A little known fact about me is that I love Casino Royal. It ranks as my third favorite movie (yes, I have a list), right behind Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice. Not to mention, I have just a little crush on Daniel Craig. James Bond may be a man, but I can't help but feel the adrenaline rush after watching him beat down all the bad guys (and in a suit, nonetheless).
The Vesper martini is the cocktail invented by James Bond in the original Casino Royale from 1953. It's not just a regular vodka martini, like you might think JB would ask for.
When I was at BevMo the other day, I decided to grab something special for Robert (since, you know, he is a mixology nerd). I remember him mentioning Lillet, and though I had no idea what it was at the time, I thought I'd pick him up a bottle. Of course, when he came home and saw the bottle sitting on the table for him, he had a history lesson ready to go.
Lillet is a type of French sweet wine, made from Bordeaux blends and liquors. The original recipe for the liquor was more bitter, but it's much sweeter now and can actually be sipped chilled, on its own. In the US and UK, however, it's most commonly used in martinis, including the Vesper, made famous by James Bond.
Three parts (ounces) gin
One part (once) vodka
Half part (ounce) Lillet Blanc
Of course, you have to shake it with ice (don't stir) and it's typically served in a martini glass, not a champagne glass like James Bond originally asked for. And though he asked for Gordon's in the original recipe, Tanqueray (what I used) is a perfect substitute. You'll want to stay away from something like Bombay Sapphire, which is much more floral and herbal tasting (and tastes like a forest, so I've been told, though it is my favorite gin...).
I typically drink a glass of wine with dinner every night, and rarely do I venture far into the land of cocktails (at least since college), but this definitely is one of those drinks that makes me feel like a badass. Even if finishing one would land me on my face for the rest of the night...
Would you ever try a Vesper martini? Have you?