Is the Vesper Martini one of the world’s most hated drinks? I’d say ‘polarising’ more than ‘hated’, but that’s pretty much the same thing in this context.There’s so much tied up in it.The Bond chat. The use of gin and vodka. The shaking. It’s a lightning rod for thinkers and drinkers.
Like a lot of things that are popular, the Vesper has become a victim of its own success and is often made poorly. But when made well, this drink is pretty bloody delicious.
Zesty on the nose, it crackles with aroma from the shake. It’s colder than you can stir most drinks. The trapped bubbles in the liquid from a good shake lends a breathy and delicate palate and for this reason, this drink is best enjoyed swiftly from first to last sip.
Good gin makes good drinks, so choose a good gin. Vodka lends boozy ballast, lightening the flavour profile but not the alcohol.
Quinquina-style aromatised wine is barky and bitter and the presence of sugar lends weight.
The Vesper Martini is probably a drink that can expose lots of bad practice or at least, attention to detail. Stick to the traditional proportions (60ml gin, 20ml vodka, 10ml quinquina-style aromatised wine), shake it well on a large lump of ice that will take the requisite amount of time to cool down, and pour quickly into the frostiest martini-type glass you can find.
Finish with a snap from a lemon twist and drink/serve ASAP.
Keep an open mind, drink the fucken thing and leave yourself open to the opportunity to enjoy it. Cold, energetic, textural and pure nostalgia.
Matt Sterling is a bartender and co-owner of Caretaker's Cottage. Go and say hi. 139-141 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne. www.caretakerscottage.bar