Vesper Cocktail Recipe

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Vesper Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Vesper cocktail was created by Ian Fleming in his 1953 novel, Casino Royale, and named after the character Vesper Lynd. It was James Bond's drink of choice, and he famously ordered it 'shaken, not stirred'. The original recipe called for Kina Lillet, which is no longer available, but can be substituted with Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano.

  • Created by Ian Fleming
  • Featured in Casino Royale
  • Named after Vesper Lynd

How Vesper Tastes?

The Vesper cocktail has a complex taste, with a balance of bitterness, sweetness, and herbal notes. It is strong, smooth, and slightly dry, with a crisp, refreshing finish.

Interesting facts about Vesper

  • James Bond's drink of choice
  • Originally called for Kina Lillet, which is no longer available
  • Can be garnished with a lemon twist or an olive


A few good options for Vesper are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

A few good options for Vesper are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


With a whopping 3 oz, gin is the backbone of the Vesper. It's what gives the cocktail its botanical punch. Consider a high-quality London dry gin; it packs a bold flavor that stands up to the vodka and aromatized wine. Skimp on the gin and you're cheating the cocktail of its suave sophistication. Use too much, and you might as well be sipping pine trees.

Mary Mitkina


The silent hero, 1 oz of vodka, lends a smooth mouthfeel and potency without overwhelming the gin. This vodka acts as the yin to gin's yang, offering balance and strength. Omit it, and you're basically just chilling your average gin martini. Try using potato vodka for a creamier texture.

Mary Mitkina

Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano

This 0.5 oz of French aromatized wine or its substitute adds a subtle layer of citrus and quinine bitterness, rounding off the strong spirits smoothly. No Lillet or Cocchi? You’ll lose a key player and the drink may tilt too much towards gin. But if you must, a dry vermouth could somewhat stand-in, although expect a different shade of complexity.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist or Olive

The garnish isn't just a pretty face. One lemon twist releases oils that dance on the nose and the rim of the glass, adding a zesty allure. Alternatively, an olive brings a briny counterpoint to the sharpness of spirits, anchoring the cocktail. No garnish? That's like going to a ball without your dancing shoes – the drink will lack aroma or that finishing savory touch.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Vesper Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add 3 oz of gin, 1 oz of vodka, and 0.5 oz of Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano
  3. Stir well to chill and dilute
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist or an olive

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail to properly mix the ingredients and chill it.
  • Use a high-quality gin for a smoother taste.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist for a refreshing citrus note.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheese Plates: A platter with mild cheeses like Brie, Camembert or goat cheese complements the botanical notes in the gin.
  • Seafood: Think smoked salmon or sushi - the clean, crisp flavors harmonize beautifully with the Vesper's profile.
  • Light Pasta Dishes: Pasta tossed in a lemon cream sauce or a simple olive oil and garlic dressing for a meal that won't overwhelm your cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Still Water: Keeps you hydrated without competing with the flavors of the cocktail.
  • Champagne: After a Vesper, cleansing the palate with something bubbly and light can be very refreshing. Consider a Brut for less sweetness.

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What you could change in Vesper

  • Gin: A good quality dry gin can be used.
  • Vodka: Any clear, unflavored vodka will work.
  • Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano: If these are not available, a dry vermouth can be used as a substitute.
  • Lemon twist or olive: An orange twist can be used for a different citrus note.

Explore all drinks starting with V here

And of course - twists🍹

Cucumber Vesper

  • Substitute 0.5 oz of the gin with cucumber-infused gin.
  • Add 2 thin slices of cucumber to the mixing glass when stirring.
  • Garnish with a cucumber ribbon instead of lemon or olive.

This version offers a refreshing twist and a spa-like serenity to the Vesper. The cucumber lends a cool, garden-fresh note that smartly dresses up the sterner gin vibes.

Spicy Vesper

  • Muddle 2 slices of jalapeño pepper in the mixing glass before adding the spirits.
  • Omit the lemon twist and double down with an additional olive.

The Spicy Vesper introduces a cheeky heat that tickles the throat and ignites the botanicals of the gin. It's the kind of twist that says, 'This is not your granddad's cocktail.' For the thrill-seeker with a penchant for a kick.

Vesper Royale

  • Replace Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano with the same amount of a good quality dry vermouth.
  • Top the strained cocktail with a splash of gold leaf-infused vodka.
  • Garnish with a spiraled lemon twist.

Add a touch of opulence to your Vesper with the Royale twist. The vermouth and gold infusion elevate the classic, promising a richer sip with an undeniably luxurious finish.

In case you forgot basics how to make Vesper

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Vesper

What type of glassware is best for a Vesper cocktail?

The Vesper cocktail is typically served in a Martini glass. It can also be served in a coupe glass.

What is the difference between shaken and stirred?

When you shake a cocktail, you aerate it, chill it and mix the ingredients together quickly. Shaking introduces tiny air bubbles into the mix, giving it a slightly cloudy appearance. Stirring, on the other hand, gently mixes the drink and keeps it clear. The choice between shaken and stirred usually depends on the drink and personal preference.

What is the alcohol content of a Vesper cocktail?

The alcohol content of a Vesper cocktail can vary depending on the brands of alcohol used; however, it is generally considered a high-alcohol cocktail due to the substantial amounts of both gin and vodka.

Can I substitute the gin or vodka with other spirits?

The distinctive character of the Vesper cocktail comes from the combination of gin and vodka. It's recommended to stick to the original recipe; however, you could experiment with different types of gin or vodka to vary the flavor.

Is a Vesper cocktail suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Yes, a Vesper cocktail is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, as it does not contain any animal products.

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