Sipsmith Botanical Feast – James Bond and Casino Royale (sort of!)

Vesper Lynd

A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Sipsmith London Dry Gin, one of Sipsmith Barley 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?”

“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

And so the Sipsmith Vesper was born. This mightn’t be…ahem… exactly how it went down in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale but was pretty much how events unfolded at the Sipsmith Botanical Feast in The Henry Root a couple of weeks ago. Apart from the tuxedo, high-stakes poker game and spy stuff too obviously.

Sipsmith Spirits

Still, amid a tasting of Sipsmith’s range of Gins and Vodkas, the Vesper and French 75 cocktails provided ample refreshment alongside the food menu inspired by the 10 botanicals used in Sipsmith’s London Dry Gin. The menu was bookended by a delicious, and almost meaty, Seville orange and ginger sea bream cerviche and a light and airy Santiago almond tart. My favourite course was the duck two-ways – smoked duck breast with juniper sauce, and soy and cassia bark braised duck leg salad.

The star of the show though was Prudence – Sipsmith’s copper still – and, more importantly, the fruits of her labour. And although the G&T is still my favourite way to make use of them, here are a few very simple Sipsmith inspired cocktail recipes:

 

Negroni

1 part Sipsmith London Dry Gin
1 part Carpano Antica Formula
1 part Campari
Orange twist and ice

 

Sipsmith Sloe Negroni

1 part Sipsmith London Dry Gin
1 part Sipsmith Sloe Gin
1 part Campari (the official Sipsmith recipe actually suggests about a third less Campari)
Orange twist and ice

 

French 75 (Savoy Cocktail Book Recipe, modified to include Sipsmith gin)

2 parts Sipsmith London Dry Gin
1 part Lemon Juice
1 spoonful sugar
Fill with Champagne (I think even Bond might leave the Bollinger Grande Année in the cellar for this one!)

Sipsmith VJOP London Dry Gin

Ultimate G&T (I leave the measures and choice of tonic water up to you)

Sipsmith VJOP (Very Junipery Over-Proof) London Dry Gin
Tonic Water
Lots of Ice
Lime

 

* Bond of course infamously used Gordon’s Gin and generic vodka in his Vesper, but I have it on good authority that he would’ve used Sipsmith had it been available in 1953.

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