Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

Vesper

Vesper

Ingredients:

3oz Gin

1oz Vodka

.5oz Lillet Blanc

Lemon Twist

 Instructions:

Add the gin, vodka and Lillet to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Notes:

A Martini variant, the Vesper plays a lot like its inspiration. A touch sweeter than a Martini thanks to Lillet, the combination of gin and vodka pairs down the botanicals a bit, making a great compromise between the two bases. If you like Martini’s you will definitely enjoy the Vesper. If you are not a Martini fan, you  may still like the Vesper, thanks to the slightly diferent flavor as well as its mark as James Bond’s cocktail.


Tips:

  • While Bond likes it shaken, do yourself a favor and give it a stir, you won’t be sorry. See: Shaken or Stirred?
  • Cocchi Americano is a good substitute for Lillet and is said to taste more like the original version of Lillet, Lillet Kina, which was more bitter than its modern counterpart.
    • Alternatively, you could use a dash of bitters to help recapture some of the originals flavor. I like Regan’s in this one, but feel free to try your favorites.
  • If you are hoping to make the Vesper more like it would have been been done in the 50s, use higher proof gin and vodka (~100 proof).
  • Be careful as the Vesper is a strong cocktail, containing a total of 4oz of gin/vodka, particularly if you use the higher proof gin/vodka. That being said, it is very easy to cut the recipe in half if you are looking for something  a little less potent.

History:

The Americano was actually the first cocktail ordered by Bond in Fleming’s books.

James Bond’s first Martini in Ian Fleming’s famous spy novels, the Vesper appeared in Casino Royale (1953). It was named after the female lead, Vesper Lynd, not the little motorbike. The Vesper was actually created by a friend of Fleming, but Fleming liked it so much he put it in Casino Royale, making history, both by giving Bond a signature cocktail and by drastically increasing the popularity of shaking cocktails that are better made stirred.

For so much hype, Bond actually only drank the Vesper once in any of Fleming’s books. Although the cocktail has been featured in the more recent Bond movies.

The link with 007 has led to millions of Bond fans longing to get a taste of the Vesper, and cherishing the moment that they do. A recent whiskey loving visitor was more interested/impressed that I had the ingredients to make a Vesper than by my collection of hard to find and once released bourbons/ryes. After making him one, he spent the rest of the evening intermittently telling me that I made his night. This, my friends, is the power of the Vesper. Sure it’s a tasty cocktail and makes a great substitute for a traditional Martini, but it is the sheer excitement of tasting the drink that James Bond “invented” that ties fans to the character and history of the Vesper.

Variations:

See the Martini recipe for more Martini variations.

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2 Responses to “Vesper”

  1. Martini | The Straight Up

    […] You could also swap the vermouth for Lillet. The Vesper, James Bond’s original Martini, uses Lillet and a 3:1 ratio of gin to vodka for the base spirit, rather than choosing just one. To learn more, check out Vesper. […]

    Reply

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