James Bond is good at a lot of things, and apparently creating drinks is one of them. This is the cocktail that the British super-spy famously calls out the recipe for in his inaugural adventure, Casino Royale, and then names it after the love interest (or so he thinks!). Bond’s original recipe calls for 3 ounces of Gordon’s gin, 1 oz of vodka, and a 1/2 oz of Lillet Blanc, shaken and served with a lemon twist. I’ve made a few alterations, if you’re willing break with tradition.
For one, my recipe contracts the size of Bond’s, clearly he had no problem downing a cocktail with 4 ounces of spirit, but it’s not something I generally recommend. Also, Gordon’s is now bottled at 40% ABV, which I think a little soft for this drink. I’d go with a gin that’s around 47-50% ABV, and if there was ever a time to specifically use London dry, this is certainly it. Finally, I’ve found the Vesper actually tastes a bit more balanced, with a touch more Lillet than vodka, rather than the other way around. You could also use Cocchi Americano in place of Lillet, to add hint of bitterness, which is a nice touch.
2½ oz gin
¾ oz Lillet Blanc
½ oz vodka
Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass. Fill with ice, stir for 18-25 seconds, and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.
If you make a Vesper, let me see! Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.
Shaken, not Stirred?
Despite James’ famous stipulation for his cocktail to be shaken, not stirred, today’s bartenders typically stir the Vesper, in keeping with the general rule of when to shake or stir a cocktail. However, similar to my anecdote on the Martini page, lightly shaking this drink won’t ruin it (emphasis on lightly) - as long as you’re ok with it looking a little cloudy initially.