The Vesper Martini is the original James Bond cocktail made famous in Casino Royale.
Named after Bond’s love interest in the 1953 book, the Vesper is the ‘shaken not stirred’ concoction that we’ve come to associate with 007.
I first made this cocktail about two months ago and it has fast become my go-to for a pre-dinner tipple or a, “I’m meeting a friend in a bar and want something to sip and put the world to rights with” drink. Absolute winner!
The cocktail is first mentioned when Bond orders,
“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?”
Since the book was written, the formulation of Gordon’s gin has changed. As a result, a higher proof gin is recommended for this cocktail. I’ll be using Boodles in my recipe.
Also, Kinna Lillet no longer exists. To get the authentic taste and colour, you can either use Lillet Blanc and add a few drops of Angostura Bitters or you can use Cocchi Americano – another Kina style aperitif wine which is more bitter and less sweet than the Lillet Blanc.
As we know, a normal martini is stirred but Ian Flemming popularised the shaken version as a symbol of James Bond’s sexual prowess.
Despite naming a cocktail after his love interest, Vesper tuns out to be a double agent – a fact which Bond alludes to with the ingredients in the cocktail: gin being associated with Britain and vodka with Russia.
Give this one a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below.
- 60ml gin – I’m using Boodles
- 20ml vodka – I’m using Russian Standard
- 10ml Lillet Blanc (or 10ml Cocchi Americano)
- Lemon peel
- Straight up without ice
- Champagne coupe or martini glass
- Chill the martini glass in the fridge
- Fill the cocktail shaker with ice
- Pour in the gin, vodka and Lillet
- Close the cocktail shaker and shake until almost too cold to touch
- Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass
- Garnish with a thin but large slice of lemon peel