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  • Food & Fun

    Lillet to lips

    02 December 2015

    FROM a tiny village south of Bordeaux to the lips of Jackie Kennedy, the Duchess of Windsor and most of the population of France, the aperitif Lillet has been embraced the world over.

    Created by the Lillet brothers in 1872, the drink was initially called Kina-Lillet, thanks to one particular ingredient: quinine. Originally associated with medicinal purposes (alleviating fever, lupus and arthritis), the libation crossed over from health beverage to aperitif du jour with the help of a clever advertising campaign and rebranding.

    During the 1920s it was served on transatlantic liners, in swanky New York bars and by the 1950s, when Edward VIII splashed Lillet around at parties, droves of socialites embraced it, thus elevating the sweet tonic wine to new heights.

    Today the distinctive Lillet bottle, the colour of pale sunshine with bold red typography, can be enjoyed on its own, with soda and ice, or included in summery cocktails including The Vesper, invented by James Bond in Casino Royale.

    Instructions: in a mixing glass with ice, stir together an ounce of Lillet, an ounce of gin and an ounce of vodka, with a dash of orange bitters. Stir well and garnish with lemon peel.