Vesper Martini

A Vesper Martini needs a large thin slice of lemon-peel

Kina Lillet is nowadays simply known as "Lillet".

Gordon's Gin: the green bottle is only sold in the UK, the transparent bottle in the rest of the world.

photo © Bond Lifestyle
Having a drink before another SkyFall screening on October 31st 2012... in style!
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The 'Vesper Martini' is the famous drink ordered by James Bond in both the book and the movie Casino Royale.

The recipe for Bond's "Vesper" martini, as described in the 1953 book: '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?'

The recipe for Bond's "Vesper" martini, as described in the 2006 movie: 'Three measures of Gordon's; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.'

To make this drink yourself, you have to mix the ingredients, strain, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a large thin slice of lemon peel.

Kina Lillet, now called Lillet, is hard to find in regular stores, but can easily be purchased online at Amazon.com ($14), Amazon.co.uk (£15), TheDrinkShop.com (£15), TheWhiskyExchange (£15) but you could replace this with another dry Vermouth if necessary. As Lillet is slightly different from the original Kina Lillet, you might want to add a small dash of bitters to recreate the original taste even more accurately.

In the movie Casino Royale, when Vesper asks Bond if he named the drink after her "because of the bitter aftertaste", 007 replies that he named it for her, "because once you have tasted it, you won't drink anything else." Try it yourself, and let others know what you think by writing a comment below or visiting the forum!

The brand of vodka is not specified in the novel or the film, but both Stolichnaya and Smirnoff have a strong Bond connection.

More about Gordon's Gin
Gordon's is a famous British brand of Gin, developed in 1769. The recipe for Gordon's is known to 12 people in the world and has been kept a secret for 200 years. Gordon's can be purchased in most liquor stores or online at TheWhiskyExchange.

More about Lillet
Kina Lillet is nowadays simply names "Lillet". Lillet (pronounced lee-lay), is a French Aperitif made from a blend of wine, liqueurs, fruits and herbs. It originated in the French village of Podensac and has been made since the late 1800s. Lillet Blanc is made from white wine and is drier than Lillet Rouge, its red-wine counterpart. Both are classically served over ice with an orange twist. Lillet is a blend of rigorously selected wines and fruit liqueurs, aged in oak vats for around 12 months, during which it is given the same care as the Grands Crus (great wines) of Bordeaux. Lillet Blanc has a golden color with candied orange, honey, pine resin, lime and fresh mint aromas. Full and rich on the palate with a lovely, long aftertaste.

Product Code: 
fd001

Comments

I constantly ruin my friends on martinis now that I serve The Vesper at parties. It is leaps and bounds above the same old gin martini.

This recipe is actually incorrect. At the time that Flemming invented this drink, Gordon's was a very different gin; now you're better off using something like Hendrick's, Magellan, Stingray, or even Tanqueray (all of which are the traditional 94 proof). Vodka was the same way; almost all vodkas at the time were 100 proof so use something like Stoli 100 proof for the best result. Finally, Lillet Blanc replaced the Kina Lillet in the mid eighties. You know have to add the "kina" part yourself by mixing in either 1/8 tsp of quinine or (in a pinch) a dash of bitters.

I had this drink for the first time today and i really wanted to like it and i did! i'm not a big fan of Martini but i like this one quite dry but it is nice.

The Vesper is a wonderful drink for aquired tastes. Because of the aftertaste it may turn people off. Much prefered by yself over standard vodka martinis. Enjoy for yourselves.
Cheers

I have been to every liquor store in my city and not a single one carries Lillet. I contacted Lillet and have not heard back for a distributor. I would highly recommend someone get some Lillet up in the auction area of this site and watch the bids start rising.

Instead of asking for Kina Lillet or Lillet, Lillet Blanc is easier to find, and still is a smashing drink.

I was happy to find a private wine shop in my town which carries the Lillet brand. Picked up two bottles and made the Vesper according to Flemming's recipe. I was suprised how good it was. I decided that I prefer a touch more Lillet with the Gordon's and vodka.

after years of searching, starting in the 70,s, at last I have been able to taste the vesper, If any one has any probs getting hold of lillet go to thedrinkshop.com, they are fast and reliable, a side note, the company who dlivered my bottle, proberly didnt realise that the last 6 digets of ther phone no were very apt, they were 007 007

great drink had them for years. I read the book 7 years ago.

I was lucky to find the Lillet in the deli just down the street, so I bought a Handle of Gordan's Gin and a bottle of Vodka. That night we made about five Martinis for after dinner they were great. A regular martini taste off and just never settled well with my stomach, but the Vesper was perfect so now we make them on a regular bases, the Lillet should be no more then 15 dollars if you shop around you'll find it.

I just made the Vesper and attempted to drink a glass. As a true bond fan I am sorry to say that I did not like it. Since I do not like Gin that much. I feel like a knight that could not pull excaliber from the rock, but it was not good.

haven't tried it yet

This is an excellent Martini....if you like Martini's. I changed the recipe a little, I make it with 3 measures of Bombay Sapphire, 1 of vodka and a full measure of Lillet.

