James Bond's drink of choice was the vesper martini... This Orange Vesper Martini Recipe stays somewhat true to the original recipe from Casino Royale, with the addition of fresh orange juice, an orange slice or twist, and orange bitters. Bone dry with lots of complex flavor, this martini is a perfect year 'round sipper!
In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet (now called Lillet Blanc). Shake it very well until it's ice cold, then add a large slice of lemon peel.
~~ Ian Fleming, Casino Royale.
Gin is my preferred "spirit" in cocktails, and if you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know I prefer dry and/or savory cocktails to sweet cocktails. The first time I tried a vesper martini, I was hooked. 😀
About the Vesper Martini
Lillet Blanc is a French aperitif made from bordeaux grapes and macerated liqueurs. It is golden, colorless, and clear, with aromas and flavors of citrus, honey, and pine. It is only slightly sweet, and bitter, with 34 proof. James Bond's vesper martini was made with "Kina Lillet" which is no longer available. A re-formulation of lillet in 1986 removed its bitter quinine bite, and replaced it with more subtle bitter flavors.
If you're like me (and you love "bitter"), you may opt to use Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif wine fortified with cinchona bark, citrus peel, and other botanicals. It definitely has more of the bitter "bite" to it than the modern version of Lillet Blanc.
We do use both vodka and gin (as in the original recipe). My taste preference is the Cocchi Americano, but I love it with Lillet Blanc. Do you love bitter flavors? Go for the former. Not so much? Buy the latter.
Lastly, as I mentioned, both aperitifs hint of citrus. My Orange Vesper Martini plays that up with a squeeze or two of fresh orange juice. Blood oranges are still available in our local market, but any nice orange will be amazing. I garnished the martinis with a very thin slice of orange (because it's pretty and fragrant 😉 ), but we often just add a twist of orange peel.
More Martini Variations
The Public Eye ♥ "A reverse martini with a splash of Génépy des Alpes to make it stand out" ♥ Midlife Croissant
Cranberry Martini ♥ "sweet and slightly tart festive cocktail, made with a homemade cranberry shrub to give it a little bit of zing" ♥ Giraffe's Can Bake
St. Patrick's Lemon Cucumber Martini with Fresh Basil ♥ "Spring in a glass… a lemon cucumber simple syrup is muddled with gin and fresh basil" ♥ Beyond Mere Sustenance
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