Quick Recipes and Easy

How To Mix A Martini Like James Bond

James Bond is well known for his fondness for vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred. But in Casino Royale, the most recent 007 film, he orders something different, a fact that has proved unpopular with a small number of Bond fans.

But, the drink that he later names the Vesper, after the heroine of the film, comes straight from the pages of the first James Bond book, also Casino Royale, written by Ian Fleming in 1953. The recipe is as follows:

3 measures of Gordon’s gin
1 measure of vodka
½ measure of Kina Lillet

Shake until ice cold and serve in a deep champagne goblet with a large thin slice of lemon peel.
There are two things unusual about this martini variant. The first is the mixing of vodka and gin. The second is the inclusion of Kina Lillet instead of vermouth.

Kina Lillet

Kina Lillet was made at the end of the 19th century in France, a mixture of wine, quinine and fruit liqueurs, a type of drink known as a quinquina.

Kina Lillet was launched in 1895 and rapidly became well loved, known as “the aperitif of Bordeaux”. It has undergone two main changes since its introduction, the first of which was the dropping of “Kina” from its name and now “Lillet Blanc”.

The second, more vital change was that in 1986 the recipe was changed and the quinine content decreased to reduce bitterness. The result is a fruitier drink with a pronounced orange flavour.

Did Ian Fleming get it incorrect?

Kingsley Amis believed that as Kina Lillet contained quinine, it was too bitter to include in a martini and that Fleming really meant “Lillet vermouth”, a different formulation for the English market.

Unfortunately it is impossible to test Amis’ theory today as the recipe was changed, as previously mentioned, but at least one bartender has suggested adding quinine powder to the drink as the bitterness balances the flavours of the gin and vodka better.

The inclusion of the recipe in the film has seen sales of Lillet Blanc increase dramatically to the extent that the small French manufacturer has difficulty keeping up with demand.

David Leigh has been a fan of James Bond since he was eight. Although he ought to know better by now, his lifetime obsession continues fueled by involvement in websites such as tjbd.co.uk The James Bond Dossier and, of course, the new films. He recommends you to a small ebook called how2articles.net/the-james-bond-cocktail-bar/index.php The James Bond Cocktail Bar.

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