Spring is here and with it comes my favorite warmer weather ritual: sipping a small aperitif outdoors before dinner. Of the many things that are nice to sip, I especially love Lillet for its light, citrusy bittersweetness. I like it simple, just served over ice with a slice of orange and a spring of mint or basil, if I happen to have it. As the evenings warm up, look for me sitting among the blossoms and bumblebees, a glass of Lillet in hand. Ah, yes!
Lillet is a French wine-based aperitif that comes in red, rosè, and white variations. It is a blend of wines from the Bordeaux region with the addition of citrus liquors made from the peels of sweet and bitter oranges. It also has Cinchona, a bark from Peru that contains quinine. The addition of liquor makes Lillet a fortified wine, coming in at 17% alcohol.
While I like to sip my Lillet over ice, it is also a popular addition to cocktails such as the Casino Royale, Lillet Libertè, and our very own Lady Mary. I'm only familiar with the white version (Lillet Blanc) but am interested to try the red (Lillet Rouge) and rosè versions as well. I hope it's a long, warm summer!