“A dry martini,” Bond said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Just a moment. 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?”
“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 can think of a good name.”
So wrote Ian Fleming in his famed James Bond story, Casino Royale. Little did monsieur Bond know that he was, on a whim, creating what would turn out to be a classic cocktail in line with its sibling. I have always been a fan of this drink and it seems only fitting that we offer it up in Martini Madness at this point in our adventure. So far, our first five recipes have largely been the same base recipe (with minor element tweaks) or in the case of the Martinez, an older parent. Now we turn our attention, and this will continue through to the end of this madness, to show case riffs and or extensions of this base recipe. Some changes will only be minor tweaks to supporting characters in the recipe while others will be downright new. In the case of the Vesper, our normal dose of gin is taken down a notch and is offset with the addition of that dreaded vodka. Dry vermouth gives way to Kina Lillet (Lillet or in our case Cocchi Americano) to add a twinge of sweetness and lingering bitterness. Slight changes, turn to great results.
The drink as made below is wonderful. Crystal clear in the glass, the Vesper offers up a faint floral, almost sweet aroma. The stirred method (of course you should stir this bad boy … sorry James, I know you ask for it shaken but I take my Martini’s and Vesper’s stirred) creates an extremely smooth texture despite there being four full ounces of straight hooch. Our dreaded friend vodka plays its part exceedingly well calming the heavy botanicals and adding extra “smoothness.” A faint sweetness is present and as with plenty a great drink, a low lingering bitterness caps off the experience.
Recipe adapted by theSpeakista
• 3 measures of Gordon’s gin (Beefeater was used)
• 1 measure of vodka (Reyka Small Batch was used)
• half a measure of Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano was used)
Garnish: lemon twist
Glass: cocktail coupe or glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer
Assembly: The original recipe, Bond called for a hard shaken drink with a swath of lemon to be added upon serving. We go against tradition and stay with our standard stirred method of plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice being added and several minutes of stirring taking place. Strain the mixture into the serving glass, garnish and serve up.
Who would have ever thought that playing a game of high stakes cards while sipping on one of these little beauties could have yielded so much pleasure? Next we take the Vesper formula, perform a little slight of hand and reveal that going green, is so much fun!