The Vesper Martini is a cocktail that needs no introduction for fans of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. It was both invented and named by Mr. Fleming and was first introduced in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale.
How to Make a Vesper Martini
The Vesper Martini is super easy to make and requires only three simple ingredients. It’s also meant to be shaken, not stirred so make sure you have a Boston Shaker or something similar on hand before you get started. To begin with, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Lillet blanc apéritif
For those who are unfamiliar with Lillet blanc, it’s a sweet kind of wine that has citrus notes and a bit of a bitter taste but it works very well in this drink. I had a bit of trouble finding it the first time I went looking and depending on the store, sometimes you will find it in the wine section and sometimes you’ll find it with the liqueurs. It really depends on the proprietor. (side note: if you love Martini’s make sure you try my Lemon Drop Martini.. it’s delicious!)
The Famous Martini in Casino Royale
The ‘Vesper Martini‘ is the famous drink that was ordered by James Bond in both the book and the movie Casino Royale. In the 2006 move starring Daniel Craig. You can see the clip below where he orders what is now one of the most famous martini’s around!
What is a good substitute for Kina Lillet?
When originally ordered by James Bond, he had specific directions for the bartender:
“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?”
The general consensus is now that Kina Lillet is no longer made ( which doesn’t make Karlynn sad as she is allergic to quinine, there’s a did-you-now fact about her for ya! She can’t have tonic water because of it!) you replace it with Lillet Blanc. And replace it we do, as the Vesper martini is one of Karlynn’s favourite cocktails of choice. Sadly there are tons of classic cocktails that are now lost forever because Kina Lillet isn’t made anymore.
To shake or not to shake the Vesper martini?
Option #1: Stirred
Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice cubes and stir. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a lemon twist as garnish.
Option #2: Shaken
Combine ingredients in a Boston Shaker with ice and shake until cold. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist. While most people don’t like to shake their martinis, this doesn’t hurt the drink at all and helps the Lillet properly disperse throughout the drink but honestly, you can make this either way. Either way you prepare it, it’s delicious.
Hope you like it!
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- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Total Time
- 5 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 3 ounces Gordon's gin
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Lillet blanc
- Combine in a boston shaker and shake until cold to the tough.
- Pour into Martini glass.
- Garnish with lemon twist.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
Jeff Tomlinson says
A definite classic. Love this drink and have been enjoying them for years.
Karlynn Johnston says
It’s always my go-to choice!
Dorn Bishop says
Mike – Cocchi Americano is better than Lillet Blanc, and more faithful to Fleming’s original description of the drink because it contains quinine bitters. Harder to find but Premium Wines and More carries it. Also key is to throw in a long, wide (but thin) lemon rind at the end, after twisting it over the drink; the citrus oil/zest brings the whole drink together nicely. Finally, after much trial and error, I’ve found that Hendrick’s gin and Grey Goose vodka are the tastiest combination for me. 2 to 3 oz. gin, 1 oz. of vodka, and about 1/2 oz. of Cocchi Americano.
Mr. Kitchen Magpie says
Awesome thanks for sharing! I’ll have to give Cocchi Americano a try. Grey Goose is definitely the best Vodka for this drink, I have to agree with you there. Thanks for the tips!