Lillet: What Is It and What Should I Do with It?
Answer: Lillet is an aperitif from Bordeaux, France, the homeland of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and back in my starving postgrad days it was what my roommate and I would get if we had saved enough nickels and wanted to drink something grown-up that didn’t come out of a tap down at The Druid.
Lillet is wine-based (Semillon for the white and pink iterations; Merlot for the red) and blended and co-aged with a modest amount (I think about 15%) of fruity and herbaceous liqueurs (predominantly citrus-peel flavors, but it also contains some cinchona bark which gives it a subtle bitter edge and gives you a little dose of quinine). It is commonly served chilled, over ice, with an orange wedge.
Lillet Blanc is a slightly viscous, honey-nosed drink with a lot of orange and lemon notes, as well as herbs (mint and pine come up) and white flowers (jasmine-gardenia type tropical ones). The finish is very long and bittersweet and reminiscent of rosemary. Lillet Rouge is amber to garnet in tone and sweeter than its white counterpart, with dominant notes of raspberry and cherry rather than orange and more ginger and nutmeg on the herb side than the fresh mint and rosemary bouquet of its white counterpart. It shares the lengthy, slightly bitter-edged finish.
Lillet is delightful on its own (like I said, the classique treatment is rocks and an orange slice) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a friend to cocktail-ologists. Here are five fun things to do with this tasty tonic
3 parts Lillet Blanc/Rose
3 parts tonic Water
Garnish: cucumber slices, strawberry, mint sprig
Directions: Build over 3 large ice cubes in a tall wine glass and garnish with cucumber, mint and strawberry.
Created by Little Miss Party
4 fl. oz. Lillet Blanc
2 drops orange bitters
2 fl. oz. orange flavored sparkling water
1 orange peel and mint leaves to garnish
2 oz. ice
Directions: Add ice to glass, measure out Lillet and pour into glass. Gently drop orange bitters into glass. Top with orange flavored sparkling water. Garnish with orange peel and mint leaves as desired.
Created by Little Miss Party (serves up to 12)
8 fl. oz. Lillet Rose
1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 tbsp. Agave
12 medium strawberries
8 oz. ice
Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or ceramic dish and place in freezer for 6 hours or until firm. Scoop out shavings of frozen mixture and serve in a glass.? Garnish with fresh strawberries as desired.
2 parts Lillet Rosé
1 parts Olmeca Altos Blanco
.25 parts agave syrup
1 part lime juice
1 part pink grapefruit juice
Directions: Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice, shake and strain over ice in highball glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and pinch of Kosher salt.
2 parts Lillet Rosé
1 part Gin (Plymouth was used here)
.25 parts lime juice
2 parts grapefruit soda
Directions: Pour over ice into Collins glass garnish with grapefruit wedge.