Lillet (pronounced lee-lay) is an aperitif wine; a type of drink traditionally enjoyed before a meal. It originated in 1887 in the Bordeaux region of France, by the Lillet brothers, Paul and Raymond, distillers and merchants of spirits, soda, and candies. It was one of the first tonic wines, and became increasingly popular around the turn of the 20th century when tonic drinks were touted as good for the health. The ban against absinthe in 1915 also contributed to the popularity of the drink. In the 1950s and 60s, the golden age of cocktails, Lillet became the centerpiece of a number of drinks served in the fashionable bars and restaurants of New York City, where it was sometimes served flambé. It was also popularly served with gin in England.
While Lillet was originally a bitter tonic drink, the quinine content has now been reduced. There are now two types made - Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge.
The Rouge version, made with red wine, appeared on the market in 1962. There are a number of options when serving Lillet. Lillet Blanc can be used in a Martini with gin and vodka and a lemon peel garnish; this drink, called a Vesper, was invented by the character James Bond in Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale. Both can be served plain over ice or as the main ingredient in a number of cocktails. Serve Chilled. 17% Alc./Vol.
- Alcohol by Volume:17%
- Standard Drinks: 10
- Volume 750mls
- Country of Origin: France