Fresh citrus juice, Lillet Rosé and prosecco make a pretty punch for winter months with notes of floral, sweet, and bitter to please all palates.
Jay and I have been drinking a little less booze as of late, and as a result, I’ve become a bit of a lightweight. For this reason, I’ve been appreciating wine-based spirits and cocktails because: more drink, less drunk.
One of my very favorites is Lillet, a French aperitif that tastes a bit like orange zest, honeysuckle, and ripe apricots. Lillet comes in three colors – blanc, rosé and rouge – and is made from a blend of wines from the Burgundy region mixed with citrus liqueurs. This fortified wine clocks in at 17% alcohol content, just a hair boozier than regular wine.
In any color, Lillet needs little more than a few ice cubes and a twist of lemon to gussy it up. But when citrus fruits of all sizes, shapes and colors are tumbling into the market, a blend of their juices plays up Lillet’s bitter/sweet/tart tastes, and prosecco adds boozy fizz.
I mixed up a few pitchers of this drink on New Years Eve at an intimate cocktail party thrown by my dear friend Gizella, a gal who also prefers the grape to stronger spirits. The punch was so well-liked that guests ended up guzzling a whole bottle of Lillet mixed with citrus juice and 2 bottles of bubbly over the course of the evening, thinking they were getting wasted when in reality they each only drank the equivalent of a mimosa or two.
Our wild evening ended at about 9:30 pm, when, exhausted from too much Just Dance, we called it a night. I guess that’s how we roll these days.
I couldn’t wait to mix up another batch of these, and this past Monday was the perfect occasion. My dear friend Amelia came over to celebrate the end of her job before her impending move across the country in 2 short weeks. Amelia has been my very close friend for the past 10 years, ever since we worked together at a small organic bakeshop on Potrero Hill, and I can’t imagine what life will be like when she leaves.
Cocktails were in order. But not-too-boozy ones, since we were day-drinking. Sparkling Citrus, Lillet & Prosecco Punch to the rescue.
This drink gets sweetness from Lillet, blood orange, and tangerine, tartness from grapefruit and lemon (Meyer and regular, if you’ve got ’em), and a sparkle party from Prosecco. Don’t skip the citrus rounds and wedges in the drink – their bitter skin and pith infuse an extra layer of flavor.
This pretty pink drink would be just the thing for any wintery festivity (Galentine’s Day anyone?), the bright colors and flavors bringing a bit of sunshine into these dark months.
Also! I wrote a piece for Aida Mollenkamp’s Salt & Wind on my One Perfect Day in San Francisco. Click here to read.
Many thanks to Grace Green Beauty, Cogworks, and A Purified Life Superfood Chocolate for sponsoring the blog this month.
- 1 cup strained citrus juice (I used 1 each: Meyer lemon, tangerine, blood orange, pink grapefruit, plus a squeeze of regular lemon juice to sharpen the flavors)
- 1 cup Lillet Blanc or Lillet Rosé
- 1-2 cups prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
- citrus rounds and wedges, for garnish
- Combine the citrus juice, Lillet and 1 cup of the prosecco in a large pitcher half-filled with ice cubes and some citrus rounds and wedges. Give a good stir and taste for balance, adding more lemon or grapefruit if the drink is too sweet, more Lillet or blood orange if you want more sweetness. Strain or scoop into cups and serve with ice or without. For extra sparkle, top off glasses with an extra pour of prosecco.