icon Vesper Martini

The Vesper Martini is a James Bond drink, but less known than the classic vodka martini. It is nevertheless smooth and debonair, just like Sean Connery. However, things have changed in the world of booze since 1953 when the book Casino Royale was written. Fifty-percent Gordon's Gin and Kina Lillet do not exist today. Kina Lillet was reformulated in the 1980s to remove most of the "Kina" part, the shade of bitterness provided by quinine. Therefore, a dash or two of bitters are required.

"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


  • 3 measures 50-% Tanqueray gin
  • 1 measure 50-% Stolichnaya vodka
  • 1/2 measure Lillet Blanc
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters

Shake well with ice and pour into a martini glass. Add a thin slice of lemon peel.


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Last updated: October 12, 2010
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.