007 moment – Vesper Thoughts

The Vesper was first described in Ian Flemings 1953 “Casino Royale” as:  “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.”

Why do people mess with the recipe?  I was in a very respected restaurant the other day and I noticed the Vesper in the drink menu and that they were using my preferred gin.  I thought I’d give it a try but first I asked the barkeep for their recipe (I’d been through this before).

Not surprisingly the barkeep said they mixed equal portions of Gin and Vodka.  Why?  The original creation of a Vesper is clear as is the IBA Official Cocktail description – 3:1 Gin to Vodka proportions.  Reversing the proportions, which I’ve seen, or equalizing the proportions changes the tasted significantly.

I asked that my Vesper be constructed with the correct proportions and, of course, the barkeep was quite happy to oblige.  It was excellent.

All I can figure is that Bars change the proportions to appeal to the masses of Vodka drinkers.   Such a shame.


The Martini, Part Two

For the sake of comparison, consider the Gimlet. It is a classic cocktail by all accounts with a well deserved following. While it is made of gin, it is not a Martini. Nor is the Tom Collins; despite its long and popular history.

Trendy variations abound: Appletini, Chocotini, Margaritini, Dirty Martini, etc. IMHO all of these are Kool-aid; sweet or flavored drinks with a touch of gin or vodka to appease the masses. These fruity flowery light weight bastardizations of the noble Martini will not be discussed, or tolerated, herein.

The only variations that will be discussed here will be the Vesper solely because of its history, source, and notoriety. And really, don’t we all have just a bit of 007 in us?