Created in the late 1800s in Podensac, France, this aromatized wine is based on a proprietary recipe which uses an assortment of fruits (including bitter and sweet orange peels) along with chinchona bark (which contains quinine). Originally the product was called “Kina Lillet”, but the “Kina” was dropped sometime in the 1960’s to shorten the name to just “Lillet”. Some have said that the quinine level was also reduced (either then, or in 1986 when the recipe was “reformulated”) in order to make it less bitter. This is an unfortunate misconception, the quinine level in Lillet is the same as it has always been. The reformulation in 1986 was simply an adjustment to increase consistency from batch to batch.
Lillet comes in both a white (blanc) and red (rouge) version. The wine used is either a white or red Bordeaux, and both versions use the same flavorings. On the other hand, vermouth uses white wine for both its red and white versions. In this case, the difference is provided by varying the herbs.
- For more information about this product:
- Lillet Brand Website