A couple of weeks ago, during what a detractor refers to as my “luxury tour of the Bay Area,” (I wasn’t aware until quite recently that I had a detractor and that my detractor was also a stalker; still, 36 hours hardly constitutes a tour), I had occasion finally to sample the famous Vesper cocktail (link) at The Big Four bar of San Francisco’s Scarlet Huntington Hotel. The history and pertinent details of this famous drink, which was introduced to the world by Ian Fleming in the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), can be gleaned from the Wikipedia link above.
The important thing to know, though, is what an excellent cocktail it is. It is subtle, powerful and complexly flavorful – a spirit-based drink with the light, almost musical, notes of an aperitif. It doesn’t fight with dinner, conversation, or the rest of a long evening.
At the Huntington, the drink is made using the recently revived Nolet brand of Dutch gin, which is really delicious, and is served in a small cordial glass, as opposed to the champagne coupe Ian Fleming prescribed or a larger fan-shaped martini glass. It’s a very nice touch and the right serving size. A small Bordeaux-style red wine glass (the kind they used to use at La Caravelle in New York for martinis) would also work well.
In any event, I tried the Vesper for the first time before a wonderful dinner with a very old friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. At that point I wasn’t aware of my detractor and I was relatively untroubled.
I am confident, however, that with a Vesper in hand I can deflect, diffuse, dissipate and escape his Detractor Beam. In any event, I won’t die trying. That would be silly.
Eddie Cochran: Nervous Breakdown (Link)