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Lillet

ibstatguy Sep 26, 2010 03:10 PM

Any other fans out there? Got introudced through a "Vesper" but like it now simply on the rocks.

  1. m
    marais Sep 28, 2010 04:43 PM

    Love Lillet blanc, the rouge not so much. I prefer the blanc in a 2:1 ratio with Hendrick's or Beefeater 24, both less juniper-focused gins with interesting botanicals which make Lillet blanc shine. An orange or lemon twist helps, as does a dash of grapefruit bitters.
    I very much like the same combo with Cocchi instead of Lillet, but it's a different flavor profile and not necessarily a substitute for some long-lost Kina Lillet. I'm quite satisfied with Lillet blanc as it is, and use grapefruit or orange bitters to boost bitter notes if needed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: marais
      yarm Sep 29, 2010 06:08 AM

      The Lillet Rouge was their attempt to compete with Dubonnet and should be avoided, just like Dubonnet Blanc was their attempt to compete with Lillet Blanc and should be avoided likewise.

      I am basing the Cocchi Americano as a replacement for Kina Lillet from what I've read in the New York Times, Underhill Lounge (Erik Ellestad), Oh Gosh blog, Sfgate, Washington Post, Bobby Heugel (Anvil bartender who writes for Drink Dogma, and the Houston Press), and elsewhere. Cocchi Americano and Kina Lillet existed for a century side by side. Lillet changed and Cocchi did not.

      1. re: yarm
        c
        cacio e pepe Oct 8, 2010 12:41 AM

        I'm with you, brother! Cocchi Americano is awesome. And if everything we've read is wrong, I don't want to be right. A corpse reviver #2, vesper, or a hoots mon with Cocchi is just . . . better.

        I do still like Lillet for modern cocktails and as a light aperitif on it's own. But come on! The Cocchi is just so damn good.

        1. re: cacio e pepe
          yarm Oct 8, 2010 06:09 AM

          Well, can't really trust brand ambassadors. My friend went to a Bacardi event and their ambassador swore that Bacardi had never changed its flavor profile (from the Cuba pre-Castro days until the present day Puerto Rico days). "Take my word for it," he was commanded.

    2. yarm Sep 27, 2010 01:12 PM

      We used to buy it until Cocchi Americano (probably closer to the flavor of the original Kina Lillet than the current Lillet Blanc is) became available. They are interchangeable in recipes but C.A. has a more complex flavor and runs a dollar or so cheaper than Lillet (which has been creeping up in price).

      http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: yarm
        j
        JackiePatterson Sep 28, 2010 05:06 AM

        I actually just toured the Lillet facility in Podensac, France last week. I am the Brand Ambassador on the West Coast (that's why I got to go and check it out). I tasted a bottle of Lillet from 1982 and 1976, which are from before they dropped the name Kina in 1986. It is actually false information that Lillet was in fact more bitter with quinine than it is today. They dropped the name Kina, and in fact went with the drier and slightly less alcoholic version that they had been exporting to the U.S. The reserve Jean de Lillet is more like the original Kina that was produced in France prior to 1986, but that product was never exported to the U.S. The Kina Lillet pre 1986 is as delicate and balanced as the product is today, though slightly nutty and more complex due to bottle aging. I even brought a bottle of Cocchi Americano for the Maitre de Chai (Master Blender) to taste as it has presented itself on the market as a substitute for Lillet, he was shocked, since Lillet has never contained any other herbal or botanical ingredients in the history of its production besides the quinine bark, it has never been nearly as herbal or astringent as the Cocchi. To me, Cocchi is a lovely, bitter vermouth style aperitif with Gentian as the dominate herbal, not quinine. It is not an accurate substitute for Kina Lillet, and in fact, I discovered on this trip, that the Lillet in production today is different only by 1 degree of ABV and slightly less sweet. I hope this helps to illuminate the Kina conundrum. Lillet needs no substitute.

        A votre sante!

        1. re: JackiePatterson
          yarm Sep 28, 2010 07:43 AM

          So wait, everything I've read about Kina Lillet has been wrong? All based on the tasting of 30 year old bottles? From what I've read, there have been a few quinine adjustments made including a double Kina-strength for actual medicinal anti-malarial use in the West Indies and other parts of America. And the official Lillet web page should get rid of how the reformulation of 1986 made the drink less bitter. Please write them and tell them that it is wrong.

      2. r
        robert222 Sep 27, 2010 11:35 AM

        Lillet with a splash of vodka, along with a slice of orange or lemon, on the rocks, makes for a terrific drink.

        1. YAYME Sep 27, 2010 04:33 AM

          Big fan of it in cocktails. Never had it plain. Recently I had in the corpse reviver no.2 and was amazing, I don't know what it adds to the drink, but man that was a tasty cocktail.

          2 Replies
          1. re: YAYME
            ibstatguy Sep 27, 2010 06:04 AM

            just read about the corpse reviver on cocktailnerd, now i need to find a bartender who can make one for me

            1. re: ibstatguy
              YAYME Sep 28, 2010 09:50 AM

              Make one your self It's easy to get all the stuff and a cocktail shaker.

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