A few months ago, I got the chance to go to London for the first time. It was a work trip, so not all fun and games, but I definitely took to the town looking for classic food and drinks when the work day was over. Of all things London, the immediate things that came to mind were a Pimm's cup after an equestrian competition or a Vesper while saving the world. Well, I really couldn't do either but hey - I still ordered a Vesper :)
In the beautiful setting of the Waldorf Astoria in London's Aldwych district, near landmark theaters and mere blocks from Trafalgar square, I sat down to my first ever Vesper martini in a setting that would have made James proud. A classy drink with an indelible smoothness, but one that really packs a punch. The lillet blanc is a canvas for the gin's botanicals while the vodka adds a sturdy structure you won't find in a classic gin martini. All in all, its a beautifully perfumed cocktail with an elegant flavor and quite the potency.
First things first: ingredients at the ready. You need to have your gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc out with a jigger or measuring device, a lemon to get the peel from, and a sturdy shaker for mixing the cocktail. We use mason jars to shake martinis cause, well, Christina likes mason jars. While James always asks for his Vesper "shaken, not stirred" I have to disagree - I think that shaking it bruises some of the elegant floral notes and waters down the cocktail in a way I find to be misrepresentative of its flavors. So for this - we stir.
Start by adding your gin, Lillet, and vodka into your shaker. Pour in all the ingredients before you add the ice. (yes, I cheated and added the ice first cause we were photographing outside. Be better than me - ice goes in at the end!)
Using a bar spoon, stir the cocktail together until the outside of the shaker is ice cold, about 15-20 stirs in each direction. Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini and garnish with a fresh lemon twist. Just like James' revenge, this dish is best served ice cold (sorry, had to ;) )