Cocktails in Literature #2
What gets us to drink the drinks we drink?
The answer: It probably all starts with a name and a long story that tells us why we like the name.
Ian Fleming’s showed this fantastically in his book, A View to a Kill:
James Bond had his first drink of the evening at Fouquet’s. It was not a solid drink. One cannot drink seriously in French cafés. Out of doors on a pavement in the sun is no place for vodka or whisky or gin. A fine a l’eau is fairly serious, but it intoxicates without tasting very good. A quart de champagne or a champagne à l’orange is all right before luncheon, but in the evening one quart leads to another quart and a bottle of indifferent champagne is a bad foundation for the night. Pernod is possible, but it should be drunk in company, and anyway Bond had never liked the stuff because its liquorice taste reminded him of his childhood. domain webhosting info . No, in cafés you have to drink the least offensive of the musical comedy drinks that go with them, and Bond always had the same thing–an Americano–Bitter Campari, Cinzano, a large slice of lemon peel and soda. For the soda he always specified Perrier, for in his opinion expensive soda water was the cheapest way to improve a poor drink.
Ian Fleming had many things wrong here. For instance:
1. Americanos are delicious,
2. French cafés aren’t all the same,
3. Perrier is a very polarizing soda water as many people don’t enjoy the texture of its small bubbles.
Of course these small details aren’t important to James Bond, they just add to the story he created so he could drink comfortably at a café. Instead the shows what is important to James Bond: looking elegant, his drink, and his comfort. Furthermore it wasn’t a French café, it could’ve been be a whole different story, but through the text you can already see his discomfort with his foreign environment, and his incapacity to drinking things that tasted like his childhood. By ordering an Americano Ian Fleming found an innocent enough drink that paved James Bond’s way to ordering at a French Café.
The question is what would James Bond do if there was no Americano? Would the Café even be a memorable enough scene to be in his novel? It’s hard to tell, but it probably occurs all the time in our daily travels to bars.
This is probably the most difficult part about mixology — nobody really knows what will stick in peoples head, all we can do is try to predict what we think people will enjoy, but sometimes you just find a drink that hits the mood perfectly. And that’s exactly what Ian Fleming does when he found the Americano.