Spirit, Sydney

Lillet Blanc

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Perhaps no other alcohol has a bigger profile and such a low instance of product trial. It is a wonderful little gem that started life in Podensac, just south of Borbeaux in France.

Lillet is an aperitif made from wine blended with citrus liqueurs, primarily orange. It has a wonderfully full, fruity and herbal taste and is distinct from Italian vermouth by its lack of spicy notes.

Enjoyed by the French over ice with a slice of orange, Lillet makes an essential ingredient in a Corpse Reviver #2, the Kir Lillet and of course, the Vesper martini ordered by Ian Fleming’s James Bond in his 1953 novel, Casino Royale*.

Lillet can be used in place of almost any recipe that calls for Martini Bianco, for a softer, more subtle drink.

You can buy it here in Sydney at Elizabeth Bay Cellars, where you’ll find it masterfully chilled in the ice box, and at Ultimo Cellars.

* Bond actually calls for a martini made with Gordons Gin, Smirnoff Vodka and Kina Lillet, a precursor to todays version that would have been both more bitter and sweet, the bitterness coming from the addition of the quinine to the beverage and excess sugar being used to hide impurities in the manufacturing process.

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