At the end of a very long day of work, we want to enjoy a glass of Lillet blanc to unwind. Or, we head to the kitchen to prepare a fancy dinner using the liqueur!
Lillet blanc… Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Well, tastes just as exquisite as it sounds! It’s a French aperitif white wine you can enjoy as a drink.
If ever you don’t have any of this particular wine around the supermarket or liquor store, then we’ve got you covered.
- What’s Lillet Blanc Exactly?
- The 10 Best Substitutes for Lillet Blanc To Try
- Lillet Blanc Fun Facts
- Our Favourite Lillet Blanc Cocktail Recipes!
- Frequently Asked Questions
Check out our list of suitable Lillet blanc substitutes to enjoy as a drink or in your recipes!
What’s Lillet Blanc Exactly?
Lillet Blanc is a crisp and refreshing aperitif or an amazing addition to cocktails. (*)
What are the different kinds of Lillet drinks?
There are five kinds of Lillet drinks, but let’s take a look at the main four:
- Lillet Blanc has a crisp and slightly bitter taste with a hint of honey, spring flowers, and oranges. It’s golden in color with a floral and herbaceous aroma.
- Lillet Rouge has a robust character and is only mildly bitter, with a fruity flavor without being too sweet. It’s ruby in color with an aroma of ripe, dark fruits.
- Lillet Rose has a white wine flavor with just a hint of citrus and quinine. It’s rose in color with an aroma of orange blossom, berries, and citrus.
- Kina Lillet has a crisp and very bitter flavor, dry and less sweet than other Lillet drinks. It’s light golden in color and has a similar floral and herbaceous aroma as Lillet blanc.
What is the meaning of aperitif?
Aperitif is an alcoholic beverage we are meant to drink before meals or alongside appetizers. It invigorates our appetites and opens our palates, just in time for the main course!
Lillet Blanc, as mentioned, is an aperitif that goes well with appetizers. However, we understand if it’s not readily available in your area.
While we can find Lillet blanc in liquor stores or well-stocked supermarkets, it’s not always ready to buy. Or, you’re in a pickle and can’t leave for the store, with a party starting in minutes!
Whatever the case is, there are numerous Lillet blanc substitutes to use, which still strike similar flavor notes. Try any of these alternatives to replace Lillet blanc with:
The 10 Best Substitutes for Lillet Blanc To Try
1. Sweet White Vermouth
The next liqueurs we’ll mention are more specific and branded, which some people may not know about. So if you’re looking for a more familiar and known Lillet blanc alternative, then we recommend sweet vermouth.
Sweet vermouth is made by infusion of botanicals into wine, which is then fortified with high-proof alcohol, usually unaged brandy. Sugar is also added to the drink, hence the name sweet vermouth.
You can find a variety of sweet white vermouth brands in liquor stores and supermarkets.
But, is Lillet Blanc like vermouth? When you combine sweet white vermouth with a bit of orange bitters, then you get a much closer taste to Lillet blanc.
If you want a more specific brand of sweet white vermouth, we highly recommend the Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth. It’s a delicious and refreshing drink with floral and bittersweet flavors.
This drink is infused with almost 40 botanicals with hints of quinine, licorice, grapefruit, and sweet oranges.
You can drink the vermouth on the rocks, add it to Negroni or gin and tonic.
2. Kina L’Avion d’Or
L’Avion d’Or is a French aperitif classified as a Kina (Quinquina), created by Tempus Fugit. This liqueur was created for medical staff to administer quinine to needed soldiers, then became a popular beverage!
After that, more kina varieties were created with different combinations of ingredients, usually local to France’s specific regions.
L’Avion d’Or translates to “golden airplane,’ which is about Louis Bleriot, the first Frenchman to fly a monoplane across the English Channel in 1909.
The L’Avion d’Or is made with white wine combined with orange peel, cinchona bark, and wormwood. As a result, you get a drink with complex and slightly bitter flavors.
The drinks aroma is similar to quince and marmalade, tasting pleasant when drank alone. However, you can also use it to create cocktails looking for Lillet blanc, such as the Hot Bunny or Corpse.
L’Avion d’Or is an excellent substitute for Lillet blanc that you can use in a 1:1 ratio, but like Cocchi, it’s a bit more bitter. Please take that into account when adding it to your cocktails.
Note that Kina L’Avion d’Or might be less accessible than Lillet blanc, as you would usually find it in high-end bars and liquor stores. Furthermore, it’s more expensive! If you’re willing to spend more or have a bottle of this at home (lucky you!), then give it a try.
3. Cocchi Americana
Cocchi Americana is the closest Lillet blanc alternative you can get. It’s a famous Italian aperitif made from Moscato wine that’s been macerated with aromatic and flavorful ingredients such as orange peel, cinchona bark, gentian root, among other herbs and spices.
Because of its contents, Cocchi has complex flavors with herbal overtones and subtle sweetness. That said, it still has that strong hit of bitter flavors that hit the palate, much more than Lillet blanc offers.
If you love the refreshing cocktail Vesper, then we recommend using Cocchi to your bright and citrusy cocktail, making it have a kick with bitterness.
Fortunately, Cocchi is readily available in liquor stores across the USA. Alternatively, you can check online if virtual liquor stores sell the brand.
