Named after Vesper Lynd, the only woman James Bond ever loved, Amsterdam cocktail bar Vesper has the kind of understated sophistication the martini-drinking secret agent would appreciate.
Tucked away in the Jordaan, Vesper is elegantly decorated with dark wallpaper, a sleek wooden bar and a few high tables (with those handy little hooks to hang your bag on).
The compact but carefully assembled menu lists classics like Mai Tai, Daiquiri and Mint Julep, as well as some less well-known cocktails. These include Clover Club, a cocktail created in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, made from gin, raspberry syrup and fresh lemon juice; and Pisco Sour, a popular Peruvian drink made from eau de vie, lime juice and egg white.
But it was the special cocktail on the blackboard above the bar that kept calling me: gin with pear juice and a sprig of rosemary. The cocktail wasn’t too sweet and the woody rosemary gave it an unusual, intense aroma.
My normally beer-drinking friend couldn't make up his mind and so Andrew Nicholls, award-winning bartender formerly of Door 74, asked him what he liked and mixed up a Dark and Stormy. Made from dark rum and ginger beer, it wasn’t on the menu but was the perfect antidote to a wet Friday evening.
Despite its elegant appearance, Vesper manages to feel more like someone's living room than an upmarket bar. The cocktails are prepared with skill and flair, and if that weren't enough to make you linger, then the fact that the bartenders can tailor their creations to your taste buds should.
Tue-Thur 17.00-01.00, Fri until 03.00; Sat 16.00-03.00
Telephone: 06 2294 4163
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