If you're a casual movie fan you obviously know the famous James Bond catchphrase 'Shaken, not Stirred' when it comes to ordering your martini. If you are a Bond fan, you no doubt been more specific and have ordered yourself a Vesper Martini only to wonder the best way to make it yourself a home. We'll get to that, but first a little history.
'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'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 think of a good name.'
Casino Royale, Chapter 7: Rouge et Noir
Fleming continues with Bond telling the barman, after taking a long sip, "Excellent ... but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better," and then adds in an aside, "Mais n'enculons pas des mouches" (English: "But let's not bugger flies"—a vulgar French expression meaning "let's not split hairs"). Leiter jokingly suggests Bond name his drink the Molotov Cocktail.
Bond in the next chapter, "Pink Lights and Champagne", names it the Vesper. At the time of his first introduction to the beautiful Vesper Lynd, he asks her name in an interrogation indirecte, "I can't drink the health of your new frock without knowing your Christian name." He receives her name then enquires more from her with a look. "I was born in the evening, on a very stormy evening..." The idea strikes Bond her name is perfect for his recently invented special Martini and tells her his search for a name is over if Vesper will permit him her name for it.
A Vesper differs from Bond's usual cocktail of choice, the martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of the usual dry vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive. Although there is a lot of discussion on the Vesper, it is only ordered by Bond once throughout Fleming's novels – although Bond drinks the Vesper in the film Casino Royale – and by later books Bond is ordering regular vodka martinis, though he also drinks regular gin martinis. Felix Leiter ordered a Vesper for Bond in the novel Diamonds Are Forever, albeit with Cresta Blanca in place of Kina Lillet, which Bond politely remarks is the "Best Vermouth I ever tasted." It may be that Fleming decided not to have Bond order a Vesper again due to the way in which Casino Royale ends.
How To Make The Perfect Vesper
With help from our friends over at liquor.com we want to share their steps in making the perfect Vesper.
With all due respect to 007, there’s one change we’d recommend. Shaking a Vesper can result in an overly diluted and less smoothly textured drink—and a Martini isn’t meant to have ice shards floating on its top. The golden rule is to always stir a spirit-only cocktail, and there’s no reason to make an exception here.
- 3 ounces gin
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Lillet blanc aperitif
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Express the oils from a lemon twist over the drink, rub the twist along the rim of the glass and drop it into the cocktail.
And there you have it! The perfect Vesper Martini you can drink at home. Thanks for checking out our article and be sure to take a look at our Vesper Martini shirts to show off how much of a true James Bond fan you are.