I am an absolute try and true martini lover. When I saw this drink in the Bond film, I had to try it. I had the guy at my local sprits store order the Lillet Blanc for me. I have to say, it's no where NEAR good as a regular, gin or vodka martini. The Lillet takes like vermouth, I wouldn't add as much. I will probably make use of the Lillet in other ways, though.

My favorite drink - I've been drinking it since before the film Casino Royale, ever since I first read the book by Flemming, and made it for myself. Very few barmen know how to make it, so I always get a kick out of telling them. Superb taste and the overall ultimate martini.

I just had this drink at a theatre in Downtown Seattle and I never want to drink anything ele. I have a feeling people wont know what I am talking about and am afraid to sound like douche when I measure out the ingredients to the bartender. What do I do?

Incredible strong value drink. I actually had my 1st one about 5 hours ago. One glass will destroy you, no matter who you are. Mine was about 99% alcohol.

A really good drink, but you NEED to sip it for the best flavor. Strong taste going down. I recommend it!!

I have been making Vespers at home for myself and my guests for a little more than 25 years now. I was curious about the recipe when I first read Casino Royale in university. Lucky for me, my local wine merchant at the time stocked Lillet. As a Martini fan(atic), the Vesper has long been my favourite. Imagine my delight to see it featured in both Daniel Craig movies - particularly Casino Royale. So ... my review? It's a wonderful balance of the sweet (which comes from the Lillet) and the tart (the gin). It's interesting that the addition of the vodka really tones down the gin flavour - as such, I have had many guests who say they don't like gin rave about the Vesper. Expressions like "doesn't take like gin at all' are not uncommon. Alessandro, the great bartender at Dukes Hotel in London, likes to add a few drops of Angostura Bitters (to make it more like the taste of the now defunct Kina Lillet) and replaces lemon peel with orange. While I don't recommend the use of the bitters, a nice slice or orange peel does go wonderfully well - and matches the hint of orange in the Lillet perfectly. Now that you got me thinking about a nice cold Vesper, I am counting the hours to getting home tonight! Try one. You may never go back.

The Vesper Martini is really a refreshing drink and amazingly for all the alcohol doesn't knock you out of your seat after a few. I could actually see drinking these while playing million dollar poker at the Casino Royale and not falling face first into my cards!

What are some good replacements for Gordon's Gin in this recipe?

I've thought about the usuals, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater London. I've yet to try to Vesper myself, but I'd like to change the recipe just a tad without compromising the taste.

Recently had the opportunity to try a vesper at a local martini bar name "The Red Door" in Salt Lake City, Ut.
I must say, it was an enjoyable mix, could be addicting.

I look forward to this being my first 'Real' drink, Does anyone know if say, a Cruiseship would have the required ingredients to make it?

-At any rate, I look forward to trying this and finding out what all the fuss is about.

Yes, you really do need to add some bitters, such as Angostura, to the drink as modern lillet Vermough is nothing like the original Kina (quinine) Lillet. In fact modern lillet Vermouth is not that distinctive without the quinine so any dry Vermouth (I like Dolin ChamberyAbout three drops is right. You can go up to six but that tints the drink a shade of pink and makes it quite bitter (which I quite like). I tend to use Bombay Sapphire for the Gin and Smirnoff Black or Wyborova Exquisite for the vodka). It's a fun drink to play around with. Using lime peel instead of lemon changes it again. The key thing I have found is that it immensely improved by being served in a frozen glass. Bond liked his cocktails very, very cold!

Just made one right now. Finding the Lillet was hard but worth it.

I work at a liquor store and bought the ingredients tonight. I am usually a person who avoids any thing with gin, but this drink was quite good. Having heard that the original lillet had quinine in it, I added a splash of tonic to the drink and it vastly improved it. The gin taste is not overpowering at all and, for the alcohol content, this is a very smooth drink. A pinch of quinine powder would probably work just as well.

I had this drink at a small underground bar in Vienna, and it was amazing. Very smooth, with a hint of citrus.

this is the perfect martini to me! No bite from eitherthe gin or vodka. The lillet tames them both and adds to the mix a taste of sweet/bitterness. Twist of fresh lemon brings everything together and gives the lucky embiber a smooth ride. You dont want anything else (well, to drink)after Bonding with this elixior!

I prepared this cocktail and after my first initial taste I found this to be a most enjoyable cocktail, mind you the third one finished me off after our night out, I had two before leaving the house and the third on my arrival home, I awoke this morning fully dressed on the sofa minus a girlfriend who had sneaked off to bed ... I would not consider this to be a jazzy over worked nightclub cocktail more of a sophisticated cocktail for gin lovers which I am

I concur...my "modified recipe" has won over many a beer drinker at parties...I personally put one full ounce of lillet in the mix...still the BEST martini I've ever had...trust me or no...but try this mix, if you haven't by now...oh and never order this drink when you're out and about on the town...the bartender will look at you funny and screw it up every time...mix it yourself...witch unfortunately costs about $50 to do if you are just getting started...good luck and happy drinking.

