A blue plastic cup filled with a Lillet spritzer. An orange paper umbrella is hanging over the rim.

Lovely Lillet

I have a confession to make; I don’t have a bar. It’s true. The only alcohol floating around my home at the moment is a bottle of vodka. I just don’t have the room. So, when I get the urge to try something new, I’ll give any bottle I buy a good home at the DnU HQ, in care of Fervere. And that’s what I did when I purchased a bottle of Lillet.

A 2010 Limited Edition bottle of Lillet Blanc

It caught Melba’s eye.

I was looking for wine, one day, for my aunt’s holiday party when I came across this very interesting bottle. I’d never heard of Lillet before but I was lured by its label design and yellow-pinkish color, and ok, the price was right. I’ve since seen it on the web for $17.

Fast-forward to a fabulous barbecue last weekend at the DnU HQ. In my pocket, three recipes for Lillet cocktails. Instead of going to some book or googling for ideas, I asked my fellow cocktail-loving tweeters for some ideas. The first suggestion was by @Fbombedgirls: A simple and refreshing drink using Lillet.

Fashionably Bombed Lillet Spritzer

  • 1 part Lillet Blanc
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 2 parts seltzer
  • cubed ice to fill cup
Fill cup with ice, add lime juice and Lillet, and top with seltzer.

A blue plastic cup filled with a Lillet spritzer. An orange paper umbrella is hanging over the rim.

Drink much Melba?

Don’t be fooled by the umbrella. It was clean, crisp, and perfect for the 90-degrees-plus day.

After some charred flesh, with nighttime creeping in, I ordered a cocktail suggested by @MyAmericanDram: A modified Negroni with Lillet instead of vermouth. One problem—no Campari. But that didn’t stop Fervere and me from brainstorming. Instead of Campari, we used Cointreu. With some modifications, Fervere made a drink, which I named:

Demeter’s Dream

  • 2 part gin, in this case Bombay Sapphire
  • 1 part Lillet Blanc
  • 1 part Cointreu
  • 1 part seltzer
  • cubed ice to fill cup
Fill cup with ice, add gin, Lillet, and Cointreu, and top with seltzer. Note: A classic Negroni, even one substituting Lillet for the vermouth, would not be served over ice, but this was a day spent in the sun at a barbecue, so we kept the ice in, so Melba wouldn’t dehydrate.

This was very strong but it was very, very good. It was a mix of three delicately-flavored liquors, and none overpowered the others. There was no strong alcohol-burn, and the hint of honey and citrusy note surprised me. The big mistake was making it to fill the same 12-ounce cup as above. It was just too much. Such a delicate, but high-octane, cocktail belonged in a martini glass or a highball.

Unfortunately, I did not get to @TheMartiniDiva’s cocktail suggestion: The Vesper, the classic James Bond cocktail but, to tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t have survived it.

The Vesper

  • 3 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • enough ice to fill 1/3 of a French shaker
Combine all ingredients in a French shaker, and shake, of course. Strain into Martini glass and add lemon twist garnish. Note: Most recipe books will call for Kina Lillet, but this hasn’t been made for over 25 years. Get over it, and use the Blanc.

After this weekend, I would absolutely recommend adding Lillet to one’s bar for experimentation. I was worried that it was going to be one of those dusty bottles of booze, never used at the back of the cabinet, but when I saw the bottle was suspiciously 3/4 empty before I came to the barbecue, that fear went away.