Ian Fleming’s James Bond is quite the booze connoisseur in the novels. Fleming had Bond invent a cocktail called the Vesper, after the character of Vesper Lynd. It’s a mix of gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet, which is a slightly bitter French liqueur that hasn’t been in production since the 1980s. (They make a Lillet Blanc now, but that one lacks the quinine of the original Kina Lillet and the characteristic bitterness.)
There’s a variant of the Vesper that makes use of currently available ingredients. I tried one recently, and it immediately rocketed to the top of my “Favorite Cocktails” list. It’s called a Green Vesper, and is prepared as follows:
- Three measures gin (preferably 90-proof)
- One measure vodka (also 90-proof)
- Half a measure absinthe or Pernod (whichever you can get locally–the flavor and color will be the same.)
Stir with ice in cocktail shaker, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a strip of lime peel.
Fair warning: if you hate the flavor of gin, licorice, or both, you’ll hate the Green Vesper, because it tastes a lot like washing down a piece of licorice with a swig of gin martini. I love the flavor combination, and that concoction is my current favorite cocktail, narrowly beating out the martini.