As we discussed in the recipe for my cocktail creation called the Lillet Tomlin, Lillet Blanc is a French aperitif white wine with hints of citrus and spice, and I'm quite fond of it. Although many consider it to be a variety of vermouth, I tend to put it in a category all by itself. It's not as herbal as vermouth, but that said it is an excellent subsitute for white vermouth in any cocktail that calls for it. There's also a classic method of consuming Lillet, simply chilled with a slice of orange, either straight up or on the rocks. (This is, in fact, the favorite drink of one Dr. Hannibal Lecter.)
I received an email from a fellow New Orleanian who told me that he had worked in a variety of French Quarter drinking establishments. He filled me in on an old French Quarter version of this classic that's simple but truly luscious.
Pour liberal amounts of chilled Lillet into a cocktail glass, then flame the orange rind over the glass -- squeeze the rind next to a match and the oil will spray out and ignite. That burnt residue of orange oil will flavor the cocktail. Drop the rind into the glass and ... voilà!
- 2-1/2 to 3 ounces Lillet Blanc, chilled until very cold
- One strip of orange peel, 2" by 1/2", white pith removed
Kevin comments, "Many a night I plied the bar trade and learned a new cocktail. Most I have never seen in any book, yet they were very popular in the Quarter. Only in the Vieux Carré do so many consume so much."
Yeah you rite. Thanks, bra! Cheers!
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)