“Shaken, not stirred,” is seared into everyone’s brain regardless of whether or not they drink martinis. Questionable technique aside, the real gift Bond gave the drinking world was the Vesper Martini found in Casino Royale.
This tall glass of deliciousness popped into my head this week because the non-profit I work for by day, Open Heart Magic, is hosting its first ever black tie gala this weekend in Chicago. It’s a spy-themed soiree complete with casino games, so there’s no more befitting drink than Bond’s own cocktail. If you happen to be in Chicago, come hobnob with the city’s finest for an amazing cause at Casino Magicale.
The Vesper Martini is ridiculously strong but drinks surprisingly easily. A dangerous combination. Both Gordons and Kina Lillet have changed significantly since ’53, so don’t get too hung up on branding. Cocchi Americano is occasionally by people, myself included, in place of the Lillet because it’s believed to be closer to the original quinine-dosed Kina Lillet than the current iteration. Others claim that today’s Lillet is a perfect approximation.
Regardless of which modifier you use, know that Gordon’s is not good. Swap that out with any other London dry gin.
“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?”
– Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, 1953