In chapter 7 of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale James Bond orders a martini…
“A dry martini," Bond said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"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."
In the next chapter, "Pink Lights and Champagne", Bond names it the Vesper. At the time of his first introduction to the beautiful Vesper Lynd.
Now, I’ll be honest, I was never a big James Bond fan. That is until I saw Daniel Craig as James Bond...hell YES, I’m a James Bond fan!
So, I didn’t need to be talked into taking The Vesper for a spin.
My drink of choice has always been a gin martini – extra dry. Extra dry to me means no vermouth at all, I replace it with spring water. Add a little squeeze of lemon and I’m good to go. I like the taste of gin and I have a large collection of gins and they all have subtle differences in flavor. To me, dry vermouth overpowers most gins and all I can taste is the vermouth.
The Kina Lillet Bond speaks of can be found today labeled as White or Blanc Lillet. It's a brand of dry vermouth made in France since the late 1800's that is often referred to as "the apèritif of Bordeaux". It’s something I discovered when I started making the 20th Century and it’s not like any other vermouth.
So, it’s no surprise that the Vesper appealed to me. It’s gin-based, it contains Lillet Blanc instead of dry vermouth, and there aren’t any olives (I don’t like olives).
I just had to try it. It's a terrific drink and the Vesper has become my go-to martini. I must be honest though, I’ve never tried Gorden’s, but I’ve made this with a lot of other gins and I’ve never been disappointed. Plymouth, Hamani, and No. 3 are some of my current favorites.
Mix It Up
Turn It Up
I have to tell you, Paul’s playlist for this drink is stellar. He played it for me and I just loved his choices.
He starts out with one of my favorite tunes of all time – Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers. This song kicks ass and from the opening lick, I’m gripped every time.
There’s a man who leads a life of danger
James Bond is part of Her Majesty’s Secret Service so Rain King by Counting Crows is next…
I belong in the service of the queen
Being a spy is all about lies, right? So, how about a little Fleetwood Mac Little Lies.
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies
Paul added Double Life by the Cars as the next tune. This isn’t one I was familiar with but it’s a perfect fit here.
It takes a fast car lady
Ok, ok…this next one might seem a little obvious. But come on…it’s an awesome tune and it was written for James Bond! Paul McCartney & Wings Live and Let Die.
What does it matter to ya
To round it all out, the very last tune on the Beatles’ Abbey Road, at just 29 seconds Her Majesty, is by far the shortest tune on all of our playlists.
Am I right? It’s a great playlist! So, make the Vesper, sit back and turn up the tunes!
Johanna & Paul