I was asked earlier this week how to make Martini, given the three other Bond posts this week, it seemed like a good time to revisit the Vesper recipe. Thanks to the movies James Bond is always associated with Vodka Martinis, in fact the Bond of Ian Fleming’s novels drank many different drinks. In Casino Royale he did however drink a Vodka Martini that he eventually named “Vesper” after the character Vesper Lynd.
The Vesper recipe is:
- Three measures of Gordon’s Gin
- One of vodka
- Half a measure of Kina Lillet
- Shake over ice until it’s ice-cold and strain into a martini glass.
- Then add a large thin slice of lemon peel
As described by Bond in the novel: ‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘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.
He goes on to say: “This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.’
This is how it appears in the movie when Casino Royale was finally made into an official Bond film in 2006.
A note on the ingredients:
- Although not bad Gordon’s is far from the best Gin I would recommend Bombay Sapphire.
- Kina Lillet is not actually a vermouth (as pointed out by the barman on the plane in Quantum of Solace). It is a wine based drink flavoured with quinine (also found in tonic water and a perfect accompaniment to vodka or gin). It performs the same job in a martini as Vermouth (a fortified wine flavoured with herbs and spices). Sadly it isn’t possible to make a genuine Vesper as Ian Fleming conceived it as the recipe for Kina Lillet was changed about twenty years ago making it less bitter.
- Any good quality grain vodka will work.
- Felix Leiter tells the barman to “keep the fruit” I would recommend replacing the lemon peel with a pimento stuffed green olive or three.
- Finally, I have never tried it myself so don’t know if it is true but it has been suggested to me that to get the authentic taste as originally conceived Vesper add a dash of Angostura bitters to composite for the change in Kina Lillet formula.