Rock & Rye

A Drink On The Rocks…..


June 2011

Vintage Cocktails #64: The Vesper

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui, monsieur.”
“Just a moment. 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?”
“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.
Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.” —Ian Fleming, (1953)

The Vesper Martini appears in the first James Bond novel, Casino Royal, and despite the fact that it is an excellent drink, never appears in another Bond novel. You will have a hard time making a true to the original Vesper, as many of the products have been changed since 1953. For example, the gin specified is Gordon’s, which in the 1980’s was reduced in proof from the traditional 94 to 80. In addition, Kina Lillet, the bitter fortified wine called for has been reformulated to contain less quinine, and therefore is missing the bitter kick that it once had.

If you are wanting to make this drink, there are several suggestions of which to take note of. Firstly, a traditional London Dry Gin of high proof such as Tanqueray is recommended. The vodka should be 100 proof as well, and of russian origin. Stolichnaya makes a 100 proof that works well. As for the Kina Lillet, one option is to add some quinine powder to the drink. The other option is to use Cocchi Americano, another fortified wine that is reportedly similar in taste to the original Kina Lillet.

One other recommendation I would take, is to half the recipe, or split it between two friends. 4 oz of 100 proof spirit is a lot for anyone to ingest at one time, and as Harry Craddock said in the Savoy Cocktail Book, a cocktail should be consumed “quickly…while it’s laughing at you”. A smaller cocktail ensures that the drink stays cold while you drink it, and perhaps is better for propriety’s sake anyways. Cheers!

The Vesper
3 oz Gin
1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc


Fundraiser for Yezelalem Minch

On Saturday, July 16, I am going to be bartending for a fundraiser benefiting Yezelalem Minch, an Ethiopian non-governmental organization (NGO) which supports orphans and widows in and around Addis Ababa. This is a great opportunity to be able to help those less fortunate than us, and best of all, tickets are only $20, 19 of which is going directly to support Yezelalem Minch. If you would like to purchase a ticket, let me know and I will get you the info you need. To learn more about Yezelalem Minch and the work that they do, you can click here. Cheers!

MxMo LVIII: Niche Spirits

Well, it’s that time of the month again where we dust off our thinking caps and share a cocktail fitting to the monthly challenge that is Mixology Monday. This month’s party is hosted by Filip at Adventures in Cocktails, and his assignment is to showcase:

…Any cocktail where the base ingredient is not bourbon, gin, rum, rye, tequila, vodka etc would qualify. So whether you choose Mezcal or Armagnac get creative and showcase your favorite niche spirit.

So with that in mind, I decided to go for a cocktail based on Pimm’s #1.
Pimm’s #1 is a gin based drink containing quinine and a secret mixture of herbs. It was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm, and by 1859, it was being sold commercially in London. Eventually there was a whole line of Pimm’s, each being differentiated by their base spirit: gin, scotch whisky, brandy, rum, rye whiskey, and vodka. During the 1970’s Pimm’s #2 to #5 were fazed out due to poor demand, leaving only the gin based Pimm’s #1 and the vodka based Pimm’s #6 available commercially.

I chose to pair the Pimm’s with ginger and mint, as those two ingredients go well together and compliment the citrus flavors found in the Pimms’s. Some bitters and citrus juice to round it out, and there you have it. A great summertime refresher with layers upon layers of complexity. I was actually surprised at how well this drink turned out. Try it and let me know what you think. Cheers!

Evening in July
3 oz Pimms #1
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
12 Mint Leaves
1 tsp Ginger (microplaned)
4 dashes Orange Bitters
Soda Water

Sideblog: drinkin whisk(e)y

John Hansell, one of the leading authorities on whisk(e)y in the United States, and publisher/editor of Malt Advocate magazine on drinking whisk(e)y

Beer of the Week: Flyers Afterburner IPA

Flyers Brewery is a great little brewpub located in Oak Harbor, WA. They feature six year round beers as well as a good food menu. As I had sampled a good variety of their brews, I thought I would give the Afterburner IPA a go.

This IPA pours a hazy orange golden with a big white head, which falls slowly leaving some nice lacing. The aromas are sweet caramel malts, with heavy dose of citrusy hops in the background. The flavors are earthy, acidic and citrusy, with some light bready malts in the background. Although it has some huge hop flavors, fans of most west coast IPA’s would probably find it a little lacking in that department. The finish is dry and bitter with a hint of earthiness. Overall, pretty well balanced and brewed to appeal to a broad audience. Give it a try if you get a chance. Cheers!


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