Between 1852 and 1870 France experienced an economic boom called the Second Empire, a time in which new companies prospered, especially the wine culture in Bordeaux. As techniques improved in viticulture and vintaging, Bordeaux confirmed its place in the world as a leader in wine.
It was during this time that fine wine and spirits distillers/merchants, Paul and Raymond Lillet, came into focus. Bless them, for they created my eau de vie – Lillet! Lillet is an apéritif created from a blend of fine wines (85%) and fruit liqueurs (15%). Not to diminish the careful blending and creating process, for which there is no recipe, both red and white varieties of Lillet is essentially blended and aged for 12 months before it is enjoyed by aficionadas like myself. I personally prefer my Lillet on ice with an orange twist. James Bond invents the "Kina Lillet Martini," which he calls the “Vesper” in Casino Royale. This sexy drink is made of “Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. “ Kina Lillet being the original, more bitter, quinine version of the current liqueur. History aside, the next time you’re looking for a refreshing aperitif, give Lillet on the rocks a try!