The Vesper Martini - A bartender story...

Updated: Mar 29



Every year a James Bond film comes out thousands of unfortunate souls around the world come confidently into their local cocktail bar & proudly order 'One Vesper Martini & please shaken not stirred' from the bartender. They pay the required amount & as the glass makes its way towards their lips images of fast luxurious cars, models of their dreams & adventure where they are the hero comes into their minds. This cult of ego comes crashing down upon first sip as reality in the form of Gin, Vodka & Lillet slides down their throat. You're not James Bond mate & you're going to drink the rest of that Martini because you're too tight about the money. Reality...

In Reality - Sir Ian Fleming, James Bond & the Vesper Martini:

There are countless books written about the author of the James Bond books looking into the details of his life & inspirations about the character but one of the best introductions can be found in the book "Shaken" written by Edmund Weil, Bobby Hiddleston & Mia Johansson. It goes as such...


Ian Fleming liked to surroundhimself with stories, his fertilemind finding romance in the mostmundane item. Cars, clothes, food, cigarettes and travel – he wove legends around them all, but none were so memorable as those involving drink.Transferred to the page these tales of the everyday became hallmarks of the Bond novels: vodka, for example, should be sprinkled with pepper to remove impurities; bourbon should be mixed only with the clearest branch water; “Napoleon” brandy must be avoided at all costs; no serious drink should be consumed under bright sun; olives should be eschewed in favour of lemon peel; and of course, a Martini should be shaken not stirred.His American friend Ernest Cuneo recalled, “Of all the maddening trivia through which I have suffered, nothing quite matched Fleming’s instructions on how his [Martinis] were to be made...he was painfully specific about both the vermouth and the gin and explained each step to the guy who was going to mix it as if it were a delicate brain operation. Several times I asked him impatiently why the hell he didn’t go downstairs and mix it himself, but he ignored me as if he hadn’t heard and continued right on with his instructions. Equally annoyingly,he always warmly congratulated thecaptain when he tasted it as if he hadjust completed a fleet manoeuvre atflank speed.” What escaped Cuneowas that Fleming wasn’t just orderinga drink. No, he was telling a story inwhich Cuneo and the “captain” hadunwittingly become participants.


The REAL inspiration for James Bond: Understandably it makes sense to dive behind the author into the who could possibly have a life so insane that would be an. inspiration for a character of this magnitude. Enter the triple agent... Duško Popov10 July 1912 – 10 August 1981 Popov was a Serbian triple agent of VOA (code named "Duško"), MI6 (code named "Tricycle") and the Abwehr (code named "Ivan"). Fleming knew Popov and followed him in Lisbon, Portugal as an escort appointed by the MI6, witnessing an event in the Estoril Casino where Popov bluffed by placing a bet of $40,000 ($700,000 in 2018 dollars in order to cause a rival to withdraw from a baccarat table: Fleming used this episode as the basis for Casino Royale.

This in turn lead to the Vesper Martini inspired by Vesper Lynd... Vesper Lynd holds the honour of being the first-ever Bond girl, in the first-ever Bond novel, Casino Royale. Likewise, the cocktail that takes her name is the first and perhaps most famous alcoholic creation from Ian Fleming’s Bond canon. It is a twist on the Martini, but unlike the classic, the Vesper calls for both gin and vodka. The customary dry vermouth of the Martini is replaced in the Vesper with Kina Lillet, an aromatized wine infused with quinine, which was discontinued in 1986.


The Drink: 60ml London Dry Gin 20ml Russian vodka 10ml Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano for a more authentic version) GARNISH: Lemon Twist METHOD: Measure the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and top up with ice to the brim. Shake vigorously, then strain into a frosted Martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, spritzed over the glass to express the oils. Drink while very cold.


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