Light, bright, and super refreshing, my Lillet Spritz recipe is one I’ll be turning to all summer long. It's made with just 3 ingredients in less than 5 minutes, this delightful bubbly cocktail brings a whole new meaning to Happy Hour.
❓ What is a Spritz?
You've likely experienced — or at least heard of — the classic Italian Spritz, the bright, orange-colored cocktail that originated in Italy during the 19th century. Passion fruit limoncello spritzes, basil spritzes and amaro spritzes are some of my go-to summer cocktails because they are so darn delicious!
A spritz is a classic cocktail and is technically defined as a wine-based cocktail, and within the past few decades, there have been so many variations of spritz that can vary greatly in flavor. Ultimately, the goal is to experience a bubbly, refreshing drink to enjoy during happy hour or with any meal - truly the ideal summer drink!
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
In this French apéritif take on a spritz, I used bright, sweet, citrusy Lillet Blanc instead of the famously crimson red, bittersweet classic Aperol spritz. Then adding some orange slices, lemon slices and thyme - you end up with something akin to summer in cocktail glasses!
This delightfully refreshing cocktail recipe is not only delicious, it’s also a snap to make. All you need are three primary ingredients and either a cocktail shaker or a mason jar with a lid. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll have a tasty, elegant drink that will transport you to a beachside café in Marseilles.
One of the best things about spritz cocktails is their short ingredient lists. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- Lillet Blanc - Lillet Blanc is a French aperitif that's created from a blend of wines, variated fruits, and botanicals that sit in oak barrels over a period of time to age. It has a lovely floral, fruity and refreshing flavor and is easily one of my favorite aperitifs to incorporate into cocktails! It’s also delicious served over ice with a thick wedge of orange zest.
- Sparkling Wine - I prefer using a dry sparkling wine for this spritz cocktail, as the Lillet lends a rather sweet, rich quality. I'd highly recommend stashing your wine in the fridge overnight before using so your cocktail remains extra chilled.
- Citrus Slices & Fresh Thyme - Choose your own adventure with your garnish. I love using a slice of orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit! If you have some dried citrus slices on hand, they would also be a delightful addition as a garnish in your wine glass.
- Lemon Juice & Simple Syrup (Optional) - If you want a little extra zing and sweetener in your Lillet spritz, I suggest a squeeze of lemon and a dash of simple syrup. To get the most juice out of your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting.
📖 How to Make a Lillet Spritz
It truly takes less than five minutes to whip up this French Lillet Spritz with citrus notes:
Step 1: Add ice and Lillet into your wine glass.
Step 2: Pour the prosecco and a dash of soda water into the glass.
Step 3: Garnish with orange and lemon slices with a sprig of thyme!
Not interested in the addition of sparkling wine? You can always use club soda, soda water (or even a bit of tonic water to make a lillet tonic) to lighten the lillet spritz cocktail!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Citrus Basics: To prepare the citrus slices and thyme for this cocktail, I start by washing and oranges and lemons and pat them dry using a paper towel. Slice into thin rounds and set aside.
- Citrus Primer: If you want to add a bit of citrus juice to your spritz - when in doubt, always go for fresh!! Although buying small amounts of bottled lemon juice can be tempting, I would highly suggest buying fresh lemons instead. Fresh citrus juice is much brighter and has a different degree of intensity. If you’re curious, buy fresh lemons and bottled lemon juice and try them side by side! It’s a great way to understand the differences in your own taste buds.
- Learn the basic spritz ratio. You’ll want about 3 parts sparkling wine to 2 parts liqueur and 1 part soda plus a splash of acidity and plenty of ice. In this recipe, that’s 3 oz sparkling wine, 1 oz each amaro (for a total of 2 oz), 1 oz soda, and a round or wedge of whatever citrus you prefer.
💭 Recipe FAQs
What is the difference between Lillet Blanc, Rose, and Rouge? These three types of Lillet are quite different from one another. Blanc is made with white wine grapes, rouge is made with red wine grapes, and rose is made with a blend of both. Blanc has the brightest, most acidic flavor profile of the three, whereas rose and rouge are more berry-forward in their flavor profiles.
Yes! Treat Lillet like wine, because it is! Despite being fortified with some extra ABV which slows the oxidation process, Lillet will keep for longer if you keep it refrigerated. Once opened, Lillet will keep for about 2 months in the fridge - make my Basil Lillet Spritz with your extra Lillet if you'd like!
While thyme is my absolute favorite in this refreshing summer spritz, you can also give basil or rosemary a try.
While traveling throughout Italy, I saw Italians enjoying their colorful spritz cocktails on outdoor terraces with a side of nuts, or with a refreshing lunch/dinner! I imagine this spritz would be delightful alongside a refreshing Panzanella Salad, a Lavash Wrap or Summer Fruits covered with lime and tajin!
More Cocktails to Try this Summer!
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- Spritz Glasses
- Ice Cubes
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc
- 4 oz Sparkling Wine, chilled
- 1 oz Soda Water
- Citrus & Fresh Thyme Garnish , lemon slices & orange slices
- Add lillet, prosecco, and a dash of soda water into a glass filled with ice.4 oz Sparkling Wine, 1 oz Lillet Blanc, 1 oz Soda Water, Ice Cubes
- Garnish with the citrus of your choosing and a sprig of fresh thyme.Citrus & Fresh Thyme Garnish