Your Ultimate Guide To Making An Instagram Worthy Lillet Cocktail- Complete with 20 recipes

We’ll show you how to make an instagram worthy Lillet cocktail for your next weekend bash. It’s the ultimate spring and summer cocktail.

Lillet . . . it’s pronounced Lee-LAY.  The T is silent.  Why?  I’d tell you it’s because Lillet is French but Moët is pronounced with a hard T, isn’t it?

Cocktail culture is surging in popularity lately.  You’re wondering, has it ever gone away? Well, no but it does ebb and flow with the trends.

And, I want to do my part, so I’m making a slew of Lillet cocktails in the name of research.

I’ve spent the past couple of days reading and learning about the drink Lillet.  And while you can learn a lot about wine by reading, you can learn a lot more by tasting. So here we go.

Lillet cocktail

What Is Lillet?

Lillet is an aperitif (a fancy French word that means, “drinking before dinner isn’t excessive, it’s elegant”) wine, from the Bordeaux region of France.  

Lillet comes in two varieties — Blanc and Rouge.  It’s a blend of several Bordeaux wines — Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle for Lillet Blanc; Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for Lillet Rouge.  

But here’s where it gets interesting:  it also includes macerated liquors from different citrus fruits (sweet and bitter oranges) and quinine, a substance from the bark of the Peruvian cinchona or kina-kina tree.  

Sidebar:  Quinine was used to treat malaria until the 1940s.  It’s also a pain-killer, a fever-reducer, and a muscle relaxant.  Hmm . . . I’m starting to think Lillet might be one of those “medicinally purposed” drinks.

How Do You Like Your Lillet Cocktail?

Lillet Straight Up

Hannibal Lecter likes his Lillet cocktail chilled, over ice, with a slice of orange. Straight up. (And you thought Dr. Lecter was strictly a Chianti man).

The Vesper Martini Lillet Cocktail

James Bond prefers his Lillet shaken, not stirred, into a Vesper Martini, first ordered in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale.

3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
 
Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve.

The Moneypenny

The Moneypenny’s fresh grapefruit juice is best paired with a bright citrus forward London Dry gin with fresh herbal aromatics. Sunset Hill’s Small Batch gin with its notes of cucumber and rose, paired with a light body make it an excellent choice for the Moneypenny cocktail.

Lemon wedge, Demerara sugar
1 oz Gin
1 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
1 Dash Grapefruit bitters
Grapefruit twist


Rim chilled cocktail glass with lemon and sugar. Shake remaining ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Add grapefruit twist. Serve in a Cocktail Glass. Created by Mr. Boston.

Lillet-Basil Cocktail

Martha Stewart enjoys her Lillet cocktail with fresh basil – Lillet-Basil Cocktail.  Don’t forget the decorative garnish, or Martha will be disappointed.

1 cup ice, plus more for serving

1/2 cup Lillet Blanc

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) gin

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

Splash of tonic water

1 cucumber spear, for garnish

1 cinnamon stick, for garnish

Put ice, Lillet, gin, orange juice, and basil in a cocktail shaker; shake well.

Fill a glass with ice; strain mixture into glass. Add tonic water.

Garnish with cucumber spear, cinnamon stick, and basil sprigs.

Great Gatsby Lillet Cocktail

Jay Gatsby inspired the Great Gatsby Lillet cocktail from Highlands Bar & Grill in Alabama.  

1 oz Vodka

1 oz Lillet Blanc

2.5 oz Grapefruit Juice 

Combine the 3 ingredients into your cocktail shaker
Shake with ice
Strain over fresh ice
Garnish with a slice of orange

Lillet Spritz

2 oz  Lillet Blanc (chilled)

2 oz gin

1 oz fresh lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup or maple syrup

2 oz soda water

For the garnish: Sprig of lavender or thyme

Stir the Lillet Blanc, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup together in a glass.

Fill the glass with ice and top with soda water.

Garnish with lavender or thyme.

Lillet Blanc Tonic

A simple pairing of tonic and Lillet with a slice of fresh cucumber. This might be the simplest Lillet cocktail ever dreamed up.

