Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | January 10, 2010

Lauds Martini

On Friday night I had a couple friends over to my apartment for cocktails. One asked for a cocktail with vodka. Now I, like many other cocktail bloggers, don’t think much of vodka as an ingredient in cocktails. It’s not that I have anything against vodka. I regularly drink Vodka & Soda, Vodka & Red Bull, and probably my favorite vodka cocktail, the Bloody Mary. But a spirit that is so neutral as to not impart taste? There’s not a lot to do with it. I like flavor and I like combining flavors in new ways. Vodka doesn’t really lend itself to this, hence my disdain for it as an ingredient in craft cocktails.

That’s all well and good, but a guest had asked for a vodka cocktail and I felt an obligation to meet his request. One thing that came to mind was a Vesper Martini. The Vesper Martini is original to James Bond and is ordered in Casino Royale. Bond orders it with gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet, which means the rest of us now drink it with Lillet Blanc. But it’s heavily gin based and the vodka, while not incidental, is not the center of the drink.

Instead, I inverted the vodka and gin ratios and added orange bitters to replace some of the lost flavor that comes by reducing the amount of gin.

Lauds Martini

2 oz vodka
0.5 oz gin
0.5 oz Lillet Blanc
2 dashes orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

While the Vesper Martini is named after Bond’s romantic interest in Casino Royale, vesper is also the Latin word for the evening’s major hour prayer. Since I inverted the vodka and gin, I thought lauds, the name for the morning’s major hour prayer, would work nicely.



  1. If you’re disinclined to order quinine powder from South America (the stuff’s a bit expensive) you could let some tonic go flat and jury-rig the Kina Lillet.

    I’m trying to track down a local source of quinine for a few other recipes I have in mind… one might wind up the Vesper’s simpler, yet more elegant cousin 😉

    • Good point. There’s a store in Seattle called Tenzing Momo. They sell quinine powder and it’s not too expensive. I haven’t tried adding it to the Lillet Blanc yet, though.

      More importantly, Cocchi Americano is supposed to be available in the US this spring (after a couple delays last year). Cocchi Americano is believed to be a close replacement for Kina Lillet and probably the best substitute commercially available.

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