The Vesper

For the past few years the world of cocktails has been dominated by ever more innovative recipes involving herbs, savory flavors and infused liquors.  I’m no stranger to infusions and the muddler – my cucumber jalapeno margarita is pretty tasty!  At some point though, I felt like I was getting ahead of myself and really needed to learn the classics and basic mixing techniques.  It’s not that I’m giving up innovation, but there’s such a history to cocktails, their origins, the evolution of recipes – I find it fascinating to read about them and very enjoyable to try and perfect them.  The more I learn, the more I realize that the smallest details make the largest difference in the quality of a drink.  For instance, many drinks that I’ve been shaking, really ought to be stirred.  And how are you going to stir a drink until the shaker is cold on the outside when your OXO shaker is double walled?  Alas, the tools are very important as well.  At least I’ve finally found a channel knife that is sharp and precise enough to do a nice lemon spiral.

Armed with said channel knife, the drink of the evening is the Vesper.  This is in the Martini family, and hence a drink with pretty simple, yet nuanced flavors.  I would recommend this for those who find a gin martini just a little too harsh, or don’t like so much of the gin flavor.  Vodka tempers the herbaceous qualities of the gin, without taking away any of the potency.  Lillet Blanc brings a slightly sweet, orange flavor that makes this cocktail – while not a thirst quencher – just a little bit more refreshing and approachable than a straight-up Martini.  Try it and see if you don’t agree!

Vesper

2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce gin, 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc, lemon peel for garnish

After pouring the liquids into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and stir until outside of shaker is cold  (sorry, OXO – you’re on the way out).  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.  Enjoy!

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