Classics Week: The Vesper (aka: James Bond’s Drink)
We reach the grand finale of our James Bond Classics Week. There’s nothing more iconic than James Bond drinking a martini. In fact, among the movie Bonds, it’s the only thing that George Lazenby and Roger Moore ever drink. While Timothy Dalton’s bond prefers Champagne–how very 80s of him–Pierce Brosnan mostly returns to form, only straying from his martini to share a mojito with Halle Berry.
In the movies, Bond, of course, pretty much always orders a vodka martini, ‘shaken, not stirred.’ That may be for product placement reasons–we’ll have to ask Smirnoff and Stolichnya–since in the novels Bond splits his time almost evenly between gin and vodka.
Given his difficulty choosing between the two spirits, it makes sense that novel James Bond would coin his very own version of the martini, involving both of them. It’s named the Vesper, after Vesper Lynd, the Bond girl from Casino Royale.
- 1.5 oz gin
- .5 oz vodka
- .25 oz Lillet Blanc (we use Cocchi Americano–it’s pretty close)
- lemon (or orange) twist
- Combine gin, vodka, and Lillet in a mixing glass.
- Stir, don’t shake. I don’t care if he created the drink. Bond is most definitely wrong in this regard.
- Twist the lemon peel over the drink and drop it in.
- Toast to Vesper Lynd. She may have been a traitor, but she inspired a great drink.
You’d think that since the original recipe is clearly, unequivocally, and famously written in black and white–3 measures gin, 1 measure vodka, half measure of Lillet–the Vesper would be fairly variation-resistant. Not the case. Everyone knows Ian Fleming’s recipe, but it seems that hardly anyone follows it. I found one recipe with mostly gin and just a splash of vodka, and another with 2 vodka: 1 gin. Lillet measurements range from .25 oz all the way to .75 oz. I guess the lesson is that each of us should find our own favored mix of the three, just like Bond. Whatever you do, though, seriously, stir it; don’t shake.