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

Get the 007 Look - Shop Now!

Comments

Jm, Can't recommend the bar at Duke's Hotel in St. James highly enough.
It is a wonderful Martini, I use a full measure of Lillet and a orange peel twist in my modified Vesper
There is a local bar that actually has The Vesper on their 'martini menu' along with other themed variations. For my 21st birthday I had to have it, though it did kind of ruin the subsequent bar hopping that was to occur... Their recipe however uses Stolichnaya Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lillet, and the Lemon Peel garnish. Gotta say I am still wanting to go back there sometime and have another. Especially now that I'm a more seasoned drinker. ;)
Five years is quite a long time to wait for a reply, but if you're still looking for an easy way to get Lillet try Binny's. The one by me carries it and it's red counterpart as a basic item. Best of luck
You can get Gordons Export which is 100 proof, and very similar (if not identical) to the 'regular' Gordons sold in the UK in 1953. Best place to get it is at specialist alcohol shops or online.
I tried it and didn't like it. Disappointing because I'm a big Bond fan, have an Aston Martin, a big BMW, but don't like his martini.
I concur...I make it as per the original except using Cocchi Americano and original yellow-label Gordons, and it's amazing. Really though...don't underestimate it's strength...it knocks me silly and I really DON'T act as cool as Bond when I've had a couple... lol x
Had this for the first time at Emmilou's in Sydney. The owner made it and he really knows his cocktails. Previously I have not been a fan of Martinis, but for the rest of the night I wouldn't drink anything else (no pun intended). The vodka does smooth down the Gin (which was Tanqueray if I recall). Don't shake it hard!
I'm a novice at martinis: I tried the Vesper last night and really liked it. I also found a suggestion to reverse the gin and vodka ratios. Can you still call it a vesper if you do that?
Actually, I've done, via some research, a reformulation of the 1953 (original novel) strength of the Vesper. To get the bitter, I substituted Cocchi Americano for the Lillet Blanc. I used Broker's Gin, which in the USA is sold at 47%, and Smirnoff 100-proof. It made a very good drink. Actually, at the same time I got the Cocchi, I happened upon a bargain on a bottle of Lillet Rouge, and tried making the Vesper with it. The drink is strong, but nowhere near as bitter. Due to the red color, I've dubbed it "Vesper's Broken Heart."
I had, so I am told 6 of these over Christmas whilst playing Poker. I only remember 5! Lethal...but so good... My friend had two and told me the next day that he was pissed from the legs up! Definitely a drink to get the party started, or as an appetiser before dinner. But only have one or two pre-dinner as they pack a punch!
Neil Perry's Spice Temple restaurant on Southbank in Melbourne serves great Vespers,
I made mine with two parts Hendrick's gin, one part Kettle One vodka, and one half Lillet Blanc (with a teeny dash of bitter and six lemon peels) and it was wonderful! The best martini I have ever had!
Alan, I have to share your appreciation for a good Vespars, The Red Door does by far have the best martini's. Glad someone else has found this gem.
If you are in Vegas, go to the Vesper Bar at the Cosmopolitan and have your Vesper martini made by Lilian. Best martini I've ever had, and I'm usually a vodka martini guy.
Not sure if all Ruth's Chris' bars know how to make them, but the one in Granger, IN makes what they call "The 007" with Hendricks and Stoli. Wonderful!
Drunk it for the 1st time at the main bar of Simpson's In The Strand (LONDON-UK). Made by a marvellous bartender. I prepare some for friends and family, they almost all enjoy. It is true that it's better to taste well gin. Cheers to all 007 fans!!!!
I use Lillet, Reyka Vodka, bitters and either Martin Millers Westbourne Strength, or Tanqueray 10 (T-10). I love Martin Millers gin, but T-10 takes the Vesper Martini to another level.
I luv it.....I changed the recipe a just a smidget....3 parts Bombay Sap 1 part Grey Goose tab Kil and the great twist of lemon.....and my O my.
To answer some questions related to newer spirits to create the best vesper here is what I would recommend: Gin- you can still get Gordon's but contrary to Brett's reply do not use Hendricks or Magellan. Hendricks is infused with cucumbers and rose petals and magellan tastes like rubbing alcohol. Stick to your Bombay traditional or Sapphire, Tanqueray, or artisinal Death's Door. Vodka- Smirnoff has a few appearances and you can even buy the old school bottles on ebay that come with a pump (yes a vodka pump). I would not recommend this in a martini though. Martinis should show off the spirit- choose something higher up- Stoli, Hangar one, Reyka, Ketel One. Lillet- ask your liquor store to carry it for you if they don't. Try total wine and spirits type places. Spirits should be tasting in flights to really understand whether they belong in a cocktail or prominent in a martini.
