Lillet Blanc is a French apéritif from Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux. It is a proprietary blend of 85% Semillon wine grapes and 15% macerated citrus liqueurs that include the peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and those of bitter green oranges from Haiti.
This mix is stirred until well blended, then the Lillet is aged in oak for several months, allowing the aromas to mellow and its characteristic taste to mature.
During the aging process, Lillet is undergoes the same fining, racking, and filtering processes as a traditional Bordeaux wine.
Lillet has a golden color with a floral nose. It is full and fleshy on the palate, delivering on its aromatic promise with flavors of candied oranges, honey, and a subtle undercurrent of exotic fruit. It has a very pleasant, lingering, but not overbearing finish.
Popularized by James Bond in Casino Royale as a smoother alternative in martinis to vermouth, Lillet Blanc offers a less bitter experience with brighter, citrusy tones. It is also very pleasing on its own.
Try it over ice with a slice of orange during brunch outside on a sunny Sunday morning.
Use equal parts of your favorite gin, Lillet Blanc, and Aperol to create the “Election Night Negroni”. By substituting Lillet for sweet/red vermouth and the Aperol for Campari, this cocktail is much smoother and again, less bitter, than a traditional Negroni with a delightful orange-forward flavor. Bet you can’t drink just one (and you’ll probably want several that night.)
Lillet Blanc, as well as Lillet Rouge, can be found in discriminating local liquor stores like Wyatt’s, which offer you a wide selection of apéritifs, digestifs, and bitters from here and abroad. The holiday season is the perfect time to explore these diverse drinks.