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Best Substitutes for Lillet Blanc

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

While any bartender or wine dealer can spout off a long list of Lillet blanc substitute, we have reduced the list to the five choices: sweet white vermouth, St. Germaine, Amaro Angeleno, Cocchi Americano, and Kina L’Avion d’Or. You can find these five alternatives at liquor stores or order them from online vendors for more convenience. 

What Is Lillet Blanc Made Of?

Lillet Blanc (sometimes referred to as “Lillet blonde”) is a French wine and citrus liqueur blend with a colorful past. Named for its founding family, Lillet Blanc is a newer version of the original formula, Lillet Kina, which the two Lillet brothers invented in 1872 in the world-famous Bordeaux wine region of France.

Paul and Raymond Lillet combined a white Bordeaux wine with orange peel liqueur and quinine liqueur, aging the blend in oak vats to market as Lillet Kina.

Lillet Blanc
Lillet Blanc

You can buy Lillet Blanc in wine and liquor stores or order the aperitif at a restaurant with appetizers as was its original purpose. If you cannot find Lillet Blanc at your local store or forget to pick up a bottle, the five Lillet blonde alternatives we list below make excellent replacements.

We chose the five beverages on our list per what we believe to be the most important criteria: taste, cocktail recipe, and availability.

While some of the substitutes on our list are better alternatives to use in a cocktail, other subs are themselves aperitifs that you can serve without other mix-ins over ice.

1. St Germain

St Germain is the best lillet blanc substitute
St. Germain

St. Germaine, similar to Lillet Blanc, originates in France. It is a liqueur extracted from elderflowers indigenous to the French Alps. The flowers are macerated and mixed with sugars and distilled to create a highly aromatic, floral liqueur that makes a great Lillet Blanc alternative.

You can drink St. Germaine as an aperitif, but it is more commonly featured in cocktails. St. Germaine is considerably sweeter than Lillet Blanc, which you may prefer if you aren’t a fan of the more bitter aspects of aperitifs.

Also, because St. Germaine is derived from a flower, the flavoring is less fruity and more floral. Still, St. Germaine’s sweet and floral combination can emulate sweeter fruits such as pears or lychee as opposed to the more acidic citrus bitters characteristic of Lillet Blanc.

Due to its sweeter nature, you could use a smaller proportion of St. Germaine to replace Lillet Blanc in a cocktail recipe or increase a more bitter ingredient to balance out the sweetness.

St. Germaine is a common liqueur that you’ll see at most cocktail bars or high-end restaurant bars. You can also purchase St. Germaine at a liquor store or order it online. However, take note that It is considerably more expensive than Lillet Blanc.

2. Cocchi Americano

Cocchi Americano
Cocchi Americano

Cocchi Americano is an Italian aperitif made from a blend of the sweet Italian Moscato wine, quinine liqueur, orange peel, gentian root, and additional spices.

It is an excellent substitute for Lillet Blanc because it shares many of the same ingredients, and consequently, the same aromatic flavor profile. That said, Cocchi Americano is much more bitter than Lillet Blanc, so when using it in cocktails, you can increase the proportion of sweet additives like fruit juices or simple syrup.

It is firstly an aperitif, so you can serve it over ice but just be prepared for a more powerful blast of bitters. You might want to sip it while nibbling on light appetizers to lessen the blow if you aren’t the biggest bitters fan.

You can buy Cocchi Americano in wine and liquor stores or online. The good news is it is comparable in price or cheaper than a bottle of Lillet Blanc.

3. Kina L’Avion d’Or

Kina L'Avion d'Or is also an excellent lillet blonde alternative
Kina L’Avion d’Or

Kina L’Avion d’Or, French for the “golden airplane bitter,” is a French aperitif that more aptly resembles the Lillet family’s original Lillet Kina as it contains a hefty portion of quinine liqueur.

Also, like Lillet Kina and Lillet Blanc, Kina L’Avion d’Or consists of white wine from a different French region along with orange peel and wormwood.

