A fortified wine aperitif similar to vermouths, Lillet Blanc is crafted using a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes exclusively from the Bordeaux region as well as seven different macerations including sweet oranges, bitter oranges and quinine. Each of the macerations takes three weeks and uses a neutral spirit. They are then carefully blended with the wine and aged for three to four months in French oak barrels.
Appearance: Radiant, golden yellow.
Nose: Candied orange peel, lime and pine.
Taste: Fresh, bold fruit notes with fresh honey.
Finish: Bitter quinine mellows into a smooth aftertaste.
Overall: Well rounded wine based aperitif.
Lillet has been a prominent ingredient in every generation of cocktail recipes, except perhaps the disco-drinks era, earning its spot as a ‘must-stock’ for cocktail bars world-round.
If the person you’re buying for is a fan of the Lillet Blanc, you could also try Lillet Rouge, Lillet Rose or Rinquinquin.
The original Kina Lillet was included in the now-cult Corpse Reviver No 2. Equal parts gin, kina lillet, triple sec, lemon juice and absinthe. Harry Craddock’s famous ‘hair of the dog cocktail’ spurred the quote; “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
ABOUT THE DISTILLERY
Raymond and Paul Lillet created Lillet Blanc in 1887 in Podensac, 30km south of Bordeaux and is known as the first white wine aperitif created in France. Originally know as Kina-Lillet in Europe, referring to the quinine essential ingredient in Lillet, and Lillet in the USA. In 1970 the brand uniformed the name and called it Lillet for every market.
ABOUT THE LIQUID
Lillet Blanc is made up of 85% Bordeaux Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and 15% neutral spirit macerations. After blending, Lillet Blanc is aged for three to four months in French oak before being bottled.
Vegan-friendly, Lillet is a blend of rigorously selected wines and fruit liqueurs, aged in oak vats for around 12 months, during which it is given the same care as the Grands Crus (great wines) of Bordeaux.