Every James Bond fan knows this recipe as the first Martini that Bond ordered in Ian Fleming’s 1953 book, “Casino Royale” (or the 2006 movie). Named after the seductive double agent Vesper Lynd, it is possibly the most famous drink order in history and extremely precise.
How Strong Is a Vesper Martini?
It is said that vodka in the 1950s was often bottled at 100 proof and that Gordon’s Gin was 94 proof at the time (it has since been reformulated). Factoring these numbers in, the Vesper could easily be a 39 percent ABV (78 proof) cocktail. That is equivalent to a straight shot of most vodkas on the market today!
This drink is purely fictional. It was created by the author in his first book about the now-famous British Secret Intelligence Service agent and has also become known as the “James Bond Martini.” As any devotee of the books or movies knows, Bond is very fond of fine cocktails and this was certainly not the last drink in the series. In fact, the Vesper received just that single mention, and the vodka and gin martinis were served far more often as the series progressed.
The Vesper martini is interesting because it combines gin and vodka with Kina Lillet (commonly substituted with Lillet Blanc or dry vermouth). It’s a very potent mix, and Fleming (er, Bond) is very particular about two ingredients: Kina Lillet is no longer available, and the gin has changed significantly since the ’50s, so the original formula requires adaptation.
The Vesper is a fascinating cocktail. Compared to the gin martini, it has a slightly sweet, bitter taste contributed by Lillet, while the vodka tames the gin’s botanicals. It’s a drink that both gin and vodka drinkers can appreciate and fun to tweak to your personal taste.
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