The Vesper Martini is famously known as the ”James Bond Cocktail”. The drink appeared for the first (and only) time in Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale. It was published in 1953, and it marked the beginning of the first adventures of the famous spy with the codename 007. It is a powerful drink and should be enjoyed slowly, but not slow enough for it to get warm. The attractiveness and sobriety of this cocktail may be due to the translucent appearance and the curly lemon peel that adorns the cocktail glass. The cocktail differs from the classic Dry Martini. Not only does the lemon peel replace the olive, but it also contains both gin and vodka. On top of that, the vermouth has been replaced with Lillet Blanc.
How to Prepare a Vesper Martini
45 ml of gin
15 ml of vodka
15 ml of Lillet Blanc
A large thin slice of lemon peel
- Fill a cocktail glass with ice to cool while preparing the cocktail
- Pour the gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc in a shaker and fill with ice.
- Shake for 10 to 15 seconds
- Remove the ice from the cocktail glass
- Pour the filtered drink from the shaker (without the ice)
- Finally, garnish with the curly lemon peel
As mentioned, the Vesper Martini was born in the novel Casino Royale, but it only appears once in the entire series. James Bond named it Vesper in homage to the female main character of the novel, Vesper Lynd. In the following novels, James Bond used to order a Dry Martini (”shaken, not stirred”, of course). The cocktail was invented by a friend of the author, Ian Fleming. He incorporated it into the story because the cocktail was different and explosive.
The original cocktail is made with Kina Lillet which was a more bitter version of the Lillet Blanc sold today. The Kina Lillet no longer exists because Lillet’s formula changed in 1980 and this removed some of the original bitterness. If you want your Vesper Martini to resemble the original as much as possible there is a way to tweak the recipe. You can get close to the original flavour by adding a bit of Angostura bitter to the other ingredients in the shaker. However, this twist is not one that we would recommend.
It is important to use Lillet Blanc and not just any white vermouth. The flavours are vastly different. You might want to consider using Stolichnaya vodka that has a high alcohol content and resembles the drink from the 50s.