The Vesper Martini is the drink that is made famous by James Bond in the novel Casino Royale. Just for the sake of some history on the origin of the drink, the drink recipe was introduced in Chapter Seven of the book, but was not named until chapter eight, when James Bond meets the double agent Vesper Lynd.
There is also a story which says that the drink was originally made by Gilberto Preti at Duke’s Hotel in London which impressed Ian Fleming enough to be introduced the drink in the book.
The original recipe, as described by James Bond himself goes something like this: “Three measures of Gordon’s (Gin), one of Vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until ice cold and then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.“
The Vesper Martini differs from the classic martini in that it uses both Gin and Vodka as the base spirit while substituting Dry Vermouth with Kina Lillet. The garnish is a lemon peel instead of the olive. The drink is also supposed to be made with a grain based Vodka rather than a potato based spirit.
There are some difficulties with recreating the original Vesper recipe as some of the ingredients have since become extinct or are hard to find, especially Kina Lillet. The modern day Lillet Blanc is a good substitute for Kina Lillet. Cocchi Americano is also a good substitute.
The original Gordon’s Gin was 94-proof which is quite difficult to find these days. Most modern recipes and variations of Vesper martini use commonly available dry Gin of choice. The original version of Vesper also calls for the drink to be served in a deep Champagne goblet, but it is just as good in almost any glass. You can use a martini glass if you do not have a champagne goblet handy.
- 3 shots of Gin (ideally high proof)
- 1 shot of Vodka (ideally grain based)
- 1/2 shot of Lillet Blanc
- A large lemon peel for garnish
- Add ice cubes into a martini shaker
- Add 3 shots of premium high proof Gin into the shaker
- Add 1 shot of premium Vodka into the shaker
- Add half a shot of the Lillet Blanc
- Shake the contents of the shaker well, till it is ice cold
- Twist and squeeze a large lemon peel into a chilled martini glass or a champagne goblet
- Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass over the lemon peel
Variations and Similar Drinks
Classic Gin Martini: The original martini from which the Vesper martini is believed to have originated. Use just Gin and substitute the Lillet Blanc with Dry Vermouth.
Vesper Lynd Martini: The same ingredients as the Vesper, but different proportions. The Vesper Lynd uses equal proportions of Gin and Vodka.
Viollete Vesper: Substitute Lillet Blanc with Creme de Viollete. It resembles Vesper in that it uses two base spirits.
- The Vesper martini is always shaken and not stirred, at least according to the original recipe.
- Serve the drink in a champagne goblet, if you have one handy else a martini glass will work.
- Use a grain based Vodka such as Grey Goose if you have one handy.
- Use Gordon’s Gin if you can to be as close as authentic you can be. Another high proof Gin will do just as well.