I received a bottle of Lillet Blanc as a gift at Christmas for the purposes of making a Vesper Martini, but had never gotten round to it. Last weekend, the bottle was finally opened, and the cocktail was made.
The recipe for a Vesper Martini first featured in Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, the 1953 Casino Royale, and it was also introduced in the 2006 film featuring Daniel Craig as 007.
‘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?’
Gordon’s gin and Smirnoff vodka were used, with the Lillet Blanc, as Kina Lillet is no longer made. Lillet Blanc is an aromatised wine using a base of 85% white Bordeaux wine infused with 15% fruit liqueurs. The Lillet gave the Martini more of fruity taste than when using Vermouth, which is more herbal. It’s not to everyone’s taste, as the alcohol content of the cocktail is still on the high side!
For those who prefer their drinks on the lighter side, I found it was delicious served in a glass with ice, and to make it lighter still, topped up with a dash of sparkling water.
Universally enjoyed within the group was the 2016 Duo des Plages rosé from The Wine Society (£6.95). Pale pink in the style of a Provence rosé, it uses the same grapes, cinsault and grenache, but is from the Pays D’Oc region. Coming in at 12%, it has a similar strawberry aroma and delicious light red berry flavours, but a bit more full-flavoured.
The second wine I tried was Marks and Spencer’s own label Prosecco, which at £10 a bottle, isn’t cheap for a supermarket wine. Floral, fruity and crisp, it tastes more complex than cheaper Prosecco I’ve had before. It also let me use my Taittinger ice bucket for the first time, an eBay bargain!