The Vesper

Have you thumbed through Gwyneth Paltrow’s first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness? The book is a sweet tribute to her dad and to good food. Throughout the book, she tells endearing stories of her father and her children while sharing some of her favorite recipes. I especially liked what she said in the introduction:

Okay, I wrote a cookbook.

Why? You may ask. in the last ten years or so, cooking has become my main ancillary passion in life. I have always loved food, being around it, preparing it, and of course eating it. This adoration was instilled in me by my incredible father, a supreme gourmand with a deep love for great food and wine.


The Vesper

So when I saw her new book on the shelf, I was intrigued. Especially when I read the title: It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great.

It’s all good. I agree! But then I opened the cover to read a little more. The book’s title is curious when its mantra is: no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, no smiling

Yes, I added that last one. It’s a good one to know, should you ever need to make a grumpy child laugh. Try it some time. Look them in the eye and say, “No smiling. Nope, I see that smile starting. There will be absolutely no smiling.” It works like magic.


How about a drink?

When it comes to cocktail inspiration, we seem to turn to Michael Ruhlman and his Friday Cocktail Hour posts. If you’re familiar with his books,read his blog, or follow him on Twitter, you know that he is as talented and funny as he is profuse with the f-bomb. He also gives sage advice, like this, from one of my all-time favorite posts:

What America has is a living problem. America seems to think that the answer to how to eat can be found on the news, from studies, from your doctor (who’s reading the same reports you are and following the same party line now being contradicted by that “small body of unsettling data”)…

The data that matters to me is the data I receive after I’ve finished eating something. Do I feel good after eating a roast chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes and a pile of shaved sautéed Brussels sprouts? Yes. How about after I eat a bag of Cheetos? Not so good. What does that mean? Think about it. Think….

We learned about The Vesper from this post by Ruhlman, and we made it as he suggested – with an orange peel. Technically though, the drink belongs to James Bond. So I’ll list the recipe as Bond orders it in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.

“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. Got it?”
Casino Royale


3.0 from 1 reviews
The Vesper
A quintessential James Bond cocktail, switched up with an orange peel.
  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce Lillet Blanc
  • 2 large orange twists
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc; shake it vigorously, then strain in to two martini glasses.
  2. Garnish with orange twists and serve.
Serves 2

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  1. Colo says

    I cannot believe it… A Vesper is my absolute favorite. You can no longer get Gordon’s 90 proof Gin, but Sapphire fills in nicely. And Kina Lillet is just Lillet – no more quinine, but the orange still comes through. One hint – Do Not Over Shake. Let it chill and shake very lightly. When poured it should be crystal clear – cloudy means it has been shaken too much and air has entered your drink. Some may call that alcohol abuse. ?

      • Colo says

        I should add that Kina Lillet is also the preferred drink of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, but it should not surprise anyone that he likes the Lillet Rouge not Lillet Blanc as featured in the Vesper.

        Lillet Blanc is a wonderful apéritif and can be a cocktail by itself on those warm summer nights on the deck. I am not a fan of the Lillet Rouge. Of course I would rather be James Bond than Hannibal Lecter.

  2. says

    Cannot make a Vesper with Lillet Blanc, but as James notes, Cocchi Americana is a close approximation of the Kina Lillet ordered by Mr. Bond.
    Also, Bond designates three measures of Gordon’s, which in 1953 was 47% (95 proof). The vodka should be of similarly high “voltage”–I have been using Smirnoff’s Blue–and no matter the brand should be grain based (which most are!) He also designated a LARGE slice of lemon peel, not orange. Shake till ICE COLD and serve in a large champagne goblet, NOT a large cocktail glass. With the water taken from the ice, the drink will be about 6 ounces or a bit more, depending upon the termperature of the gin and the vodka. I always keep mine refrigerated.

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