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The Most Famous Gin Drinks In Pop Culture, From Vesper Martini To French 75


From James Bond’s martinis to (in a different spirit) Carrie Bradshaw’s Cosmopolitans, some of pop culture’s iconic characters have had equally iconic cocktail preferences. And among them, gin-based drinks are certainly a class apart. A character’s preference for a gin cocktail is sometimes used as shorthand to suggest a penchant for elegance, refinement, intrigue and drama. In that vein, we’re revisiting some gin cocktails from popular culture that have become timeless icons in their own right. Let’s begin!

The G&T — Sherlock Holmes, Lisbeth Salander

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander have more in common than their social ineptitude and tremendous detective skills. Spoiler alert: They both enjoy a good ol’ G&T! This preference, in both instances, was a narrative device to add a layer of complexity to these characters — a taste for the finer things amid their chaotic lives. 

The Vesper Martini — Casino Royale

Ian Flemming’s evergreen spy James Bond, loves his martinis shaken, not stirred. This particular martini is named after Vesper Lynd (portrayed by Eva Green or Ursula Andress, depending on which Casino Royale adaptation you prefer), Bond’s love interest. The original recipe was a simple mix of gin, vodka and a liqueur called Kina Lillet, although dry vermouth is used in place of the latter now. A word from the wise: The original recipe makes for a potent drink, so do tone down the ingredients if you’re mixing one. Finish this with a lemon twist, and thank us later! 

Corpse Reviver No.2 — Casino Royale

Arguably, this film features a lot of gin. While Vesper Lynd has a drink named after her, ironically, she isn’t terribly fond of it. Her preferred gin cocktail is a concoction of — well — gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and just a splash of absinthe, showing that her tastebuds were as refined and complex as her personality. 

French 75 — Casablanca

This gin-based drink captures the essence of romance, passion and the ensuing drama between Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund. Named after the iconic French M1897 75mm artillery gun, this drink is made with champagne, lemon juice, simple syrup (a cocktail sweetener), and of course, gin. 

Gin Rickey — The Great Gatsby

This no-frills blend of gin, lime juice, and soda water, served over ice, reflects everything extravagant and grand — much like the Roaring ’20s. Fun fact: This drink was first created with bourbon in the 1880s. It became a Prohibition staple with gin as a substitute. There couldn’t be a better place for this drink than in the hands of literature and cinema’s most iconic party-thrower — F Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, what with his silk drapes and Persian rugs. 

Tom Collins — Mad Men

A show that every copywriter ever has watched at least a dozen times, Mad Men’s depiction of the Swinging ’60s has been credited as being remarkably true to reality. Tom Collins, a concoction of lime juice, simple syrup and soda water, without ice (which differentiates it from a Gin Rickey), is the drink to know if you love your period dramas starring Jon Hamm. 

The next time you’re watching one of these titles, do so with your character’s favourite gin drink in hand. And always remember to enjoy responsibly!


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