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Vesper Martini recipe

Vesper Martini recipe

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The classic Vesper. Enjoy on your own or with family and friends.

6 people made this

IngredientsServes: 1

  • 4 tablespoons gin
  • 2 tablespoons Russian vodka
  • 1 tablespoon Lillet blanc
  • 1 cupful ice cubes
  • 1 lemon twist

MethodPrep:5min ›Ready in:5min

  1. Pour gin, vodka and Lillet over ice. Shake or stir, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(7)

Reviews in English (6)

by JACK19

Not exactly Bond's Vesper.The original recipe called for 100 proof Vodka and 94 proof Gin. Over the last 40 years distillers have, generally, lowered the proofs of their liquor.If you really want the taste, and kick, of the original, use Stoly 100 and Tanqueray Gin.Then as Matt noted in his review, use Lillet Blanc with a few drops of bitters.-15 Jun 2011

by Matt

The original recipe called for Kina Lillet which had Quinine in it. Since this is no longer available, use Lillet Blanc with a few drops of Angostura Bitters to simulate the bitter taste of Quinine.-06 Mar 2010

Vesper Martini

Here’s a cocktail invented by a fictional character that went on to become a classic. Meet the Vesper martini! Yes, James Bond created this drink in the 1953 book Casino Royale, and it lives on today. To us it’s an improvement on the classic martini, so we’re glad it’s stuck around! The magic ingredient is Lillet blanc, a lightly sweet, vaguely floral fortified wine that brings life and personality into this drink. Here’s more about it and why you should try a Bond martini…stat.

How to Make a Vesper

James Bond was good at many things, but inventing a cocktail was not one of them.

  1. Stir ingredients briskly with ice in a mixing tin until very cold.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a large, thin-cut lemon peel.

James Bond displayed prowess in many disciplines. Driving gadget-laden Aston Martins! Sassing M! Wearing the hell out of a suit! But that prowess all but abandoned him where a Vesper crossed his path&mdashthe woman he loved, who betrayed him, and the drink he invented in her memory, which lives on to confuse us all.

Bond made the Vesper a cocktail known the world over that's the power of a strong personal brand. But had Bond (or rather, author Ian Fleming) not been its creator, it likely would not have stood a chance on its own. The Vesper, adjacent to a proper martini but nowhere near as balanced, has potency going for it, sure. The ratios of gin, vodka, and Lillet (a French aperitif used as a vermouth substitute) deserves to be questioned, but we won't tamper with Bond's recipe. Where we will go rogue is the Vesper's construction. As you and everyone else in the galaxy knows, Bond ordered martinis shaken, not stirred, but that's no way to get one bone-chillingly cold. We'd have you stir, not shake. Like this:

A Little Background

In Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale, Bond ordered the following yet-unnamed cocktail from a 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?" His directions were crystal clear, and for his trouble, he got what would haven been an ill-proportioned drink, where the Lillet got drowned by gin, which in turn was not nearly drowned enough by the vodka. Shortly thereafter Bond named the Vesper. And then he never ordered it on the page again.

A lot has changed since 1953&mdashhell, six men have played Bond since&mdashand that includes the ingredients in Bond's original Vesper. Gordon's gin is no longer as strong as it used to be, for one. For another, Lillet altered its formula Kina Lillet became the less-bitter Lillet Blanc. In this how-to, we have the original recipe as Bond ordered it, but look here for ways to tweak it so that it more closely replicates the 1953 version.

If You Like This, Try These

The Vesper has the honor of being Bond's own invention, but it wasn't the drink he favored. For that, you'd have to make a Vodka Martini, or Gin Martini. You'll probably enjoy it loads more. In keeping with the Bond theme, you could also make yourself an Old Fashioned, a Scotch and Soda, or an Americano&mdashall ordered by the agent at one point or another.

What You Need

Here&rsquos what you need to do a Vesper justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.

Vesper Martini has high alcohol content and hence has a very strong sharp taste.

So to make this cocktail the perfect way, you need to make sure that the drink is served in a chilled glass. This way the drink seems really great.

So before we start lets chill the cocktail glass. You can do this by filling the Cocktail glass with lots of ice and let it chill until we prepare – Vesper Martini.

Now take, lots of ice in a shaker and add all the ingredients to it. Shake it well for around 30 seconds to mix the spirits well.

Remove the ice from Cocktail glass and strain the cocktail into it.

Your Vesper Martini is ready to be served, but wait! Garnish the drink with a thin lemon peel just the way Mr. Bond likes it.

Orange Vesper Martini Recipe

James Bond's drink of choice was the vesper martini. This Orange Vesper Martini Recipe stays somewhat true to the original recipe from Casino Royale, with the addition of fresh orange juice, an orange slice or twist, and orange bitters. Bone dry with lots of complex flavor, this martini is a perfect year 'round sipper!

Vesper Martini

While you may find slight variations from one recipe to the next, this recipe is the most common, modern version of the Vesper Martini. This recipe calls for Lillet Blanc, a French apéritif, in place of the original Kina Lillet which the original recipe called for. While Bond likes his Vesper "shaken, not stirred," the rules of good cocktail making suggest that cocktails made from pure spirits should be stirred to avoid over-aeration and excessive dilution of the drink. This version differs from 007's preferred method by sticking to the classic cocktail making technique instead. However, if you want to experience the Bond-style cocktail in its purest form, then feel free to shake away.


