I finally got around to watching Quantum of Solace last night and there’s a scene where Bond is sipping a cocktail (his sixth) consisting of gin, vodka, Kina Lillet and a lemon twist.  Now, I won’t get all ranty about the fact that he was sipping said cocktail in a private jet with bar that happened to have exactly what he needed or that Kina Lillet is no longer available.  Nor will I gleefully ramble about the fact that Bond is finally drinking cocktails other than Vodka Martinis.  No, I’m turning to this scene for inspiration.

The drink Bond was quaffing was a Vesper, which he created and named after his love interest, Vesper Lynd, who we were introduced to in Casino Royale.  Being a fan of Lillet this drink sounded like a perfect one to explore this week.  The recipe for the Vesper Bond explains both in the book and movie Casino Royale:

“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’m…er…concentrating,” 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.”

– James Bond (Ian Fleming), Casino Royale – Tip o’ the hat to Wikipedia for that one

While there is a bit of discussion of the Wikipedia page about the recipe calling for measures, which the page’s author insists must mean a jigger (1 1/2 oz), I don’t think this is necessarily true.  Nor is it crucial to making this drink.  Like most drinks you can use whatever you damn well please for your measure.  I’ll be using 1/2 oz as it makes for a more manageable cocktail.

Vesper (Original Recipe)
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Lillet Blonde
Lemon Twist for Garnish
1) Shake (shudder) until very cold
2) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass






One response to “Vesper”

  1. Doug Winship Avatar

    I do love the Vesper, but I’ve got two affectations that make it much better.
    First is the garnish. Check out in Casino Royale (as opposed to Quantum), you will see that bond specifies a long strip of lemon. This drink is a great excuse to whip out your channel knife and see how long a peel you can get in one piece.
    Second, don’t shake the thing! I know, I know…. Still, while I don’t mind the frosty shards of ice floating in my regular Martinis, making the surface look like the ocean at the end of Titanic, the ultra clarity possible only from stirring (for a LONG time) just seems to fit the Vesper.