Lillet is a French aromatized, fortified wine made with wines from the Bordeaux region and macerated citrus liqueurs (made with orange peels from Spain, Morocco, and Haiti), quinine, spices, and herbs.
This aperitif wine contains 17% alcohol by volume which is higher than regular wine. There are 3 types of Lillet aromatized wines-Lillet Blanc, Lillet Rouge, and Lillet Rose.
The most known type of Lillet is Lillet Blanc. Its original name when it was first produced in 1887 was Kina Lillet and it was made with white wine, fruit liqueurs, and quinine.
Lillet Blanc is the substitute for Kina Lillet which is no longer produced. It has a unique, sweet, light, refreshing, slightly bitter taste with hints of honey, orange, and spring flowers.
Lillet Blanc is usually served chilled as an aperitif on ice with an orange slice or a peel of lime or lemon. It is also served mixed with sparkling water and as an ingredient in many different cocktails and drinks like Vesper, Old Etonian, 20th Century, Dirty Blonde, Sweet Basil, and others.
If you have run out of Lillet Blanc or you cant find it at the store you can use some other substitutes like Amaro Angeleno, Swedish Punsch, Kina L’avion d’Or, Reserve Jean De Lillet, Sweet white vermouth, Cocchi Americano, St Germain, Salers Aperitif, Angostura Orange Bitters and Amaro Averna.
Best Lillet Blanc Substitutes
Here are some of the drinks that have a similar taste to Lillet Blanc which you can use as its substitute. Some of them are better used on their own while the others can be used in cocktails or mixed with other drinks.
1. Amaro Angeleno
Amaro Angeleno is a good substitute for LilletBlanc if you are making cocktails. It is made with Pinot Grigio, unaged brandy, and orange peel infused with herbs like thyme, gentian, and verbena. Amaro Angeleno is made in Los Angeles and has a sweet-bitter taste and floral–orange flavor.
It has a beautiful golden color and doesn’t contain any artificial colors. Amaro Angeleno is a refreshing drink and pairs well with soda, Irish whisky, bourbon, gin, and aged rums, but it is also used on its own as an aperitif or digestif.
2. Swedish Punsch
Swedish Punsch is a type of liqueur popular in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and other Nordic countries. Traditionally this liqueur is made with Batavia Arrack (a type of Asian liquor made with red rice and sugarcane), Jamaican rum, citrus, and spices.
Its taste depends on the brand but generally, Swedish Punsch has a complex taste with sweet and spicy hints. Swedish Punsch is used on its own, or in cocktails.
3. Kina L’Avion d’Or
Kina L’Avion d’Or is a good substitute for Lillet Blanc because it has a similar but more bitter flavor. It is made with white wine, cinchona bark, wormwood, and orange peel.
This French aperitif has a deep golden color, sweet-bitter taste, and aroma of marmalade and quince. You can drink it on its own on ice, mix it with soda or tonic water or add it to cocktails like Vesper,20th Century, Corpse Reviver #2, and others.
4. Reserve Jean De Lillet
Reserve Jean De Lillet is also a very good substitute for Lillet Blanc but it is hard to find because it is a limited-release product.
This French aperitif is a blend of wines, orange liqueur, a blend of fruit liqueurs, and quinine that are aged in oak barrels for 12 months. It has an orange golden color, a rich, honey taste, and a bitter finish, You can drink it on its own but it is also good in cocktails.
5. Sweet White Vermouth
Sweet white vermouth is aromatized with flowers, dried fruits, barks, and roots, sweetened with honey, grape must, caramel or sugar, and fortified with a spirit like brandy. There are three types of white vermouth with different flavors you can choose from-Blanco, Blanc, and Bianco.
You can use Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth a refreshing, delicious wine with a bitter-sweet, floral taste as a substitute for Lillet Blanc.
This wine is sweeter than Lillet Blanc and has hints of quinine, sweet orange, licorice, and grapefruit. You can use it as a substitute for Lillet Blanc to make cocktails. But you need to use a smaller quantity and mix it with orange bitters to get a closer taste of Lillet Blanc.
6. Cocchi Americano
Cocchi Americano has a similar taste to Lillet Blanc because they both share few same ingredients.
This popular Italian aperitif is made with Moscato wine, orange peel, cinchona bark, gentian root, and other herbs and spices. It has a slightly sweet, bitter, and herbal taste and is usually used in many different cocktails or served on the rocks with soda and a slice of orange.
