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!
👩🏻🍳 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.
📋 Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- 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!
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
Orange Vesper Martini Recipe
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- 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
- 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!
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.