A blend of gin, vodka, aromatised wine and quinquina.
The quinine released by the cinchona bark makes this martini remarkably dry. The Lillet is distinctive but does not mask the gin. Drink this, and you too are James Bond, even if only for a moment.
Stir over ice and then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of lemon. Make ‘shaken not stirred’ comment, but don’t actually ever shake it.
History of the Myatt's Fields Vesper Martini
As has been retold a zillion times, the Vesper Martini is the cocktail ordered by James Bond in the first book. As has also been recounted many times, one of the key ingredients, Kina Lillet, was pulled from sale many years ago, rendering the Vesper Martini that James drank that day a lost treasure. At Myatt’s Fields Cocktails, we believe we have solved that puzzle.
James’ recipe is fierce:
“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?"
The barman seemed pleased with the idea. “Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter. Bond laughed. “When I’m 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 think of a good name.”
Finally, as any fule kno, shaking a martini simply makes no sense at all. We want our martini to be crystal clear and as freezing as the North Pole on a cold day. They must be crisper than crisp, brighter than bright, and must have absolutely no chips of ice, no air bubbles, and certainly no bloody froth. That’s why we always stir a martini, because stirring is gentler than shaking, but gets drink at least as cold. That goes for any drink composed entirely of spirits, and indeed, any cocktail available on this website that doesn’t have espresso in it.
Lastly, in the movie Casino Royale, when Vesper asks James if he named the drink after her “because of the bitter aftertaste”, he replies that he named it for her, “because once you have tasted it, you won’t drink anything else.” Pretty cool, and our aspiration for our Vesper.
Really finally, rumour has it that the character Vesper Lind was so named with the idea that if you say it in a Cold War German accent, it sounds like 'West Berlin' - try it.
This is the driest of dry martinis. Let us know what you think.
*Thank you, Anistatia Miller, for this in your book Shaken not Stirred – get yourself a copy