Just because the 4th of July weekend is over doesn't mean our look at quick and easy celebratory cocktails has to end. After all, Bastille Day's just around the corner, storming in next Thursday, July 14th. Here's a light and lovely 3-ingredient cocktail to toast the occasion: the Liberté featuring the summery, citrusy apéritif, Lillet Blanc.
When I first spotted this cocktail on the menu at an event I attended the other week, I was eager to give it a try. I'm a big fan of Lillet Blanc - and of Martinis made with gin - and thought this simple Lillet, gin, and orange bitters combo looked like a truly refreshing pre-dinner drink for a warm summer night.
And it's more than just its French apéritif base that gives this cocktail Bastille Day cred. As its creators note: "The white stripe on the French flag represents freedom, and so with this cocktail we offer the modern drinker the freedom to do things differently, enjoying Lillet in a Martini rather than vermouth." (And yes, they did come up with two more Lillet cocktails called Fraternité and Egalité to round out the set.)
Something of a cross between an old-school Classic Martini (gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters), and the Vesper Martini (gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc or the quinine-tinged Cocchi Americano), the Lillet-dominant Liberté is fresh and light-tasting with a bit of orange-y warmth. Vive la différence!
Liberté Cocktail (by Nicole Cloutier and Jacqueline Patterson for Lillet, used with permission)
3 ounces Lillet Blanc
1 ounce Hendrick's gin (I substituted a gin I had on hand, Oxley, which worked quite well with this recipe because of its citrus-y notes)
2 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters (I used Regan's)
garnish: orange peel
Stir ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of orange peel, twisted over the drink to release its essential oils.
Have you ever tried a cocktail made with Lillet?
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Images: Nora Maynard)