond, 'I would prefer to drink champagne with you tonight. It is a cheerful wine and it suits the occasion - I hope,' he added.

'Yes I would like champagne,' she said.

With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the sommelier: 'The Taittinger 45?'

'A fine wine monsieur,' said the sommelier. 'But if Monsieur will permit,' he pointed with his pencil, 'the Blanc de Blanc Brut 1943 of the same marque is without equal.'

Bond smiled. 'So be it,' he said.

'That is not a well-known brand,' Bond explained to his companion, 'but it is probably the finest champagne in the world.' He grinned suddenly at the touch of pretension in his remark.

'You must forgive me,' he said. 'I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It's very pernickety and old-maidish really, but then when I'm working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.'

Bond drinks Champagne later in his big game with Le Chiffre. A nameless benefactor sends him half a bottle of Cliquot (i.e. Veuve Cliquot Champagne) and he downs a glass in two long draughts. He then drinks another bottle of Champagne with Felix. He drinks 2 more bottles with Lynd.

He has Champagne with lobster, liver pate and fraises des bois (wild strawberries) with Lynd when they're off on their retreat, and that's it!

Lillet and Vermouth

Note that some claim that Kina Lillet is a vermouth. It is NOT A VERMOUTH :) My research shows Lillet Kina is a wine based drink that has quinine in it. Kina refers to the Kina Kina (quinquina) tree where quinine comes from. In fact back in the James Bond days it was VERY bitter and the entire drink would have been quite bitter. They changed the formula in the mid-80s to have less quinine, and now it comes in "Lillet Blanc" and "Lillet Rouge". They're made in Podensac, in France. Technically they are "French aperitif wines". They are a blend of wine grapes, oranges, orange peels and quinine.

Vermouth, on the other hand, is a fortified wine - i.e. wine kicked up with heavy alcohol. They then add in herbs and spices. The main types of vermouth are dry vermouth, sweet red vermouth, and white vermouth.

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