Cinematic Cocktails: The Vesper

>> Saturday, April 7, 2007

James Bond isn’t just a cocktail sipper. In Casino Royale (2006), he also proves to be something of a mixologist. During the multimillion dollar poker game at the center of the story, 007 takes a break to order a drink, dictating a cocktail recipe of his creation to the casino bartender. He eventually dubs this martini variant “The Vesper,” after his curvaceous female companion. Here’s the recipe verbatim from the film:

“Three measures of Gordon’s,
One of vodka,
Half a measure of Kina Lillet,
Shake over ice,
And then add a thin slice of lemon peel.”
The Vesper made its first appearance in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel Casino Royale. The recipe was not altered in any way in translation from book to screen, despite the fact that one of the ingredients--Kina Lillet--is no longer produced. Lillet Blanc is the best substitute, but the standby is missing some of the bitterness of the original liquor. Also, keep in mind that when Fleming was writing, Gordon’s gin was 94 proof, while now it is merely 80. You might want to seek out a stronger brand (Broker’s is an excellent, inexpensive, 94 proof gin). Vodka was also stronger in Fleming’s day, generally 100 proof. Luckily, a few producers still offer vodka with a 100 proof kick. Of course, if you want to do it right, don’t forget, “shaken, not stirred.”

Casino Royale (Two-Disc Collector's Edition + BD Live) [Blu-ray]
Casino Royale (2-Disc Widescreen Edition DVD)


Mark Hazard July 15, 2007 at 8:09 AM  

In fact Kina Lillet wasn't around when Ian Fleming wrote about it in Casino Royale.

The owners gradually dropped the "Kina" from the name long ago but the recipe remained the same until 1985 when the qunine content was reduce to make it less bitter.

Unknown July 21, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

Awesome Drink.. One of my personal favourites.

Recipe below:

3 PARTS Beefeater London Dry Gin

1 PART Stolichnaya Vodka

1/2 PART Lillet Blanc

DASH Angostura bitters (to add a touch of the quinquina that was in the original Kina Lillet formula)

SHAKE All ingredients over ice

STRAIN Into a chilled champagne goblet

GARNISH With a large slice of lemon peel

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

All text including the title "Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide" Copyright William T. Garver

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