Agree with Lindsay on gin substitutes, I also have passed on the Kina Lillet and have been using Cocchi Americano with a dash of bitters, which I believe gets the taste closer to what Fleming had in mind. Enjoy..
When flying through the Atlanta International Airport, head over to the International Departures terminal, if you have the time. There you will find a sushi/fusion restaurant called "One Flew South." I have been mixing Vespers for years, and they are the only ones I've found that can do it justice. Try one with a Pulled Duck Sandwich. BTW- Be sure to specifically ask for "Lillet Blanc" at your local liquor store. They will have no idea what you're talking about if you ask for "Kina Lillet." It can usually be found in places with a large wine selection, in the desert wine section where one would find sherrys or ports.
I use Tanqueray Rangpur Gin with a dash of bitters & Grey Goose Vodka along with Lillet Blanc (here in Florida Total Wine has everything you could want) While it is a different taste, it is by far the best Martini I have ever had and now it is my go to drink of choice. Of course there is no bar around here in St Pete sophisticated enough produce it, so it is a DYI
Usually drink dry martini: Tanqueray10 (from freezer) : Cinzano Dry Vermouth at 5:1 + 2 green olives. Made the Vesper with: Bombay : Absolute Vodka : Cinzano Dry at 6:3:1 + 6 drops Angostura Bitters. Agree that the vodka tones down the gin. So smooth that I have to remind myself I'm drinking a very high alcohol cocktail.
I have a small supper club in northern WI. We have served over 1000 Vespers in the last few years at our copper top bar. Only three customers were not fans as they felt gin was not prominent enough in the flavor. The Vesper is smooth and refreshing!
Just bought the ingredients and will be trying over the weekend, I bought Russian Standard which is 40% vol, Greenalls Gin which is 37.5% vol and Lillet which if you live in the UK is available from all Waitrose for £13. Surprised no one else has mentioned RS vodka but I'll give my review soon.
I tried making this drink with Belveder vodka, Gordon's Gin, and Martini dry-sec vermouth and a large thin slice of lemon peel. I'm really not sure how I feel about the drink. My girlfriend definitely did not like it. I am just wondering if the martini dry-sec vermouth would ruin the drink? I couldn't find any Lillet at my local liquor stores. Is there anything else I can use in place of the Lillet that would come close or is the dry-sec vermouth fine? I'm basically wondering if what I used to make the drink will make it taste like it should?
A couple of my local grocery stores carry Lillet and it is not vermouth. According to another website, a closer approximation of the original Kina Lillet is Cocchi Americano, but it's almost impossible to find. I have some Peychoux Bitters at home. I'll try adding a few drops, although since it has very red color, it will mess up that nice clear martini.
I know this is an old thread, but I'd love to hear someone's opinion of this-- the dialogue in the 2006 film, "Casino Royale," clearly has Bond defining a Vesper as, "three measures of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet." No gin. I know the literary Vesper has a 3-1 ratio of gin and vodka, bit this recipe was clearly discarded in the film. As I right?
Nevermind an earlier comment I posted on the Vesper recipe in "Casino Royale." Evidently, "ion" channel's screening of this movie replaced "Gordon's" with "vodka," for some idiotic reason. It is apparent that Craig's Bond did indeed order the canonical version of this drink with gin and vodka. Interesting how they edited-out the "Gordon" brand, and also very wrong.
Tried it, love it (both my wife and I). We only had Skyy vodka available but this was divine to imbibe. Thanks to all the rest of you for alternate suggestions - looking forward to try the variations (variety, after all, is the spice of life!).
this is the best way to create a Vesper that everyone will enjoy. Three measures of Gordons gin One of Vodka (stoli) half measure of lillet... get the measures exact!!!....shake over ice until your hand is very cold ....drop three drops of fresh lemon juice around the top half of the glass....add cocktail.....best enjoyed with 50g of Beluga some french toast and a chopped hard boiled egg
Lillet is very much worth the hassle of finding it. It is NOT like a regular or even high $$$ vermouth. It is slightly sweeter with an acidic bite and very much apart from the cream sherry aspects of even the driest vermouth. Two ways to go about getting the quinine taste.... A. Add some quinine or bitters to it or B. Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif that actually has quinine in it. I prefer the Lillet and bitters, though. And yes, one simply must use a much higher proof gin than the current variety of Gordon's and a higher proof vodka as well. Just my tuppence.

Add new comment