The Americano holds the distinction of being the very first drink James Bond orders in the Ian Fleming series. In Casino Royale, while waiting for Mathis and Vesper, Bond enters the Hermitage bar, takes a seat by the windows, and orders an Americano.
This drink consists of Campari, Sweet Vermouth and soda water. The liquor is usually on a 1-1 portion, poured over ice, and then the soda is poured over the top.
The drink figures twice in the plot of From Russia With Love, both times while Bond is traveling.
Half an hour among the jabbering loudspeakers of Ciampino Airport, time to drink two excellent Americanos, and they were on their way again…
Then on the Orient Express:
In the restaurant car, Bond ordered Americanos and a bottle of Chianti Broglio. The wonderful European hors d’oeuvres came.
In the short story From a View to a Kill, Bond is again in France, and again orders an Americano. This time we’re given some more of Bond’s thinking on the drink:
“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 à I’eau is fairly serious, but it intoxicates without tasting very good. A quart de champagne or a champagne à I’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. No, in cafes 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 stipulated Perrier, for in his opinion expensive soda water was the cheapest way to improve a poor drink.”
Bond orders the drink, and while he ponders what to do with his evening, it arrives:
The waiter’s tray clattered down on the marble-topped table. With a slick one-handed jerk that Bond had never been able to copy, the waiter’s bottle-opener prised the cap off the Perrier. The man slipped the tab under the ice-bucket, said a mechanical “Voilà, M’sieur” and darted away. Bond put ice into his drink, filled it to the top with soda and took a long pull at it.
The Americano is said to have originated in Milan, and was given its name because of its popularity among Americans who were in Italy during prohibition. Traditionally, a slice of orange, or orange peel goes with the drink, but as we see, Bond prefers lemon. It’s another example of Bond knowing exactly what he wants in a drink.
In Risico, while in Venice to meet Lisl Baum the next day, Bond orders an Americano at Florian’s.