The Vesper Recipe – Speaking Easy Podcast

This iconic cocktail from Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953) is the preferred Martini variation of British secret agent James Bond. A discerning gentleman, Bond is particular about his cocktail of choice, always making a point to order it “shaken, not stirred.” He also prefers Lillet[i] to vermouth, and grain vodka to potato vodka. Jordan and I both prefer a classic Martini made with gin, and vodka might seem like an odd addition to a gin drink; the point here would be if your Martini preference is gin, but not particularly dry, the vodka will soften this drink in comparison. This being said, we recommend using a pretty robust London dry gin such as Tanqueray… a softer gin might end up washed out. Remember, shaking a drink will dilute it more than stirring, so a Vesper made to Bond’s specifications should produce a relatively delicate Martini.

The Vesper

  • 2 oz. London dry gin (ask your liquor store for one with strong flavor)
  • ½ oz. vodka
  • ¼ oz. Lillet Blonde
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Method

Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

From Casino Royale (the movie, 2006):

Vesper Lynd: What else can you surmise, Mr. Bond?

James Bond: About you Miss Lynd? Well, your beauty’s a problem. You worry you won’t be taken seriously.

Vesper Lynd: Which one can say of any attractive woman with half a brain.

 

Cheers! To discerning drinkers, and intellectual sparing partners.

 

[i] Lilllet Blanc is a French aperitif made in the Bordeaux region. It is made of about 85% white wine aged in oak, with the remaining amount a fruit liqueur based on both bitter and sweet oranges — fruit and peels macerated separately, and quinine. It is then aged in oak barrels for 8-12 months before being blended in a solera system with older versions of Lillet. It is a common alternative to dry vermouth.