Gin. Vodka. Lillet. Bond.
In general, I take note of food and alcohol in film and other media. Some ends up being worth it, others do not. I am here to tell you, The Vesper is worth it.
I’m kind of a Jame Bond nut. I haven’t always had the 007 fever, but when it hit me, it hit hard. I love all of the Bonds, but my favorite ended up being Daniel Craig. (Before seeing the new ones, I was certain no one would ever top George Lazenby.) Not just Craig, though I think he is phenomenal, but I think that specifically Casino Royale and Skyfall are the two best Bond films we have. The writing and the direction (not to mention sexy production values) make the new Bond so lovable. There are humanizing elements that have really come through as a way of making Bond vulnerable and more relatable than we’re used to seeing.
The first glimpse of this is in Casino Royale. For those of you who do not know, this was the first book in Ian Fleming’s series of novels. So it’s very exciting that the official series finally took on the beginning. (There were other adaptations of Casino Royale, but not in the official film series.) This is where it all began and where Mr. Ian Fleming himself first wrote in the Vesper Martini. I will say, that Bond doesn’t exclusively drink this or anything and I believe it is only used in this book. (Though film-wise it makes a reprise in Quantum of Solace. Don’t get me started on that crapfest.) But it is so quintessentially Bond that it’s heavily associated with the character. It’s very strong, very meticulous and very classy. Here is the excerpt from the book.
“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.”
Basically what you have, instead of a gin or vodka martini, is a blend of the two. The Lillet steps in for the vermouth and the lemon steps in for the olive. The recipe is pretty self-explanatory from the excerpt. Though there are lots of tips online for how to make it more true to the Bond form. Since formulas and recipes of commercially sold products change over the year, it’s difficult to nail down how something may have tasted in 1953. But I’m going to tell you, you don’t need to complicate it to enjoy it. Below is my recommendation.
- 3 oz. gin (I recommend Broker’s)
- 1 oz. vodka (I recommend Stolichnaya)
- 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
- swatch of lemon
Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet over ice. Shake until ice-fucking-cold. Pour into a champagne goblet or martini glass. Garnish with a lemon swatch on top. Wear a tux. Sip while looking over the top of the glass so you are fully aware of your surroundings at all times. Bond girl at 12 o’clock. Sniper at 2 o’clock.
Usually I like my posts to be more timely. There is no new Bond coming out until 2015. November, 2015, even. Rumor has it, Sam Mendes had some other engagements, and in order to secure him for director, they had to give him time to complete those. I’m supportive. I’d rather wait for greatness than have mediocrity quickly.
Mendes and Craig have both been confirmed for Devil May Care. (Which isn’t an Ian Fleming novel. It was written in the style of Fleming to sort of celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday a handful of years back. But it was well received. It follows the last Fleming book, Man With the Golden Gun. You remember that movie; it was the one with Saruman and Tattoo.) Being the Bond freak that I am, there is no way in fuck I was going to wait to 2015 to write about it. I promise to go above and beyond when that time comes though. Full-on theme recipes, all up in your face.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.