With marmalade and quince fruity tones and a nice sweetness, Kina L’Avion d’Or is only slightly more bitter than Lillet Blanc. We, therefore, consider it the best Lillet Blanc alternative in terms of taste.

You can enjoy it as an aperitif, and it tastes just as delicious as Lillet Blanc in popular Lillet Blanc cocktails like the Corpse Reviver 2.

The company that makes Kina L’Avion d’Or is called Tempus Fugit, and you can find this more exotic aperitif in high-end liquor stores or bars. You can also order it online. It is less widely available than Lillet Blanc, and it’s twice as expensive.

4. Sweet White Vermouth

Sweet White Vermouth
Sweet White Vermouth

Sweet white vermouth is the most common and widely available Lillet Blanc alternative on our list. There are numerous types of white vermouth, some originating in France and others in Italy.

Vermouth is another aromatized wine that distinguishes itself from Lillet Blanc due to its high sugar content and unaged alcohol additive. You’ll see a range of vermouth offerings that range from dry to sweet.

To best emulate Lillet Blanc’s bitter-sweetness, we recommend Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth because it lies right in the middle of the dry to sweet scale and contains citrus liqueurs such as grapefruit and orange. It also has floral liqueurs, quinine, and licorice.

Sweet vermouth is much sweeter than Lillet Blanc and tastes great as a sipping wine, but if you want to use it as a Lillet Blanc replacement in cocktails, we recommend using a small portion and adding a splash of orange bitters.

Can’t find vermouth? See vermouth substitutes.

5. Amaro Angeleno

Amaro Angeleno
Amaro Angeleno

As apparent in its name, Amaro Angeleno is a Los Angeles, CA aromatized wine made from a blend of Californian Pinot Grigio, unaged brandy, and herbal and citrus infusions.

Amaro is an Italian digestive beverage, that is a wine to be enjoyed after a meal to aid in digestion. You can still enjoy it as an aperitif, and its flavor profile of orange and verbena resembles Lillet Blanc in bitterness and fruity undertones.

Even though it’s from the U.S, Amaro Angeleno isn’t produced on as massive a scale as many of the other wines or spirits on our list and is thus more expensive and not as readily available in bars and liquor stores.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Lillet Blanc taste like?

Lillet Blanc tastes bitter and sweet as the blend of dry, white wine combines with orange-peel and green-orange peel bitters along with the classic quinine additive for extra bitterness. Still, in comparison with the original Lillet Kina, Lillet Blanc is considerably sweeter and fruitier.

Is Lillet Blanc a cooking wine?

No. Lillet Blanc is a very dry and bitter blend of wines and liquors not meant for use in cooking, but instead to accompany starters like olives or cheese and crackers or to enjoy sans food to spark your appetite in preparation for a meal.

What types of alcohol are in Lillet Blanc?

Lillet Blanc’s main ingredient is a French dry and sweet white wine known as Semillon blended with citrus liqueurs in a ratio of 85:15. There is also a splash of quinine for added bitterness, although to a much lesser degree than the original Lillet aperitif.

What are the most popular cocktails that feature Lillet Blanc?

The most popular cocktails that feature Lillet Blanc as a star ingredient are:

1. Lillet Blanc Vive- Lillet Blanc, tonic water, garnish of cucumber, mint, and strawberry slice
2. A Corpse Reviver No. 2- Lillet Blanc, gin, Cointreau, absinthe, lemon juice  
3. Vesper- Lillet Blanc, gin, vodka, lemon peel
4. Rising Star-Lillet Blanc, vodka, grapefruit juice
5. Sunday in the Park- Lillet Blanc, Angostura bitters, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup

What does aperitif mean?

Aperitif refers to an alcoholic beverage that you drink before a meal or with appetizers to help invigorate an appetite and open the palate for the main course.

How many varieties of Lillet are there?

There are five varieties: Kina Lillet, Lillet Dry, Lillet Rouge, Lillet Blanc, and Lillet Rose. Kina Lillet is no longer available as the Lillet company discontinued it in the ‘80s.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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