Is Lillet wine or liquor?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Lillet is an interesting and unique beverage that can sometimes be confusing for people who are not familiar with it. The question of whether it is wine or liquor often comes up, so let me clarify.

Lillet is technically classified as an aperitif wine. It is made using a blend of Bordeaux grapes, which are known for their rich and robust flavor profiles. These grapes are then fortified with a blend of citrus liqueurs, which gives Lillet its distinctive taste.

Now, you might be wondering what exactly an aperitif wine is. Well, an aperitif is a drink that is typically consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Aperitif wines are usually lighter in alcohol content compared to other wines or spirits, making them perfect for sipping before a meal.

Lillet falls into this category because it has an alcohol content of around 17%, which is lower than most liquors. Its flavor profile is also more reminiscent of a wine, with fruity and floral notes combined with the subtle bitterness of the citrus liqueurs.

One of the key characteristics of Lillet is its versatility. It can be enjoyed on its own, over ice, or as a key ingredient in cocktails. In fact, Lillet is often used in classic cocktails like the Vesper and the Corpse Reviver No. 2.

Personal experience: I first discovered Lillet during a trip to France, where it is quite popular. I was intrigued by its reputation as a refreshing and elegant aperitif. When I finally tried it, I was pleasantly surprised by its complex flavors and how it paired beautifully with various appetizers. Since then, I have enjoyed Lillet both as a standalone drink and as a component in cocktails, and it never fails to impress.

To summarize, Lillet is an aperitif wine that combines the flavors of Bordeaux grapes with citrus liqueurs. While it has a lower alcohol content compared to liquors, it is still considered a fortified wine. Its unique taste and versatility make it a delightful choice for a refreshing aperitif or a cocktail ingredient.