lillet cocktail

The Lillet Spring Cocktail will beat back any sunset blues.  (photo by Renee Wilmeth for Wine and Whiskey Globe)

The first time I had Lillet, I was standing in a friend’s kitchen before heading out to dinner. With high rents in big city apartments, we were both perpetually broke, but he had a bottle of Lillet blanc and a bottle of Pellegrino which, combined, made the perfect aperitif for the evening.  I’ve kept a bottle (or two) of Lillet on hand ever since—usually the blanc, but there are other flavors as well. Essentially a wine with a touch of macerated fruit, you can drink it simply over ice or add any number of mixers, from fruit juice to sparkling water. Lillet Rosé is especially nice in the spring with a touch of sweetness that sets you up as a perfect pre-dinner cocktail.

These days, as we’re all making cocktails from the liquor we have on hand, imagine how delighted I was to discover an entire bottle of Lillet Rosé in the back of the cabinet. It’s helped keep me optimistic that I’ll soon be enjoying the spring springing outside—and it’s helped me start my daily video happy hours off at a more civilized pace. 


A 1937 poster by Robert Wolff, aka Robys. (photo courtesy of the brand)

Here’s my go-to, the Lillet Spring Cocktail (adapted from Martha Stewart). Skip the gin if you want to move even more in the spritzer direction.

2 oz Lillet Rosé

2 oz fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

1 oz gin

Sparkling wine or soda (optional)

Combine the Lillet Rosé, grapefruit juice, and gin in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until the shaker is frosty. For a traditional cocktail, strain into a coupe, or serve over ice and top with soda or sparkling wine. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.