Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Gin Cocktails


vesper cocktail with a lemon twist, served on a silver tray
Image: / Tim Nusog

The Vesper, also known as the Vesper Martini, was invented by author Ian Fleming for his iconic British secret agent, James Bond. The drink first appeared in Fleming's Casino Royale, which was published in 1953, the cocktail being named for the fictional double agent (and Bond love-interest) Vesper Lynd.

When Bond orders his signature drink from the bartender, he provides strict instructions, which leaves little ambiguity in how to prepare the cocktail: “A dry martini. One. 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.”

While a general bartending rule of thumb is to always stir a spirit-only cocktail like a Martini, there's an argument to be made in support of (the now-iconic) shaking of a Vesper. Given that the drink contains four ounces of liquor, along with an extra half-ounce of Lillet, the drink is functionally a double. In order to make a palatable drink, the added water dilution from shaking can be preferable to that achieved by stirring.

It may also serve a broader literary purpose of portraying Bond as a hard-drinking secret agent who chose to take his drinks exceedingly strong and shaken until they were so cold that the alcohol couldn't be felt as it went down.

Bond claims that, when he’s concentrating, he never has more than one drink before dinner. But he likes that one drink to be very large. It’s easy to appreciate such a loophole. But if you want a less boozy drink, you can dial back the volume while keeping the proportions intact.


Watch Now: How to Make a Vesper


  • 3 ounces gin

  • 1 ounce vodka

  • 1/2 ounce Lillet blanc aperitif

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  2. Shake vigorously for 20–30 seconds, until ice cold.

  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  4. Express the oils from a lemon twist over the drink, rub the twist along the rim of the glass and drop it into the cocktail.