James Bond’s First Drink, “The Vesper Martini”

Picture 7

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.

– Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

These were the words of James Bond/007/the most infamous secret service agent from the novel, Casino Royale.

It is known that James Bond’s signature cocktail is a martini—shaken, not stirred—however, the first drink that Mr. 007 actually orders is ‘The Vesper,’ named after the novel’s lead female character, Vesper Lynd. Unlike his usual cocktail of choice, the martini, ‘The Vesper‘ uses both gin and vodka…Kina Lillet instead of the usual dry vermouth…and a lemon peel instead of an olive.

In the video below, famed bartender and Liquor.com advisory board member Simon Ford shows you how to make the classic combo of gin, vodka and the French aperitif Lillet.


3 oz london dry gin

1 oz 100-proof stolichnaya vodka

0.5 oz lillet blanc
0.125 t (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters

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