Quick Sips: Lillet Blanc

I’ve decided my blog should have a new feature, which I will call Quick Sips, in which I briefly review or tell about a tasty adult beverage.  Tonight: Lillet Blanc.

Lillet Blanc: if it’s good enough for James Bond and
Hannibal Lecter, it’s good enough for me.

Lillet (prounounced lee-lay) Blanc is a French concoction that blends Bordeaux white wines (including Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, and Semillon) with citrus liqueurs.  The result is an aperitif (in other words, a beverage meant to be drunk before a meal) that is light, slightly sweet, a little bit herbaceous, and very tasty.  It’s best served very cold and is one of the few wines you can, and in fact should, serve over ice.  It goes against all my instincts to do this, but yes, I am sipping a glass of it now with three ice cubes in it, and quite enjoying it. If anything, I wish it was colder – I popped mine in the freezer as soon as I brought it home and evidently didn’t wait long enough.  Although the bottle is beautiful and I’d love to have it out on my bar, this will take up permanent residence in the freezer for practical purposes.

Although perfectly lovely on its own, Lillet Blanc also serves as an ingredient in some well-known drinks, the most notable of which is the Vesper.  First described in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel Casino Royale (it also appears in the movie), the Vesper is named after Vesper Lynd, who is my favorite Bond girl because she’s super smart and played by the gorgeous Eva Green in the movie.  It’s made according to these specifications from Monsieur Bond: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”  Dr. Hannibal Lecter prefers to keep it simple: his favorite drink is Lillet Blanc on the rocks with a slice of orange.

I picked up my Lillet Blanc from the liqueur aisle of BevMo (where they also carried Lillet Rouge, a version made with red Bordeaux wines that I may try later) for $17.99.  Not bad for something that’s probably going to last quite a long time in my freezer.