Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Vesper

"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." - James Bond, from Casino Royale, 1953 by Ian Fleming.

The Dry Martini has become closely associated as the signature drink of James Bond since it's first appearance in the spy novels. In 'Casino Royale,' Bond describes it as his own creation, saying he will name it once he thinks of a good name, which, of course, ended up being that of his romantic interest, "Vesper Lynd."

The Recipe:

While chilling a martini glass with ice

- "Dirty" some ice with dry vermouth, (fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour some vermouth into it. Shake the vermouth and ice and pour out the vermouth.)

- Add a 6 count of Bombay Sapphire Gin
- Add a 2 count of Ketel One Vodka

- Shake well. ("Shaken, not stirred.")

- Strain into the now chilled martini glass.

- Garnish with a thin twist of lemon peel, (NEVER olives!)

That napkin was obviously Photoshopped in to make us look more sophisticated...

Bartender's notes: The original recipe was invented by Ian Fleming and the bartender of Dukes hotel in London. It called for 3oz Gordan's Gin 1oz of Vodka and .5oz Lillet Kina.

When Ian Fleming was writing his James Bond stories, the best available gin was Gordon's. The use of Gordon's in the recipe instead of Beefeater's must have sent a shock wave through the martini drinking world. Beefeater's at those times was the recommended gin for martini's as it was considered the driest gin available. Just as Ian Fleming had the audacity to upgrade the gin in his recipe, we also boldly follow in his footsteps by disregarding tradition and substituting Bombay Sapphire the best available juniper gin of our time.

Lillet Kina is no longer made and has been replaced by Lillet Blanc (with a completely different flavor.) Rather then using Lillet Blanc, (which of course would not have ever been used to make a vesper,) and taking into consideration the martini-drinking world's rather recent preference for using less and less vermouth, we have chosen to merely "dirty" our ice.
Our Vesper is clean, strong, sharp, and without fuss, Just like Mr. Bond himself. I have seen recipes that add garlic infused olive oil, (I find this somewhat disturbing,) a pinch of Cinchona bark, or even worse, "float two or three rose petals on top!"
I cannot visualize James Bond ordering such things... unless there has been a Casino Royale made without my knowledge starring Quentin Crisp as Mr. Bond.

Chris's notes: Considering this is essentially straight booze, (gin and vodka,) this is a very smooth drink. And not just smooth, "007 Smooth."

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