Step 1

Stir gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc in an ice-filled mixing glass until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer or a slotted spoon into a martini glass.

Step 2

Using a small serrated knife, remove a 1" strip of peel from lemon (some white pith is okay) it should be stiff enough to provide some resistance when bent. Twist over drink to express oils discard. Garnish with a lemon twist.

How would you rate Vesper?

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Vesper Cocktail Recipe

In the James Bond movie and novel Casino Royale, agent 007 invents and names the new vodka cocktail “Vesper.” We’ve included the scene below in video along with the original Vesper recipe and‘s updated suggested version. We also suggest these reviews of online casinos so you can enjoy this cocktail with a great game from home.

As Kina Lillet is typically no longer available, we recommend using Lillet Blanc in place as an alternative when making the famous drink which premiered in the 1953 Ian Flemming novel.

More a subtly fortified wine than a true "three and under the guest" Martini but delightfully so with sherry-like wine notes and faint botanical influences. Subtly refined. Despite the 'Vesper' name some will say that this should be stirred. Shake boldly on, but with good ice.

A variation of a Dry Martini. For the full story behind James Bond's prefered Martini see our Vesper cocktail page.


There are approximately 156 calories in one serving of Reverse Vesper Martini.

How to Make the Classic James Bond Vesper Martini

One of James Bond’s most enduring catchphrases is “shaken, not stirred.” But what, exactly, is being mixed in that cocktail shaker? Most of us know that it’s a martini of some sort, but that cocktail has evolved in such numerous ways over the decades, can we really know the specific type of martini that Bond indulges in?

We can if we dig into Ian Fleming’s very first novel about the world’s most famous spy: Casino Royale (the recipe was mentioned in the 2006 film adaptation of the book as well). In the story , Fleming tells us, through Bond himself, the exact recipe for the Vesper martini (an old word for evening, as well as the name of an alluring female Secret Service agent with whom 007 works on this case):

“A dry martini. One. In a deep champagne goblet. . . . 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?”

If you know cocktails, you know that’s quite a strong drink (a “measure” can either mean 1 or 1.5 US ounces, depending on the establishment). It’s between 4-6 oz of hard liquor, plus that extra half measure of Lillet (an apertif, fortified wine i.e., a beverage meant to be consumed before dinner to stimulate the appetite). That’s at least two times the amount of booze contained within your average cocktail.

Felix Leiter, in the novel, notices this fact and responds, “Gosh, that’s certainly a drink.” To which Bond explains, “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.”

Interestingly enough, Casino Royale is in fact the only time Fleming has Bond order a Vesper in the other books he drinks regular vodka and gin martinis. But 007 gave the recipe with such inedible conviction, that it’s become an enduring part of popular culture.

If you’d like to move beyond merely hearing about the Bond martini to actually tasting it, today I ’ll go through all the ingredients you’ll need, as well as how to make it with your home bar.

If you’re ready to harness your inner secret agent, and gain a bit more savoir faire, it’s time to learn how to make a Vesper.

The Ingredients

While the Vesper is often classified as a martini, it really defies categorization. A classic martini contains gin, dry vermouth, and an olive or two. A vodka martini simply replaces the gin with vodka.

Bond uniquely combines the two spirits, and instead of using vermouth, he requests Kina Lillet. And rather than olives, Bond uses lemon peel as a garnish. It’s a drink as unique as 007 himself. Let’s briefly discuss the individual ingredients before we get into properly mixing the cocktail.

Gordon’s. Gordon’s is a brand of dry gin that’s been made in London since the late 1700s. (If you’re buying it in the U.S., however, it’s been made in either the States or Canada.) While it’s an inexpensive gin in today’s craft-obsessed market (my 1.75L bottle cost just $14 — a steal!), it accounts for over a third of Britain’s gin market, and is annually among the best-selling brands worldwide. Even snobby reviewers tend to give Gordon’s a fair shake and admit that it’s a quality product, especially at its low price point. Gordon’s Gin can be found at most liquor stores.

Vodka. Of the Vesper martini’s three alcohols, this is the only one for which Bond doesn’t specify a brand. He actually explains it in Casino Royale (the novel): “if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better” — indicating that this version was made with a potato vodka. He then says, however, “Mais n’enculons pas des mouches” (a French phrase meaning “let’s not split hairs”). While Bond’s a man of impeccably good taste, he’ll also take what’s available to him — in terms of vodka, at least! For my home version, I went with New Amsterdam, a perfectly middle-of-the-road grain vodka made here in the US that I bought for about $20 (for a 750ml bottle).

A side note: back in the early 󈧶s when Fleming created the recipe, the standard ABV of vodka would have been closer to 50% (or 100 proof). Most of what you’ll find today on shelves is between 80 and 90 proof, but if you really want to recreate the original Vesper, look for a 100-proof vodka.

