Having recently delighted in Skyfall with son James, and with a fresh bottle of Lillet on hand, and having never tried this preposterous sounding cocktail with the beguiling name, well, I had to give the Vesper a go. Checking my resources I noticed that one, the very elegant and excellent ratio-oriented book, See Mix Drink, includes a twist of orange rather than the customary lemon twist. I contacted the author, Brian D. Murphy, who explained his rationale via email:
"Alessandro, the bartender at the Dukes Hotel in London (where the cocktail originated), replaces the lemon with an orange peel. When I visited there and asked why, he said it pairs much better with the hint of orange in the Lillet Blanc—so well, in fact, that he believes the lemon peel in the original was a mistake. After tasting his version, I was hooked."
As am I. The Lillet, a French aperitif, really makes this drink distinctive and the orange is a perfect finish. It's a strong drink, which many on Twitter yesterday suggest I needed after a heated rant, but I wasn't ready to go the full James Bond 3 : 1 gin to vodka ounce-wise (if only because the drink would be warm by the time I finished half a cup of booze). So to simplify, I follow Murphy's version exactly, 2 : 1 : ½. If you want the exact version, happily reprinted on the cocktail's wiki page, I recommend 30 grams gin, 10 grams vodka, five grams Lillet. And, after a good rant, perhaps a second.
Important: this is a Bond cocktail and so must be shaken, something I deplore because I hate ice chips in my martini. But Bond gets what he's after, so I recommend a vigorous shaking, with a double strain to avoid those diluting ice fragments.
Happy Friday to all!
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce vodka
- ½ ounce Lillet Blanc
- orange twist
Combine fluids, shake like mad, strain through strainer to catch ice chips. Garnish with orange twist.
If you liked this post, you might be interested in these links:
- A few other other gin cocktails: Traverse City Zinger, The Southside, and Negroni.
- Two of Emilia's favorite gins are from Few Spirits and Death's Door Spirits.
- TasteSpotting shares various other cocktails made with Lillet.
- An interesting post about the history and marketing of Lillet.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.