Lillet Blanc is a French aperitif wine that’s worth the hype! Its crisp, clean flavor makes it perfect for sipping in cocktails.
What’s Lillet Blanc, and why is everyone obsessed with it? This French aperitif wine has caught on majorly in the past few years here in the US. Take one sip, and you’ll understand why its worth the hype. The flavor is crisp, floral and lightly sweet: incredibly refreshing with an intriguing botanical finish. It pairs well with club soda for the best bubbly, hydrating drinks: and it features in a few classic cocktails, too. We always stock a bottle of Lillet in our refrigerator: here’s why!
What is Lillet Blanc?
Lillet Blanc is a French aromatized wine: a white wine infused with fruits, herbs and other botanicals. It was originally known as Kina Lillet, invented in 1887 and flavored with quinine. Lillet Blanc replaced Kina in 1986 and has a lower quinine content. It’s become popular in bars and restaurants for its crisp, floral flavor.
Lillet is actually a family of French aromatized wines. There are are several types of Lillet made of different wines: Lillet Blanc, Lillet Rosé and Lillet Rouge. What’s an aromatized wine? It’s a wine that’s fortified with brandy and then infused with herbs, spices, fruit or other botanicals. It’s a type of fortified wine like vermouth, but fortified wines have no extra flavors added.
How to pronounce Lillet Blanc? It’s French, so say it “Li-lay Blahn.”
What does Lillet Blanc taste like?
Lillet Blanc is crisp and light, with subtle floral, herbal and citrus notes. It tastes like a semi-sweet white vermouth with intriguing herbal notes on the finish. It’s light, refreshing, and incredibly versatile for mixing into cocktails.
How much alcohol is in Lillet Blanc? It is 17% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it has a mid-range alcohol content that’s similar to wine.
Are there any Lillet Blanc substitutes? You can substitute Cocchi Americano, but it’s much sweeter (it’s made with Moscato wine). For a DIY substitute, use white vermouth with a dash of cocktail bitters to add the herbal finish.
Why we like it
Bartenders are obsessed with Lillet Blanc, and so are we! The crisp, floral flavor is so refreshing and perfect for mixing into spritzes, spritzers, or a G&T. In the summer, we grab a bottle and pour it into herb-stuffed wine glasses with club soda: no need to measure! It’s one of our favorite types of alcohol because it’s so easy to drink: a no-frills drink solution.
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, Lillet Blanc is low-priced. A 750 ml bottle costs about $20.
Most popular Lillet Blanc cocktails
There are so many great cocktails to make with this aperitif! We love it in a spritzer, but there’s also a few classic cocktails that use it. Here are a few drinks to try:
This famous Lillet Blanc cocktail was invented by James Bond. Meet the Vesper martini! Yes, James Bond himself created this drink in the 1953 book Casino Royale, and it lives on today. The magic ingredient is Lillet Blanc, which brings life and personality into this drink. (The original Vesper was made with Kina Lillet, the previous generation of Lillet Blanc.)
Ingredients: Gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc
One of the best ways to drink Lillet Blanc: the Lillet Spritz! It’s light and bubbly, tart and citrusy, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Mix it up with champagne, lemon and gin, and you’ve got a breezy light cocktail that has summer written all over it.
Ingredients: Lillet Blanc, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda
Here’s a 1930's Lillet cocktail that’s as unique as its name…the Corpse Reviver No 2! The humorous name indicates that the strength of the drink was enough to bring a body back from the grave! It’s a gin sour that’s tart and zingy from lemon juice and orange liqueur, with a hint of licorice on the finish from the absinthe.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, absinthe
Here’s a memorable cocktail that’s botanical and bubbly: the Lillet G&T! This Lillet cocktail features the popular fortified wine dressed up as a Gin and Tonic. The flavor is perfectly crisp, with floral and herbal notes from Lillet Blanc and the gin.
Ingredients: Lillet Blanc, gin, tonic water
Vesper (& More Lillet Blanc Cocktails!)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
The classy Vesper martini is cool, crisp and herbal: an intriguing spin that’s shaken, not stirred! Invented by James Bond, it’s become a true classic.
- 1 ½ ounces* gin
- ½ ounce vodka
- ¼ ounce Lillet Blanc
- Place the gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc into a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until cold.
- Strain the drink into a cocktail glass.
- Use a knife to remove a 1″ wide strip of the lemon peel. Squeeze the lemon peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass, then place it in the glass and serve.
*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Lillet Blanc
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Great cocktails with Lilet Blanc. My husband’s favorite is Vesper Martini and mine is Corpse Reviver #2
I would love to see French Blonde included on your list —absolutely delicious.
We’ll have to try it!
I like a mix of 2 oz gin (usually Bombay Sapphire) and 1 oz Lillet Blanc, stirred in ice then strained into a martini glass. I garnish with an olive. It is closely related to a standard martini but I find it much more flavorful.
Thank you! Quick edit pls, french speaking person here: the c is silent, so no harsh K sound. Lee-LAY blahn (and no n-sound). Same idea as cab franc is not cab frank.
Thank you so much! Edited.