Orange Vesper Martini Recipe

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!

2 orange vesper martinis on a silver tray with ice.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About the Vesper Martini

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.  😀

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.

Martinis, bitters, blood orange and ice on a silver tray with shaker.

📋 Ingredients You’ll Need

  • gin – You don’t need “top shelf” gin, but a good mixing gin is a good choice.
  • vodka – Again, use a good mixing vodka.
  • Lillet Blanc – Lillet Blanc is traditional, but if you like bitter flavors, try Cocchi Americano. Both are aromatic aperitifs – Lillet is French and Cocchi is Italian – but Cocchi has a distinct bitter taste.
  • fresh squeezed orange juice – Obviously, I love blood oranges. However, they have a limited season. Use what’s fresh and lovely!
  • orange bitters – Optional, but if you love bitter flavors like I do, you’ll want to try them!

❓ FAQ

Is there a specific brand of gin I recommend for mixed drinks?

I do love small batch, craft gins, but their characteristics get lost in a drink like this one. A London Dry Gin is a good choice. Try Beefeater’s or Broker’s.

🍸 More Martini Variations

Ginger Hibiscus Martini ♥ “A strong hibiscus tea and fresh squeezed lemon juice with muddled fresh ginger, gin, and dry vermouth.” ♥ Beyond Mere Sustenance

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

Lemon Drop Dazzler ♥ “This sweet and tart Lemon Drop Dazzler is made with vodka, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water. Light and refreshing like a with all the bright lemon flavor you love!” ♥ Take Two Tapas

2 close up orange vesper martinis topped with blood orange slices.

Orange Vesper Martini Recipe Feature Image

Orange Vesper Martini Recipe

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.
5 from 4 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cocktails
Calories 195 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4.5 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 1.5 ounces Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano - see post
  • 1 small orange - juiced 1.5 ounces
  • orange bitters - to finish

Instructions

  • Add ice to a cocktail shaker to about half full. 
  • Add gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano, and orange juice to the shaker. Shake vigorously.
  • Strain into martini or coupe glasses. Garnish with a slice or a twist of orange. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 195kcal

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🍸More Gin Cocktails

Gin and Lillet Rosé Cocktail in a stemless martini glass with raspberry and bay leaf garnish.

Gin and Lillet Rosé Cocktail

Ginger Hibiscus Martini - Square image with 2 ginger hibiscus martinis

Ginger Hibiscus Martini or Mocktail

Savory Gin Cocktail with Cynar and Beet Juice Feature Image

Savory Gin and Beet Juice Cocktail with Cynar

A single prickly pear cocktail in a stemmed martini glass with very long orange twist.

Fresh Prickly Pear Martini

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9 Comments

    1. Yay! I’m so excited you made my Orange Vesper Martini (and loved it)! I find I eat (and drink) with my eyes, so “pretty” makes it all that much more appealing!

  1. Just made this with the juice of one Meyer lemon instead of the (blood) orange juice, and it was possibly even better than the original. Along with the lemon-basil-cucumber martini, this is one of my favorite martini variations.

  2. I adore a Vesper Martini – like you I usually prefer my cocktails dry. Love the addition of orange here, it sounds and looks amazing! May have to try it this weekend