The Vesper, also known as the Vesper Martini, was made famous by James Bond. The cocktail was invented by none other than Bond author Ian Fleming. The drink first appeared in his book “Casino Royale,” which was published in 1953, and the cocktail is named for the fictional double agent Vesper Lynd.
When Bond orders the Vesper, he provides strict instructions to the bartender. So, those instructions should be followed by any who make it. Bond says: “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?”
With all due respect to 007, there’s one change we’d recommend. Shaking a Vesper can result in an overly diluted and less smoothly textured drink—and a Martini isn’t meant to have ice shards floating on its top. The golden rule is to always stir a spirit-only cocktail, and there’s no reason to make an exception here.
This Vesper recipe makes a stiff drink with four ounces of full-proof spirits and a half ounce of lower-proof Lillet blanc. In the book, Bond claims that, when he’s concentrating, he never has more than one drink before dinner. But he likes that one drink to be very large. It’s easy to appreciate such a loophole. But if you want a less boozy drink, you can dial back the volume while keeping the proportions intact.
- 3 ounces gin
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Lillet blanc aperitif
- Garnish: lemon twist
- Add the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Express the oils from a lemon twist over the drink, rub the twist along the rim of the glass and drop it into the cocktail.