James Bond's Vesper Martini Recipe For Father's Day - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures James Bond's Vesper Martini Recipe For Father's Day
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James Bond’s Vesper Martini Recipe For Father’s Day

[1] The Vesper Martini, created by the novelist Ian Fleming in his first James Bond novel (photo © LT Bar & Grill | Hackensack, New Jersey).

Boston Shaker
[2] Chill the cocktail shaker and the spirits in the freezer to get the coldest Martini (photo © Williams Sonoma).

[3] Gordon’s London Dry Gin was James Bond’s choice of gin. Although the proof was cut in the U.K., there is a 94.6 proof* export version (photo © Gordon’s Gin | Diageo).

[4] Bond specified Polish or Russian vodka, but no brand (photo © Ibrahim Unal | Pexels).

[5] A classic Dry Martini. Here’s the recipe (photo © Dante NYC).

[8] This Caviartini is garnished with a cucumber slice and a Petrossian Caviarcube® (photo © Petrossian).

[9] Not just any olives: These are stuffed with premium blue cheese (photo © Ruth’s Chris).


How about a special Martini for Father’s Day? This Martini has a legacy: It’s James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

The drink was invented and named by Ian Fleming in his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953).

Thanks to Fleming, the Vodka Martini entered the cocktail culture. By the second Bond novel, Live and Let Die, Bond is drinking vodka Martinis, starting the trend that pretty much replaced the classic gin Martini recipe for many fans.

In Casino Royale, Bond orders a Martini with vodka in addition to the classic gin; then replaces the vermouth with Kina Lillet, a different fortified white wine.

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

“Oui, monsieur,” [says the bartender].

“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?”

Later in the book, he names the drink Vesper, after his love interest, Vesper Lynd. It more properly is called simply a Vesper, since the ingredients have strayed from those of the Martini.

The catchphrase “shaken, not stirred,” entered our jargon in “Diamonds Are Forever” (1956).

Called a Vesper for short, the formulation of the drink has changed slightly.

  • Kina Lillet was discontinued in 1986. Lillet Blanc is still available. But Kina Lillet included a touch of quinine, which added a bitter finish. Cocchi Americano, another aperitif wine with quinine, is used as a substitute [source].
  • The proof of Gordon’s Gin was reduced in 1992, from 40% to 37.5% [source].
    But it’s easy enough to substitute and recapture the original flavor of the drink [source].
    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 3 ounces gin (Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire)
  • 1 ounce 100 proof Stolichnaya vodka, or substitute grain vodka
  • 1/2 measure Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon quinine powder (substitute 2 dashes bitters)
  • Cracked ice
  • Garnish: large thin slice of lemon peel

    Our tip: To get Bond’s “extra-cold” temperature, chill the glass and the ingredients—gin, vodka, Lillet, and shaker—in the freezer in advance.

    1. ADD the ingredients to a shaker and shake until the contents are ice-cold. Here’s how to shake a cocktail (video).

    2. STRAIN into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish and twist a large, thin-cut lemon peel over the top.


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    *Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, American Beefeater, and Broker’s gina provide the traditional flavor of the original Gordon’s 94 proof gin. In the U.K., Gordon’s has been cut to 75 proof; a 94.6 proof version is exported.



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