1 oz Lillet Blanc

3 oz Tonic

Pour the Lillet and tonic into a glass. Fill with ice. Stir. Garnish with a cumumber slice. This is summer in a glass folks.

Lillet Spiced Sangria Cocktail

Sangria is near and dear to our hearts. Most often we’re using Tempranillo but this Lillet Rouge cocktail is very special.

1 bottle Lillet Rouge

½ part Grand Marnier

1 part cold-pressed apple juice

3 parts fresh lemon juice

2 cinnamon sticks

1 apple sliced

1 pear sliced

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Stir. Add large iced cubes as to not water down your delicious cocktail.

Cat Eye Lillet Cocktail

1.5 oz Lillet Blanc

1 oz dry vermouth

1 oz Liquore Strega

½ tsp raspberry brandy

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a lemon twice. 

Lillet Negroni Blanc

1 oz Lillet Blanc

1 oz Monkey 47 Gin

1 oz ITALICUS Rosolio di Bergamotto

In a mixing glass with ice, stir until well chilled and pour over a large cube of ice in rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Lillet Negroni

1 oz Lillet Rouge

1 oz Dry Gin

1 oz Campari

Shake ingredients together with ice. Pour over ice into rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.

Lillet 50/50 Martini

1 ½ oz Lillet Blanc

1 ½ oz Monkey 47 Gin

Fresh Lemon Twist

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour a coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Lillet Corpse Reviver

3/4 oz Monkey 47 Gin

3/4 oz Lillet Blanc

3/4 oz Italcus Rosolio di Bergamotto

3/4 part fresh lemon juice

dash Pernod Absinthe

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Lillet Giggle Fit

1 Orange Slice

2 oz Lillet Blanc

3 oz Sparkling Water

½ oz Suze

Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into a glass and top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with an expressed lemon twist. Created by Drink Lightly.

Lillet Endless Spring

Don’t we all wish Spring would never end?

1 oz Lillet Rosé

¾ oz fresh lemon juice syrup

½ oz simple syrup

¾ oz Amaro Ramozzotti

½ strawberry + ½ strawberry

La Croix water to top

Lightly muddle the ½ strawberry at the bottom of a shaker. Add the additional ingredients to the shaker, add ice and shake. Strain into a highball glass with cubed ice. Top with La Croix. Stir. Garnish with the remaining strawberry half and serve with a straw. Created by Drink Lightly.

Le Bergamot Lillet Spritz

1 oz Lillet Rosé

 
3 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne
 
Combine Lillet Rosé and ITALICUS Rosolio di Bergamotto in a wine glass over ice. Top with G.H. Mumm. Created by Jack Schramm.

Lillet Frozé

3 oz Lillet Rosé

3 oz fresh squeezed lemonade

Fresh lemon wheel

Add all ingredients into a blender with ice and blend to desired consistency. Garnish with a fresh lemon wheel.

Lillet French Gimlet

2 oz gin

1 oz Lillet blanc

1/2 oz elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1 tsp agave syrup (or honey)

1 dash orange bitters

orange (optional)

fresh mint leaves (for garnish, optional)

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, Lillet, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup. Shake and strain into a lowball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a wheel of orange and lime and a sprig of mint. Created by Yummly.

Lillet Cocktail FAQ

James Bond prefers his Lillet shaken, not stirred, into a Vesper Martini, first ordered in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale.

3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
 
Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve.

Our favorite is the Lillet Champagne Cocktail.

1 oz Lillet Rosé

1 oz ITALICUS Rosolio di Bergamotto

3 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne

The French often drink Lillet by itself, chilled neat or on the rocks, just as many Italians would enjoy an Aperol or Vermouth. 
Hannibal Lecter likes his Lillet Rouge cocktail chilled, over ice, with a slice of orange. Straight up. You can drink Lillet Blanc with lemon, and Lillet Rosé with lime.
 
We recommend Lillet be refrigerated after opening. Even though Lillet is lightly fortified, it is still a wine. Over time they lose their fragrance and start to taste more sour.

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