You know how James Bond is always drinking Martinis? Originally, he drank a Vesper. You see, Ian Fleming invented this drink when he wrote the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale. In that novel, James asks a bartender for a custom drink involving gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. The formula comes to him like some kind of vision -and while he’s most likely just trying to acquire a buzz, the drink works out well. He even names it after his love interest, Vesper Lind. Kina Lillet is, unfortunately, no longer a thing, but if you substitute Lillet Blanc, you can make an objectively delicious facsimile of the original. You should also know that, while you typically always stir any cocktail that doesn’t have juice in it (that’s Rule No. 3, this drink is an exception. Shake away.
- Coupe, Martini, or Nick & Nora glass
- 2 ounces gin
- .75 ounce vodka
- .5 ounce Lillet Blanc
- Lemon twist
Step One: Chill Your Glass
One thing James Bond gets right about Martinis is that they should always be as cold as possible. In order to ensure that your own beverage is properly chilled, stick your glass in the freezer before you start making your drink. It’ll get frosty in a matter of minutes.
Step Two: Lillet Blanc
You can find Lillet at most liquor stores - just be sure to pick up the Blanc version. It’s a pale yellow color, unlike Lillet Rosé, which looks like rosé. Add .5 ounce to your shaker.
Step Three: Vodka
This is the only cocktail we can think of that involves both gin and vodka - but, if you think about it, gin is really just flavored vodka. And if you didn’t know that, you’re welcome for blowing your mind. Add .75 ounce vodka to your shaker.
Step Four: Gin
We’re going to use considerably more gin than vodka here because, like we mentioned earlier, gin is essentially flavored vodka, which means it has more personality. Add two ounces gin to your shaker.
Step Four: Shake
Here we get the most divisive step of the Vesper-making process: shaking. This cocktail was originally shaken in Casino Royale - but that breaks a cardinal rule of bartending. Unless a cocktail has juice, you typically don’t shake it (in order to preserve the flavor) - and that’s why you’ll see a good number of people telling you to stir your Vesper. The thing is, this is a very strong cocktail, so it benefits from a good, long shake for two reasons: it won’t taste so excessively boozy, and it’ll be as cold as humanly possible. Also, it’s fun to break the rules sometimes. So go ahead and shake your Vesper vigorously for about 20 seconds. Next, strain it into a chilled coupe, Nick & Nora, or Martini glass, garnish with a lemon twist, and maybe put on some evening wear, practice your British accent, then buy a cat and name it Moneypenny.