Lillet has been made in the petit village of Podensac in the heart of the Bordeaux region. Lovingly crafted by a team of just 10 people, the closely guarded recipe for our iconic apéritifs is as much an art as it is science.
The Three Stages of a Traditional, Environmentally Responsible Process
Lillet is a subtle blend of wines and fruit infusions, the result of traditional craftsmanship and of expertise dating back nearly 150 years.
The Bordeaux region’s winemaking heritage, together with the fruit infusions at the heart of Maison Lillet’s expertise since the 19th century, ensure the excellent quality of our aperitifs.
In preparing Lillet, we take particular care over the sourcing of our ingredients. One important objective we have is to select more wines from vineyards that use environmentally friendly practices.
Meticulous In Our Choice of Wines
As an apéritif, Lillet is made to bring out the very best in the wines we use to create it. All of our ingredients are carefully selected from the grapes that make the wine to the fruits we use to create our macerations that are blended with the wine
We choose only French wines, most of them made by growers in the very region Lillet is made. To strengthen these links and our involvement in the local economy, we have entered into partnerships and vineyard contracts with local producers since 2018. This mutually beneficial initiative provides our partners with long-term income while ensuring our supply of quality wines.
Traditionally Prepared Fruit Infusions
From Lillet’s inception, the fruits and peels that go into it have been carefully chosen for their freshness and aromatic intensity. The sweet oranges come from Turkey, Morocco and Spain. The bitter oranges come from Haiti. Cinchona comes from South America.
The fruits and fruit peels are cold-soaked separately in alcohol. After several weeks, once the flavor has been extracted, the liquid is removed and the fruits are pressed.
The leftover fruits and peels are collected and taken for composting less than 30 kilometers away.
Looking back at 150 YEARS OF HISTORY
A Maison founded in 1872
Brothers Raymond and Paul Lillet, liqueur makers and fine wine and spirit merchants, founded the Maison Lillet in Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux, in 1872. It was in 1887 that they created Bordeaux’s first and truly unique aperitif: Lillet.
Mid 30’s a small business with big ambitions starts exporting
Lillet found popularity in post-World War I Britain during the 1930s and 40s. The brand continued to grow into the 1950s in London’s leading bars. This was the world that gave rise to The Vesper, James Bond’s legendary cocktail based on Lillet. Author Ian Fleming discovered the aperitif and included it in his book Casino Royale.
At the same time, the Bordeaux aperitif was also expanding in America and became a firm favorite in New York’s fashionable bars.
In 1962, Lillet Rouge was created for an American market with a taste for red wine.
Lillet today and its success
The search for quality products made using real ingredients and traditional methods has brought renewed awareness and success to apéritifs of character such as Lillet.
In 2011, Lillet Rosé was launched, building on the success of rosé wines globally.