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Happy 2012!

I hope the year is starting well for you. I’m continuing on with my martini series. This is drink number 5, and we have 2 more variations to go.

The Vesper

The Vesper was originally ordered by James Bond in Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. It’s the first martini when Vodka and Gin are both placed in the same cocktail.   It clearly combines the Vodka Cocktail and the Martini both from 1934. It’s a very 50s cocktail. It is the ratio of the liquor in the Vodka Cocktail of 3 to 1 and ration of the liquor to vermouth in the Martini of 12 to 1, sitting at a ratio of 8 to 1. As we’ll see later, this ratio of 8 to 1 is typical of the most martini ratios.

Let’s quote Ian Fleming, directly, shall we?

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui, monsieur.”
“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.”

In other words:

3 parts Vodka

1 part Gin

1/2 part Kina Lillet

Shake over ice. Pour into a champagne goblet. Add a slice of lemon peel.


I like the Vesper. It’s difficult to find Kina Lillet, at least in North Carolina and Kansas. When I have looked at the recipe, the internet suggests replacing the Kina Lillet with Dry Vermouth, which I did. I feel like there’s something missing from Fleming’s original recipe, but without Kina Lillet, I doubt that I will ever know what that is. The drink is delicious for those who love gin.

In the right mood, this is my favorite martini. It has the nice aromatics from gin but diluted with the taste of vodka, and just the hint of dry vermouth and a bit of lemon to leave the drinker with a nice crisp taste in the mouth. Each sip is a well-balanced taste. I recommend The Vesper to all martini lovers everywhere.


As I have written before, martinis necessitate good vodka, the less vermouth, the more the important the liquor. Because of that, I prefer Hendricks Gin and Ketel One vodka.

1 750 mL bottle of Hendricks: $35

1 750 mL bottle of Ketel One: $25

1 750 mL bottle of Martini & Rossi Dry vermouth: $8

Total cost: $68

It’s an expensive drink, but it’s worthwhile. As always, happy and safe drinking.