Vesper Cocktail


Gin people and vodka people alike can agree on how delightful this cocktail is.

Vesper Cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

As far as we’re concerned, the world is made of vodka people and gin people. The Vesper is all about cooperation and harmony, and brings together both spirits in an incredibly simple, classic drink. Like many other classic cocktails, the Vesper’s origins lie in popular culture.You might be familiar with it as James Bond’s favorite cocktail in Casino Royale; in fact, it was invented by Ian Fleming, author of the Bond series. Unsurprisingly, the Vesper (also known as the Vesper Martini) is a spirit-forward drink, which makes using top-shelf gin and vodka especially worthwhile. 

There’s some lingering controversy over whether a Vesper should be shaken or stirred. Your cocktail mixing method ultimately impacts the level of air that is added to your drink, and will depend on the ingredients used; cocktails that call for egg whites or fruit juice, for example, usually need to be shaken. Meanwhile, drinks that mainly involve clear spirits can be stirred. When it comes to the Vesper Martini, bartenders traditionally prefer to ignore Bond’s motto of “shaken, not stirred”, so as not to dilute the drink with ice. 

While gin and vodka pack a boozy punch, Lillet Blanc –– an aperitif liqueur that contains alcohol, though significantly less than the other two ingredients in this drink –– adds much-needed balance and nuance to an otherwise stiff sip. “I love Lillet Blanc because it is very refreshing and aromatic, with a pleasant finish,” says Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert. Expressing the sweetness of lemon oil before garnishing the cocktail might seem like a step, but once you’ve had a well-made Vesper, you’ll know that it adds the perfect closing note for this drink. Cin-cin!


  • 3 ounces gin (such as Ford's)

  • 1 ounce vodka (such as Smirnoff)

  • ¼ ounce Lillet Blanc


  1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc. Stir until combined and chilled, roughly 20 seconds.

  2. Strain drink into a coupe glass.

  3. Using a knife, cut a strip of lemon peel, 1’ inch wide. Run peel over the rim of the glass to express oils before placing it on the side as a garnish.

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