lillet roseMaison Lillet, producers of the French aperitifs Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge, announced their first new product in 50 years: Lillet Rosé.

Lillet Rosé has just launched on the public market, but it was introduced to the industry last year, garnering some serious recognition: it was awarded a Chairman’s Trophy at the 2011 Ultimate Beverage Challenge, and a 94/Excellent Rating and a Gold Medal in the 2011 San Francisco Spirits Competition.

Lillet Rosé is created from a blend of the red and white Grand Cru Bordeaux wine varietals used to produce Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge. Those varietals include Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatel, the combination of which provides the structure, fruitiness and floral bouquet. The wine is then married with orange liqueurs crafted from sweet orange peels from Spain and bitter orange peels from Haiti, and a secret blend of fruit liqueurs. A small amount of Peruvian quinine is added to the final blend, and the rose color is achieved by adding additional red fruit liqueurs and a very small amount of Lillet Rouge.

All that equals Lillet Rosé, which is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $19.99. Mix it into cocktails (using it in place of vermouth is a good starting point), or sip it over ice with a slice of grapefruit.

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