This is a stunning cocktail that highlights the strong flavors of Bombay Sapphire East. The peppercorn is nicely complimented by the subtle bitterness of the Lillet. The particular reason why I chose to make this with east is because Bombay Sapphire excels at making a drinkable martini. The Vesper is rather close to a martini, but is somewhat diluted by the addition of the vodka. The Penn 1681 vodka* is smooth, so it makes a nice compliment and maintains the drinkability of the gin-but the East has the power to stand out still even when somewhat “watered**” down.
Overall, the Vesper is a cocktail which has grown on me. I appreciate the Lillet, and the subtle flavors it adds to it. Its not the boldest gin cocktail out there- and its origins are suspect (made up by an author, not a bartender!), but I think there’s something interesting here and Bombay Sapphire East makes for an enjoyable cocktail.
* Penn 1681 is from Philadelphia Distilling, the same people that make the excellent Bluecoat Gin.
** This isn’t to say its actually watered down. One of the criticisms is that the vodka doesn’t “add” anything to the Vesper.
Read More ...
Many cocktails have disputed origins. Bartenders, authors, historians all argue over where a drink came from- what the quantities were and what they should be now. Cocktailologists get out their slide rules and star converting pony glasses into ounces.
But other cocktails have obvious origins, such as the Vesper. It was created by Ian Fleming’s James Bond character in his first novel Casino Royal. Tru to Flleming’s vision the version of the Vesper that most cocktail expert prescribe is identical to the one that Bond ordered. As we see in the table below, there truly is some sort of consensus around this cocktail.
James Bond in Casino RoyaleDavid Wondrich Via EsquireImbibe"Green Vesper" via Cocktailmaking DB
Gin3 parts (Gordon's Specifically)3 oz. London Dry3 oz. gin3 oz. Tanqueray Gin
Vodka1 part Vodka1 oz. Vodka1 oz. vodka1 oz. vodka
Lillethalf part Lillet (Kina)1/2 oz. Blonde Lilllet1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc-
GarnishThin Slice Lemon PeelThin Slice Lemon PeelLemon TwistLime Twist
Absinthe1/2 oz absinthe
*Since there is such a consensus, I searched hard for a recipe that was essentially a variation on the vesper. Enter the “Green Vesper” which doesn’t so much illustrate that there is a lack of consensus, but that some have been so influenced by Bond and Fleming’s work that they have gone out of their way to find ways of re-creating the cocktail in the absence of the rather hard to find “Lillet”
Among the cocktail crowd, the inclusion of Kina Lillet is as close to a controversy as you can get with this cocktail.
Read More ...