As great as it is to be invited to a friend's house for a classy dinner, if they know their booze like the back of their hand, it can be a little bit stressful when it comes to choosing a bottle to gift them. Don't panic—we have a one-size-fits-all solution. A bottle of Lillet is a versatile, boozy blessing that any host is sure to be impressed by.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone has that one token friend who is a major food and wine aficionado, and this relationship inherently comes with its fair share of perks. Not only can you call them when you’re not sure what to do with the raw chicken you just bought, or if you can substitute butter for shortening, or if you actually need to put your white wine in the refrigerator, but they also more than likely love to invite you over for impressive, home-cooked meals (or at least they should, because friendship).
As great as it is to be welcomed into the home of your all-knowing, food-inclined friend for a complimentary night of unabashed indulgence, this invitation comes with one small stipulation—what the HECK are you supposed to bring them as a host/hostess gift?! If it’s for anybody else, this is as easy as swinging by Trader Joe’s on the way there and picking out the first decent-looking bottle that you see. That last-minute, technique is not going to fly with this friend, though. They don’t drink their wine out of plastic cups or choose their bottles based on the prettiest label or the cheapest price, so you need to find a bottle that is going to please their fine tastes. Rather than having a meltdown in front of the kind clerk who works at your local package store (because he/she doesn’t know what your friend wants, either), rely on one wine, and one wine only—lillet.
Not only will this tasteful choice impress your guest, but it’s something that all palates can enjoy, no matter the level of culinary expertise. So what is this stuff, you ask? Lillet is a French aperitif wine. Say whaaaaat? Basically, it’s a highly aromatized wine that is made up of Bordeaux region grapes, and infused with sweet fruit liqueurs and quinine (the stuff that makes tonic water slightly bitter). This stuff is different than other wines you might just casually pour a glass of, as it’s more comparable to something like Vermouth or any other kind of fortified wine. Typically, you’re going to want to mix it or dilute it a bit. It’s available in white, rosé, and red. For gifting purposes, I’d recommend sticking to white (Lillet Blanc), as it’s the flavor that’s the the most user-friendly and adaptable, but if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, go for the rosé. Showing up with a bottle of Lillet is a clear indication to your host that you are a seasoned booze veteran who understands the complex world of spirits. Congratulations, you class act.
Related: 7 Tips for Ordering Wine Like a Pro
Despite the fact that your host possesses an infinite source of food wisdom (so they’ll already know what to do when you hand them a bottle of lillet), here’s a couple ideas of what to do with this versatile wine just in case you want to flaunt your newfound knowledge. For an easy, fresh cocktail, serve it with a splash of seltzer, a spritz of fresh citrus, and maybe even a citrus peel or sprig of fresh thyme because that’s how you do business. For a darker take, mix it with cognac, a swirl of honey syrup, and a dash of bitters for a cocktail with warm notes of vanilla and caramel. Take advantage of the summer’s bountiful produce and pour it over fresh peaches or berries for an after-dinner treat. Whatever you choose, this delightful, not-too-bitter wine is just as refreshing when it’s simply poured over ice. What I’m trying to say is, get excited to be invited back really, really soon.
Ready to get a bottle? Buy it here.