P.S. You pronounce this as “Coke-y” and not “Koch-y!”
Learn more: Cocchi americano substitute
4. St. Germain
You can find St. Germain in many bars worldwide, so it’s safe to say it’s easy to find bottles of this in well-stocked liquor stores. This is a French liqueur using fresh elderflowers, producing a drink with a wide range of flavors like tropical fruits, grapefruits, and pears.
St. Germain is sweeter, so it’s best for those who want a less bitter drink when looking for a substitute for Lillet blanc. Furthermore, both St. Germain and Lillet blanc have similar color and alcohol content.
You can use St. Germain as a drink on its own or in cocktails that ask for Lillet blanc.
5. Amaro Angeleno
Amaro Angeleno is made in LA, USA, providing the orange and floral flavor notes and the usual bitter aftertaste as one would expect from amaro liqueur.
This drink is made with a combination of unaged Brandy and Pinot Grigio, which is then infused with herbs and citruses like gentian, thyme, and verbena. It has bright and floral flavors with orange notes and that rich, buttery texture, only revealing its bitter edge at the finish.
Amare Angeleno adds that attractive golden hue to cocktails, along with a smooth mouthfeel and citrus flavor that bring out the best in your drink.
We highly recommend this drink if you’re new to the bitter flavors of Amari and other cocktails or liqueurs. It’s also a good drink on its own as an aperitif or digestif.
While Amaro Angeleno is from Los Angeles, it isn’t produced on a wide scale compared to the other Lillet blanc substitutes here. It may be less accessible but more expensive than the alternatives.
6. Reserve Jean de Lillet
If you are more interested in using limited-release products to replace Lillet blanc, then we suggest trying the Reserve Jean De Lillet.
It’s an aperitif and aged French Sauternes in French oak barrels, infused with orange peels and cinchona.
Reserve Jean de Lillet has a bitter and sharp finish, which is closer to Kina Lillet in flavor. However, this liqueur has only limited quantities, so it’s not readily available. It might even be harder to look for than Lillet blanc!
7. Swedish Punsch
Swedish Punsch is a famous liqueur around Finland and Sweden. Don’t mistake this with traditional punch, which many people like spiking at parties!
Punsch is created by combining spirits and liquids such as brandy with tea, sugar, and water. Flavors vary based on the brand, but the drink tastes complex with spicy and sweet flavor notes.
You can drink Punsch neat or in cocktails like the Guldkant.
8. Salers Aperitif
Salers is known to be one of the oldest French aperitifs, made in 1885 in the Massif Central, a region in France.
The drink is made by macerating neutral spirits with Gentiana Lutea roots, a wild and butter herb growing in Auvergne, France. It’s then rested and aged in Limousin oak barrels.
This drink has a bittersweet and earthy flavor with lemon citrus notes, described as a springy spirit with fennel fronds and intense vegetal flavors at the finish.
Note that Salers has a higher alcohol content compared to the other liqueurs listed so that it can make a Vesper or other cocktails dry and savory with a strong alcoholic kick!
9. Angostura Orange Bitters
If you need a simple fix, then opt for Angostura bitters. It emboldens any cocktail, especially a Lillet blanc-based Vesper. Just a few dases of these bitters will improve your drink’s flavors.
Granted, the cocktail won’t look as clean and pristine as expected, but everyone will love how it tastes.
Learn more: What’s the Best Bitter Substitute?
Lillet Blanc Fun Facts
There is so much more to learn when it comes to Lillet blanc! Check out these interesting facts about the liqueur:
- Lillet blanc is also sometimes referred to as Lillet blonde. It was invested in Bordeaux, France, by Paul and Raymond Lillet. They created Lillet blanc after combining white Bordeaux wine, orange peel liqueur, and quinine liqueur, which was then aged in oak vats.
- Lillet Blanc has a refreshing flavor, combining crisp, herbal, and floral notes. You get an excellent combination of sweet and sour from the blend of dry, white wine with orange peel bitters and quinine. Some people even say that the liqueur has a subtle grape, kiwi, or raisin flavor.
- You can enjoy Lillet blanc in so many ways, even drinking it on its own or the rocks. Personally, we like topping our Lillet blanc with a splash of club soda or tonic, with an orange or lemon wedge as garnish.
- Lillet blanc is excellent for adding gin and tonic or various cocktail recipes like Vesper, French Connection, or Old Etonian.
- There are five types of Lillet from the Lillet company. Other than lillet blanc, there is Lillet Dry, Rouge, Rose, and Kina Lillet.
- You can use Lillet blanc as a sweet vermouth substitute for martinis.
- If push comes to shove, then there are other last-minute substitutes you can use as a Lillet blanc substitute, such as grape juice, lemon juice, sparkling wine, or any other French wine.
Our Favourite Lillet Blanc Cocktail Recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Wait, we’ve got a lot more in store for you! Here are frequently asked questions about Lillet blanc to lessen any confusion you have about what Lillet blanc is and its purposes:
Wrapping It Up
Just because you have no Lillet blanc at home doesn’t mean you need to ditch your cocktail recipe for something else!
Don’t be afraid to replace Lillet blanc for something else; you never know, the outcome might be even better.
We hope our list of the best Lillet blanc substitutes helped you out!
Try any of these liqueurs for your next meals or parties, and let us know what you think of them.