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Stirred, Not Shaken | The ICONIC Vesper Martini

Vesper Martini

When fiction becomes nonfiction—a splash of James Bond history and a Vesper Martini recipe for your taste buds.

Perhaps the most famous drink in history, the ICONIC Vesper Martini, sometimes referred to as the “James Bond martini” or simply the Vesper, is the result of fiction. The cocktail was made famous by author Ian Fleming after he first referred to it in his 1953 book “Casino Royale” and named after a character in the novel, double agent Vesper Lynd. Interestingly enough, the Vesper Martini was only mentioned one time in the entire series, yet has made its mark in history.

In the book, Bond orders the Vesper Martini with very specific instructions: “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?” Seems easy enough, right?

While recreating the martini recipe at home is not a difficult task, it does require some slight adjustments. Since Kina Lillet was discontinued 1986, the liqueur is often substituted with Lillet Blanc or dry vermouth, and then combined with gin and vodka. Gordon’s has also been unavailable since 1992, so in order to recapture the taste of the drink, you can substitute with another gin of your choice.

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In the book, Bond orders the Vesper Martini with very specific instructions: “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?”

Vesper Martini

When compared to a typical gin martini, the Vesper Martini has a sweet, yet bitter, taste, thanks to the Lillet Blanc. But there is one thing that could alter the taste and appearance of the drink. In the book, Bond says his famous line, “shaken, not stirred,” however, shaking the drink would result in greater dilution and a less smooth drink. So when it comes to the Vesper Martini, like with other spirit only cocktails, the standard rule is to stir.

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So if you want to recreate the fictional drink at home, simply mix three ounces of gin, one ounce of vodka, a half ounce of Lillet Blanc and ice and stir until all ingredients are well chilled. To top it all off, garnish with a lemon twist, check in with the British Secret Service and enjoy!

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