Cocchi Americano is the best substitute for Kina Lillet in Vesper and Corpse Reviver #2 because of the same bitter flavor that it gets from the cinchona bark. You can also use it as a substitute for Lillet Blanc but you will get a more bitter flavor than the one you get when using Lillet Blanc.
7. St Germain
St Germain is a French elderflower liqueur used in many different cocktails to add a sweet and floral taste. It is made with fresh hand-picked elderflower blossoms, pears, grapefruits, and other tropical fruits.
St Germain has a light, sweet, floral flavor with hints of pear, citrus, and passionfruit. It is great served on its own or in cocktails. It has a unique flavor that pairs well with champagne, gin, vodka, white wine, and whiskey. You can use St Germain as a substitute for Lillet Blanc if you want to have sweeter drinks.
8. Salers Aperitif
Salers Aperitif is an old French aperitif with a distinctive bitter-sweet, earthy flavor and hints of mint, citrus peel, and anise. One of the ingredients in this aperitif is the roots of the Gentiana Lutea herb which are responsible for its bitter flavor. But other herbs, spices, and neutral alcohol are also added.
Salers Aperitif is served on ice with lemon, or as a base for various cocktails. You can use it as a substitute for Lillet Blanc. But have in mind that it has a higher alcohol content and can make your cocktails drier and more alcoholic.
9. Angostura Orange Bitters
Angostura orange bitters are used as a substitute for orange zest in drinks and food recipes. They are made from the peels of high-quality Caribbean oranges, combined with local herbs and spices.
Angostura orange bitters are usually used with gin, white rum, vodka, whisky, and other clear spirits. Just combine sweet white vermouth with a few drops of Angostura orange bitters and they will give some bitterness and nice flavor to your drink.
10. Amaro Averna
Amaro Averna is a popular Italian liqueur made with different herbs, roots, and citrus rinds infused with spirit. It has a dark brown color, thick consistency, and a bittersweet flavor with hints of caramel, citrus, anise, sage, and rosemary.
Amaro Averna is digestif and is usually served neat on ice, mixed with soda, or in various cocktails. It pairs well with brandy, rum, whiskey, and tequila.
Amaro Averna has a different taste, color, and consistency than Lillet Blanc. But you can use it in your cocktails to try some new flavors.
How To Choose The Right Substitute?
Lillet Blanc is aromatized wine with a unique, refreshing taste that is not easy to substitute if you are used to its taste. If you are drinking Lillet Blanc on its own then there is not a good enough substitute you can use.
But if you want to make a cocktail you can use Amaro Angeleno, Reserve Jean De Lillet, Sweet white vermouth, or Cocchi Americano.
When you are choosing a substitute for Lillet Blanc it is important to use a drink that will have a similar sweet-bitter flavor. And that will pair well with the other ingredients in your cocktail.
Is Lillet Blanc A Dry Vermouth?
Lillet Blanc is not a dry Vermouth. It is a French aromatized wine made with wines from the Bordeaux region and macerated citrus liqueurs (made with orange peels from Spain, Morocco, and Haiti), quinine, spices, and herbs. It has a unique, sweet, light, refreshing, slightly bitter taste with hints of honey, orange, and spring flowers.
Can I Substitute Dry Vermouth For Lillet?
You can substitute Dry Vermouth for Lillet because they have a similar taste and color. You can use it in any cocktail that calls for Lillet and get a similar but less sweet taste.
Is Lillet Blanc Sweet Or Dry?
Lillet Blanc is sweet refreshing aromatized wine. It is usually served chilled as an aperitif on ice with an orange slice. Or a peel of lime or lemon.
You can also mix it with sparkling water. Or add it to many different cocktails and drinks such as Vesper, Old Etonian,20th Century, Dirty Blonde, Sweet Basil, and others.
What Is Lillet Blanc Taste Like?
Lillet Blanc has a sweet, light, refreshing, slightly bitter taste with hints of honey, orange, and spring flowers.
If you don’t have Lillet Blanc at home you can use some of these substitutes to make your favorite cocktail. Some of them don’t have the same flavor as Lillet Blanc. But they will bring new flavors that you might like.
I hope that you will find the right substitute that will make your drinks taste better. And you will not even notice that they are not made with Lillet Blanc.
What is the best substitute you are using instead of Lillet Blanc? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.