"The bitch is dead" -- this is how James Bond describes the demise of Vesper Lynd, the girl who broke his heart. In Casino Royale (both the novel and the movie starring Daniel Craig), Bond falls in love with Vesper before he learns she is a double agent and she commits suicide. All of this happens after he creates a cocktail in her honor. Here is my version:
3 ounces vodka (I recommend Belvedere or Zyr)
1 ounce dry gin
.5 ounces dry vermouth (I like Noilly Prat)
Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the fury of 007 exacting vengeance on his enemies, and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
Those of you who are fans of James Bond and/or the Vesper immediately will notice the big difference between my version and the original. The original calls for a 3:1 ratio of gin to vodka (click here for a YouTube clip of Bond ordering the drink). I like vodka a lot more than I like gin, so my Vesper reverses the ratio in favor of vodka. Also, I use dry vermouth instead of Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine (with a new formula it's now known as Lillet Blanc), that Bond mentions because it's easier to obtain.
Bond would respect my variation on the Vesper, as he is a bit of a cocktail maverick himself. After all, his preference that his vodka martinis be "shaken not stirred" runs contrary to the Hamlet Cocktail Conundrum.
The Vesper is a big cocktail in that it contains four ounces of high proof alcohol. Think you can handle it? Go Bond or go home.