With the surge of cocktail culture has come a tremendous adoption of unique and interesting ingredients to help push the envelope on flavor and balance in drink mixing. While this can lead to all sorts of exciting outcomes in the best bars around the country, the challenge for the everyday drinker has been magnified. For one, many of these ingredients can read as foreign and confusing as learning another language; orgeat and cynar sound more like monsters than they do cocktail ingredients. But even worse, once we become accustomed and even learn to love them, buying a full bottle can seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our new series, highlighting our favorites and squashing the misconceptions. It’s time to introduce, The Modifiers…
We’ve started off pretty traditional with our selection of must have Modifiers but now it’s time to delve into a bit of the more nuanced options on the market. But the problem with nuance when it comes to buying new products for your bar is two fold: limited space at home and an overwhelming selection in the store. And we’ve fallen victim to this challenge over and over again in the past. But just because you want to branch out doesn’t mean you should hone in on the most unique new offering that claims to highlight the berries from Neverland and the citrus from Westeros. Trust us, in this case the classics become the classics for good reason.
Lillet is one of those classics that you may recognize by bottle design but probably haven’t experience in reality. This French Aperitif made up of 85% Bordeaux Wines and 15% macerated fruit liqueurs has been in production for nearly 150 years. The founders, sons of a doctor who manufactured medicinal liqueurs in Brazil before returning to settle in the Bordeaux region of France, were very successful wine merchants making the expansion of the Lillet brand a real winning proposition. Nowadays, the most commonly available and used is the Lillet Blanc but a Rouge and Rose are available as well. As an aperitif, Lillet acts as a great sipping cordial, but when combined in cocktails, Lillet’s real merit shines. Some of the more well known cocktails that highlight Lillet are the Corpse Reviver #2 and the Vesper (both recipes are below) and for good reason. The flavor profiles of the Lillet marry extremely well with Gin making it another perfect addition to your summer drinking agenda.
Corpse Reviver #2
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Lillet
1 dash absinthe
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into coupe or rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Lillet
In a pint glass filled with ice, stir all of the ingredients to combine and chill. Strain into a coupe or martini glass and serve with a lemon peel.