July 28th, 2006
The Vesper – Bond’s original martini
This is a vodka drink I can get behind. That’s because there’s gin in it. And because James Bond invented it. (OK, Ian Fleming invented it.) In Casino Royale, the terrific first 007 novel, Bond demonstrates that he is both a man of taste and a man who knows exactly what he wants with this drink order: “in a deep champagne goblet … Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.” He names the drink after his gorgeous, dark-haired, enigmatic colleague, Vesper Lynd, whom he discovers is a double agent after she commits suicide in despair over their doomed love. Not surprisingly, Bond never re-visits the drink in subsequent novels. But that doesn’t mean that non-fictional drinkers the world over can’t enjoy it. It’s so Bondian: cool, subtle, hard-edged. The Independent in Somerville’s Union Square is, as far as I know, the only place in greater Boston that lists the drink on its cocktail menu. Naturally, the bartenders use English dry gin (Beefeater) and Bond-approved Russian vodka (Stoli).