“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.”
—James Bond, “Casino Royale”
The “one drink” that Bond is talking about is the Vesper—named after villain/love interest Vesper Lynd. Made with gin, vodka and Lillet, this martini variation, it is indeed very strong.
Extra credit info:
Bond was very particular about the brands used in his drink, although the liquors he names have changed formulation in recent years. The vodka Bond was talking about would be 100 proof, and at the time Gordon’s gin was 94-proof—both stronger than what we typically use now. Today’s Lillet Blanc contains less quinine than the Kina Lillet of 1953, meaning it is slightly less bitter. If you want to replicate the Bond version using a high-proof vodka and gin, you can also add a dash of orange or angostura bitters or quinine powder.
I think the drink is plenty strong as is and don’t miss the bitterness. For our version, we used Tru2 organic gin, Rain vodka and Lillet Blanc. The Tru2 has a light amber color with citrus and spice notes more pronounced than in a London dry gin. Rain vodka is smooth and doesn’t overpower the taste of the gin. Lillet Blanc, which is in between dry and sweet vermouth in character, compliments botanical and citrus flavors perfectly.
- 3 oz gin
- 1 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. You can shake or you can stir. A shaken drink will be a little colder. A stirred drink will be a little stronger. The drink is served up (with no ice).