Kina Lillet. Here is where things get tricky. Lillet is a French brand of fortified wine that at one time contained quinine (the defining ingredient in tonic). In the late 1800s, “tonic wine” became rather popular and was marketed as a preventive beverage that would fight off fevers and malaria.

It remained popular for many decades, but by the 1970s and ‘80s, demand for quinquinas (beverages with quinine in them) had died down, and the company changed the recipe (and name — to Lillet Blanc), drastically reducing the amount of quinine. While there’s purportedly still some in the recipe, on its own, Lillet Blanc tastes mostly like a sweet white wine. It’s as close as you’ll get to the original Vesper mixer, however, and it can be found with vermouths and other apertifs in most liquor stores for about $20 for a 750ml bottle.

Cinchona-infused liquor. So where will we get that distinct quinine flavor? We can’t just add tonic that would water down the beverage too much. So instead we make what is essentially our own quinine liquor. We do that by the simple process of mixing cinchona bark — where quinine comes from — with vodka (I used the New Amsterdam that I bought for this recipe). You likely won’t be able to easily find cinchona bark, so order it online. A pound was about $20, and you’ll get many batches of infused liquor from that amount.

Since vodka is a neutral spirit — that is, it doesn’t have a ton of flavor on its own — it’s particularly good at absorbing other flavors and is therefore perfect for making home infusions. I used a small handful of cinchona bark — slightly less than 1/4 cup — and mixed it with about 6oz of vodka in a mason jar. I let it sit for about 24 hours, and it ended up with a wonderful quinine aroma and a deep golden hue. Filter it through cheesecloth (or a coffee filter), keep it stored in the mason jar, and you have quinine liquor for use in your evening Vespers!

Lemon. Any lemon will do I used a serrated paring knife to cut a “large thin slice of lemon peel” as directed by Bond himself.

How to Make a Classic James Bond Vesper Martini

As Bond famously noted, this cocktail is to be very well shaken until ice cold. It’s generally accepted nowadays that this was foolish from a mixologist’s perspective. Shaken drinks tend to be those that include juice, egg whites, or cream cocktails with those ingredients need to be very well incorporated, and even a little frothy. Cocktails that include purely alcoholic ingredients should rather be stirred in a glass of ice then strained out into your glass, as shaking will make the drink cloudy and can excessively water it down, as the shaking melts the ice.

  1. Peel your lemon and place it in the glass first. When you pour the drink, this allows the essence of the peel to be more evenly incorporated throughout the drink rather than just plopping it in at the end.
  2. Fill your shaker with ice.
  3. Add all liquid ingredients to the shaker. Rather than making the uber-boozy drink that Bond requested, I did half measures. Since the recipe is listed in parts rather than specific measurements, it’s easily scalable. The cocktail is still plenty strong, don’t worry. Of course, if you’re feeling plucky, feel free to go with Bond’s full measures. (Just don’t drive afterwards, or get in a fight with a member of the KGB!)
  • 1.5 oz Gordon’s Gin
  • .5 oz vodka (again, preferably a grain vodka)
  • .25 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 2 dashes cinchona-infused liquor — I know this is terribly unspecific I poured a couple small dashes directly from the mason jar and it was perfect
  1. Shake it up! Hold the shaker in both hands and vigorously shake the cocktail for a slow count to 10, or until the outside of the shaker gets cold and frosty.
  2. Pour into your champagne glass and enjoy! Interestingly, Bond requests a champagne goblet as his vessel rather than a standard cocktail glass with a stem and wide triangular bowl. I’ve always thought those types of glasses to be a bit feminine, and I was glad to find that Bond seemed to agree! I used an antique champagne saucer that still had a stem (which is important so that the drink stays chilled while you’re holding it), but a wide, slightly shallow and rounded bowl.

My Review

I have to honestly say that this was the best martini I believe I’ve had (I know I said above that it’s not really a martini, but it’s what folks call it, so I’m stickin’ with it). I’m not much of a vodka fan, so vodka martinis don’t do anything for me. And while a classic gin martini is okay, I don’t enjoy the olives that typically come with it, and it’s quite stiff. The Vesper, with its Lillet and quinine infusion, has a bit of sweetness that perfectly offsets the slightly bitter character of the dry gin. And the vodka adds an extra flavor that can only be described as “booziness” that is rather unique and enjoyable in a gin-based cocktail.

While I’m still largely a whiskey man, I can see the Vesper popping up in my mix of homemade cocktails to make for special evenings with friends and family. To say you’re making the classic Bond martini is sure to not only enliven the environment, but provide superb conversation fodder as well!

Be sure to check out our podcast on the real-life inspiration for James Bond:

Vesper Martini Cocktail

The Vesper Martini is James Bond's classic twist on the iconic drink, mixing GREY GOOSE® with gin and Lillet® for a slightly bitter and herbal serve that makes a statement.

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  1. Stir the spirits in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Pro Tip

Behind The Bar | How To Make a Lemon Twist Garnish

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  1. Ulz

    Fine!!! Instead of a book for the night.

  2. Molkis

    Obviously you were mistaken...

  3. Baran

    In my opinion, you are wrong. Let's discuss.

  4. Zadornin

    None of your business!

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