In Casino Royale, when everyone orders Bond's martini cocktail, Felix Leiter, the CIA agent, says to the bartender "keep the fruit". What was he trying to say?

What fruit is he referring to? Also was that some kind of secret message between CIA and MI6.


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    Is the picture really necessary? Thinking of space on the Stack server. Mar 26, 2014 at 11:17
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    I saw another post with the picture surviving the mods, so I thought of putting up one. Also to help audience here quickly here who Felix Leiter was.
    – Firee
    Mar 26, 2014 at 11:46
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    @AndrewMartin space on the server is relatively cheap compared to other expenses incurred to maintain the site (like salaries of top engineers), plus I believe that when you upload an image to any stackexchange site, that image is stored in imgur server, not in SE servers, along with millions of other pictures of cats.
    – ILikeTacos
    Mar 26, 2014 at 17:06
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    it seems i have committed some unforgivable deed by inserting the image and should be sent to Azkaban
    – Firee
    Mar 27, 2014 at 8:06
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    The mind boggles to think of the cost of the total time wasted with everyone reading the comments about saving space by not posting pictures :D Mar 27, 2014 at 10:33

7 Answers 7


It's not a secret message, just a simple instruction. You just need to look at the whole interchange:

Bond: Dry Martini.
Bartender: Oui, monsieur.
Bond: Wait... three measures of Gordon's; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.
Bartender: Yes, sir.
Tomelli: You know, I'll have one of those.
Infante: So will I.
Bartender: Certainly.
Felix Leiter: My friend, bring me one as well, keep the fruit.

Bond has ordered a dry martini, then effectively changed his order to a Vesper. This grabs the attention of the other men at the table who order it too. Felix Leiter asks for one, but instructs the bartender to "keep the fruit", i.e. serve me the same drink, but without the lemon peel.


For any non-English speakers in particular, the comment below from Brian S should be useful:

"Keep the X" is a common phrase in English when ordering food/drink used to mean "don't include X."

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    @Firee: He tells the bartender to "keep the fruit" when ordering. In other words, please keep it, don't give it to me in my drink. Mar 25, 2014 at 11:10
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    @Firee, "Keep the X" is a common phrase in English when ordering food/drink used to mean "don't include X." A question on English Language & Usage.SE or English Language Learners.SE might be useful to you.
    – Brian S
    Mar 25, 2014 at 15:06
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    @KyleStrand: I can add it, but to be honest, it's a pretty common phrase and I don't think most people would need it to be explained. Mar 25, 2014 at 20:48
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    Thanks for adding it. It's unclear from the question (and particularly the title) exactly what about the phrase is confusing, so it seems valuable to me to include all elements in the explanation. Mar 25, 2014 at 21:00
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    @ColinDeClue, according to Wikipedia and cookstr.com/recipes/vesper , Fleming got the idea from Ivar Bryce. Mar 27, 2014 at 1:59

I don't think that had any kind of deeper message to it. Bond was ordering a rather complex drink from the waiter, part of which consisted of some kind of fruit (don't know what exactly, a piece of lemon peel maybe?). After that everybody else joined him and ordered the same, only that Felix didn't want the "fruit" in it.

I don't really think there was any more to it than that.


I would assume it means no lemon


As other posts mentioned, hold the fruit means without the lemon peel.

Since Bond's drink ends up being poisoned in the next scene, it could be that Felix feared that Bond might be poisoned and wanted to make sure he didn't accidentally drink from the glass intended for Bond (they were sitting right next to each other). Obviously Felix wasn't involved in the poisoning, but it does show that he's more cautious to those sorts of dangers than Bond is.

Alternatively, it could have just been a point of clarification for the viewer: having Bond have a visibly different drink than the person next to him makes it more obvious that the poison was intended for him when they zoom into the glass as he leaves the table.

