Lillet Blanc - Drink Secrets

Lillet Blanc

Lillet Blanc


Described as a French apéritif, a drink made to stimulate the appetite before the meal, made from a blend of 85% wine and different citrus liqueurs made from a variety of oranges. Lillet is aged in old oak casks and exists both as a red and white wine version. Lillet has existed since the 19th century but its current recipe for the white version is 1987 and 1990 for its red counterpart, the new recipe has a less bitter and a more fruity flavor than the older recipe.


Lillet is recommended to be either served chilled or over ice with a slice of lemon together with fish or used in so called tapenade toasts, which has a spread of puréed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil on top of them. The company who started to make Lillet was called ”The Lillet brothers company” and was created in the town of Podensac, which lies south of Bordeaux in France.


The first person to introduce making apéritifs in the Bordeaux region was Father Kermann, a monk and doctor who left Brazil and moved to this particular region of France during the reign of Louis XVI. Father Kermann started making liqueurs and fortifiers from plants such as quinine, a white crystalline alkaloid harvested from the bark of the Cinchone tree.


During the end of the 19th century Bordeaux became the most important place to trade wine in Europe and it was also the trading spot where France imported goods from the Caribbean islands.


Lillet has several appearances in popular culture, such as the 1953 novel Casino Royale, James Bond invents and orders a Kina Lillet martini which is described as a ”dry martini, three measures of Gordons Gin, one measure of Vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet”, it is these days impossible to get a real Kina Lillet martini since Kina Lillet has not been produced since 1986.

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