If you’re looking for an elegant way to kickstart your night, try a Vesper Martini. It’s the drink ordered by James Bond in Casino Royale, and it’s a gamble with a great payoff: it tastes like a lighthearted martini but it’s got enough vrrroom to fuel a whole night out.
50ml gin (I used Tanqueray)
10ml Lillet Blanc
lemon twist, to garnish
Half-fill a mixing glass with ice, then add the liquids and stir* well until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the lemon twist.
*Yes, yes, Bond asks for his to be shaken, not stirred, but martini purists insist he is wrong and I am inclined to agree – a martini should be stirred. For more about this, check out Martini by Frank Moorhouse – part essay, part love letter to what is probably the world’s most famous – and famously debated over – cocktail.
This version appears in one of my very favourite cocktail books, Ten Cocktails: the art of convivial drinking by Alice Lascelles (Saltyard Books, 2015). It’s a delicious read about – you guessed it – ten cocktails; the stories behind them, the author’s personal experiences with them, the history of the spirits they contain, and all manner of interesting trivia. Recipes are also included (spoiler alert: despite the title, there are more than ten recipes). If you like thinking about what you’re drinking, this is the book for you.