Quench Your Thirst with a Lovely Lillet Rosé Tonic

Photo Courtesy of Lillet
I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything. ~ James Bond

If you’ve ever read Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, then you know 007 had a penchant for icy Vesper Martinis made with gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet, a now-obsolete, quinine-based aperitif from Lillet in Bordeaux in southwestern France.

Martinis have never been my thing; I go more for a crisp summertime quaff sans all of the macho baggage of a Bond martini. I love making cocktails with Lillet because their aperitifs combine the best of both worlds — wine and booze — and the complex aromas and flavors make great-tasting drinks.

Each aperitif is the perfect marriage of hand-selected Bordeaux wines, blended with alcohol macerated and extracted oranges from Turkey, Spain and Morocco, bitter oranges from Haiti, and quinine from South America and slow aging in oak casks. This process is what gives the aperitif profoundly nuanced richness.

The closely guarded family recipe dates back to Maison Lillet’s founding by Raymond, and Paul Lillet in 1872 (it was Bordeaux’s first and only aperitif) and the original six-step production process is still used today at the distillery in Podensac in southern Bordeaux.

What makes Lillet such a classic is the range of delicious aperitifs even Mr. Bond would approve. I have a fondness for Lillet Rosé, Lillet’s first new product release in 50 years because it combines red and white Bordeaux wines and is fantastic in Lillet’s recipe for Lillet Rosé Tonic, which I’ve included below.

This no-fuss cocktail is as delicious as it looks and can be ready in minutes.

Here’s What You’ll Need for One Serving

Fill a wine glass with ice
Add 2 ounces of Lillet Rosé
Add 3 1/2 ounces of tonic water
Garnish with a fresh slice of orange

Makes one serving