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    "it could be that Felix feared that Bond might be poisoned and wanted to make sure he didn't accidentally drink from the glass intended for Bond" - this seems to be reading waaaaaay too much into the scene. Mar 26, 2014 at 8:02

there is a [slightly] deeper meaning, by using the word 'fruit' instead of 'lemon' Felix is conveying that he thinks the lemon is an excessive flamboyant element, and by inference that Bond is also excessive and flamboyant.

Felix on the other hand, is no-nonsense and straight forward, he orders a simple drink, he doesn't even bother choosing one, he's saying to the bartender, your pouring alcohol, pour me one, in simple phrases: My friend, bring me one as well, keep the fruit.

However i'm not sure 'keep the x' is that common as a phrase, at least not that I've heard, except in 'keep the change'

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    That sounds more like opinion than fact. Mar 26, 2014 at 6:27
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    @MeatTrademark Yet it sounds extremely reasonable and fitting to Felix's depiction and how he says that dialogue. Agreed, the answer is a bit opinionated, but it tries to reason why this is so and that makes a good subjective answer. I really wonder how on earth this could gather 3 (really, three?) downvotes (and the stupid one-sentence copy-answer gets 2 upvotes, oh the humanity), as it presents an excellent interpretation of that quote, even if just that, an interpretation. Defnitely +1!
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 26, 2014 at 9:11
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    @commentor Its nice to read a different answer, I don't know who down voted that, I will give an upvote for sure... Your reasoning seems quite plausible... One more angle to this answer remains from the body language and expression of Felix during the dialogue, that will give some hints as well...
    – Firee
    Mar 26, 2014 at 10:19
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    At least it's a shame that this answer is voted so completely different to David's equally speculative but far more unlikely answer, but to each his own.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 26, 2014 at 18:05
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    Indeed. At least this speculation is founded in observation of the characters' behavior. That may be subjective, but so is any character analysis of David Copperfield that gets published in a humanities journal. Mar 27, 2014 at 14:39

It's a phrase similar to, and in this case having the same meaning as, the phrase 'hold the x' which is an American English device for asking for something to be left out, or held back, especially from a food order.

The verbs 'keep' and 'hold' here are synonymous in the sense of 'have or retain possession of' and so can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing, although I'd argue that the phrase 'hold the x' as in 'hold the mayo' is more immediately understood than 'keep the mayo' through it's familiarity and use.

It may be worth adding that in Britain, at least in the north, beyond the reaches of cosmopolitan London, it's considered an affectation or at least irony to order food without one of its listed ingredients this way. But it probably wasn't.

Last word from 'Airplane': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVdvyWK6NiI

  • Thanks for the answer, but I think we are looking beyond mere grammatical interpretation of the phrase.
    – Firee
    Mar 26, 2014 at 10:28
  • Ah, yes. I see.
    – ugy
    Mar 26, 2014 at 11:03
  • I really wanted to add the point about 'keep the x' and 'hold the x' being the more commonly heard but grammatically similar phrase, to the comments above on Andrew Martin's answer but I don't have the clout as a new bee.
    – ugy
    Mar 26, 2014 at 11:10
  • Its ok, we have heard your buzz
    – Firee
    Mar 27, 2014 at 9:59

At the request of the OP I'm adding this answer based on what my interpretation of this phrase in the movie meant. Bare in mind I do not drink and am quite unfamiliar with alcoholic beverages, but I do have friends who drink and my answer is based mainly on things I've picked up from listening to them talk about types of drinks they prefer.

One of the key rules to alcohol according to my friends seems to be that if you get fruit in your drink you open yourself up to relentless teasing and hazing for being a girl and/or a sissy. The only real source I have to back up this cultural view is from the TV show Scrubs where the main character J.D.'s favorite drink is the Appletini. The joke being that he naively considers this to be a "straight" drink and wonders when gays started drinking them.

Putting those two pieces of information together led me to the the jerk response that "keep the fruit" was him saying to make sure the drink was manly and contained only hard liquor, and no girly fruit.

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