Recipe: The Vesper Martini

"A dry martini," [Bond] said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."

"Oui, monsieur."

"Just a moment. 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?"

"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.

Bond laughed. "When I'," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."

—Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 7, "Rouge et Noir'

The Vesper Martini. Named after the dark-haired double-agent that James Bond falls in love with during Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale."

This drink is a strong one and if you don't like gin, it is a tough one. However, when it is well made, as Bond requires, it is the classiest drink I have ever had. 

This recipe would be a great New Year's cocktail and is a favorite of our good friend and bridal-party member Jaryn who just celebrated her birthday. 


3 oz Gin, typically a strong gin

1 oz Vodka

1/2 oz Lillet Blanc

Lemon twist


Okay, there are actually a few different ways to make this one. The traditional, the preferred and the balanced.

I make it a pretty traditional way. Add the gin, vodka and lillet to a mixing glass. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve with a lemon twist. 

The preferred way, or the Bond way, is to add the gin, vodka and lillet to a cocktail shaker and shake the ingredients. This does get the drink chilled better, however it also dilutes the product. The point of this drink is for it to be a stiff one. Shaking it will likely cut the potency in half. 

There are theories about why Bond liked the drink shaken, but most of those have to do with the fact that he likely had an alcoholic tremor and could only shake drinks instead of stirring them. 

Lastly the balance way to make the Vesper is the lower the level of gin and raise the level of vodka. The drink being the way that it is makes it a pretty strong gin drink and you lose a lot of the flavor of the lillet. By lowering the level of the gin it will balance the drink a bit more. You still give the gin flavor but you also get a more floral flavor of the lillet. 

I recommend trying all three variations because it will give you a better idea of which way agrees with your pallet the most, but I would also say not to have them the same evening because having three Vespers will put you on your ass.