Just had my first - you always remember your first. Very smooth, clean and crisp. This is my new fav. Hard to find Lillet. Finally found it here in Syracuse. Can't wait to have another.

Am shocked to find how difficult a time some readers had to find Lillet~~it has been a staple in my bar for ages. I actually loved the fact in the latest version that he requests "Gordon's" gin, not some crazy, over priced, trendy brand...the classics are the classics and I stand by that man! (Although, Hendricks IS quite lovely!)
~M

HI, I MADE THE DRINK IT`S EVERYTHING THEY SAID IT WAS,PERFECT,,
THANKS,DINO

I've gone to several local-ish bars and pubs and ordered this one. Probably, the best one was one that I got while I was in downtown San Diego, CA where the bartender was a big martini drinker and made it sooo damned perfectly. I believed he used sweet vermouth at the first sample, then again with dry. Both of them were great!

This drink will be in heavy rotation with my other favorite drinks, including vodka gimlets and rum, scotch and Coke (a Beatle drink).

Finally got the lillet and put it all together. Very nice. Spectacular, no, but worth having again. Part of it of course, is the Bond connection. What man doesn't want to have a little James Bond in him?

It's important to remember the difference in ABV of the spirits now compared to 1953. Gordons back then was 43%, Smirnoff was 50%, and Kina Lillet was a completely different drink before it was reformulated.

I make Vesper's at my bar using Tanqueray, Stolichnaya 100, and Lillet with a tiny pinch of quinine powder. Making it with modern Gordons, 40% Vodka and Lillet without the quinine makes a flat, dull drink, in my opinion.

Give it a try =]

BEST VESPER RECIPE!!!

3.0 OZ BLADE Gin]
1.0 OZ GREY GOOSE Vodka
0.5 OZ Cocchi Americano Aperitvo

Served up with a twist of lemon

Chewy, you know your booze!

AMAZING!!!

Love the peppery quality of your conconction...BLADE rocks! NOT good with potato vodka as I also tried with Chopin (my favorite vodka in Martinis) tasted flat...much more pepper with GG...don't think Stoli 100 would be better, but haven't tried!

Smitty

Bond is right ... a good "real" Vesper is both rocket fuel, easy to drink, and "once you have tasted it, you won't drink anything else." ... warning - its very easy to get wrong - it has to be below freezing temperature to drink. I had my first in Christopher's Bar in London and get my Lillet from Drinks.com.

Try a real one - and don't suffer any other Vermouth... Lillet IS NOT a Vermouth. sip it and enjoy...

Cocchi is MUCH closer to the original Kina Lillet than Lillet blanc, as it has a much higher level of the key ingredient, quinine. I use Cocchi Americano, Wyborowa Exquisite and original yellow-label Gordons. If you can't find Cocchi (or, indeed Lillet) you can get both at thewhiskyexchange.com.

Love this drink, one of my favourite cocktails. Can't handle too many of them though as it's a real 'blow your head off but easy to drink at the same time' kind of drink.

I use Absolute blue, Bombay Sapphire and Lillet Blanc. I use Absolute and Bombay simply because it's always in the drinks' cabinet. Plus I like the extra spice you get with the Bombay, makes up for what the Lillet Blanc lacks. Works a treat, for my tastes anyway.

I tried the Vesper at a bar here in Las Vegas. The bar is called "Vesper Bar" in the Cosmopolitan. The Vesper is their signature drink. I'm not sure what exactly they mixed in it, but wow was it good. Very smooth with a sweetness and a lemon after taste.

Vesper martini is unquestionably the ultimate connoisseur's martini. Always use 100 proof Vodka and at least 94 proof Gin. Serve well chilled.

I just ordered a bottle of Lillet and I can't wait to try my first Vesper martini. Bottoms up!

Great notes about a great drink! I just completed an illustration for this drink and posted it on my blog. It is the Vesper Grey a slight wist on the James Bond classic! Please check it out!

http://highspiritsdrinks.blogspot.com

I enjoy this drink. However, I substitute the Gordon's for Bombay Sapphire. The drink must have either a splash of tonic or additional quinine powder; makes them interact better and bridges the favour from alcohol to the lemon zest finish. Lillet really must be used...

You Should use
Aperitivo Cocchi Americano
It's the most credible alternative to the long discontinued Kina Lillet due to its high levels of cinchona, the fiercely bitter bark used to make quinine. This makes Cocchi Americano essential in recreating James Bond's Vesper and the legendary Corpse Reviver 2 from The Savoy Cocktail Book. Good Luck

We did Bombay Sapphire Gin, Vodka, and dry vermouth.

This drink is sinful, taste great, but I'm surely gonna try it next time Kina Lillet

I first tried mixing a Vesper after reading Casino Royale just before the film came out. I initially used Gordon's Gin, but I must agree that Bombay Sapphire is by far a better choice. That said Tanqueray works very well also. Do not ruin with a cheap vodka either, although Absolute is acceptable. However, without the Lillet it is pointless to put the effort into the gin or vodka. A magnificent drink.
My Favourite is hands down, the Tom Collins http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink2438.html
Where can I buy this cocktail in London. What bars make ut well?

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