I LOVE James Bond. In fact, I don’t care how far I go in my career or education – I could (G-d forbid) be Dean of a university and would still drop everything to be a Bond girl just to have the chance to say “Bond, be careful!”. It would be SO worth it. In the meantime, in preparation, I have decided to go method and immerse myself in all things Bond. I recently read Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, the first Bond novel and it was one of the best books I’ve read (I can’t wait to start the next book in the series). There were several great sections that gave a wonderful look into Bond’s psyche and a lifestyle that we ascribe to here on Champagne Moods (though I would fall in love with anything with a chapter entitled “Pink Lights and Champagne”). Here is an outtake:
Dinner with Vesper
‘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. (…) ‘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.’ (…) -editorial note: a bottle of this vintage (with damage to the labels) went for $511 at Christie’s in 2007
‘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 oldmaidish really, but then when I’m working I generaly have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.’
Vesper smiled at him.
‘I like it,’ she said. ‘I like doing everything fully, getting the most out of everything one does. I think that’s the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when one says it.’ she added apologetically.
Shaken NOT Stirred
But, ultimately, it’s all about the martini. And here, a detailed account for us to follow to the letter at Cocktail hour, Bond’s first time ordering what he would later call “the Vesper”:
“A dry martini,” he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.” (…) ‘Just a moment. 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?” (later, after a sip, he gives further specifications) ‘Excellent, (…) but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes you will find it still better.’
The reason for this elaborate effort for a drink?
‘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.’
(…) ‘You certainly think things out.’ (Leiter) said.
Wishing you the best of everything,