I’m a big fan of making cocktails with wine (then you can drink more of them, right?), so when I heard about the existence of Lillet—admittedly late in the game—I was pretty thrilled. Available in red, white and rosé varieties, it’s perfect for sipping on its own. I like the white (Lillet Blanc) in the traditional French style, over ice and garnished with some citrus slices to bring out the subtle orange flavor. But a Lillet cocktail? That’s genius.
Peaches and apricots are absolutely perfect this time of year, and they’re so great in so many things—smoothies, ice cream, cobblers, pies—but no one ever uses them in cocktails! Which is a shame, because they meld with so many flavors: citrus, berries, vanilla, even cinnamon. The peach and apricot juice in this cocktail serves as a sort of liaison between the orange-y flavor of the wine and the warmth of the cardamom (which is legitimately one of the best things in the whole world). It all gets topped off with some sparkling water for a refreshing fizz. It’s really important that all the ingredients be chilled in this drink. Ice won’t ruin it, but it’s better without.
Next time you see peaches on sale, grab a bunch and juice them for drinks. Peach juice is amazing as the liquid base in smoothies, too. The recipe gives instructions to make a cup of the cardamom-infused sugar; you can scale it down following that ratio, or simply keep the rest on hand for other cocktails (or sprinkling on baked goods or oatmeal). It’ll keep indefinitely in a dry, enclosed container, just like regular sugar.
- 1 cup coarse sugar (whatever you would normally use for rimming cocktail glasses)
- 20-30 whole cardamom seeds, depending on how strong of a flavor you want
- 3 ounces Lillet blanc
- 1 ounce peach juice (freshly juiced if possible) or nectar
- ½ ounce apricot juice (freshly juiced if possible) or nectar
- 2 to 3 ounce Peach-Pear LaCroix sparkling water OR Seagram's White Peach Seltzer
- Mix together cardamom seeds and sugar and store in an airtight container. The cardamom flavor will get more intense the longer it sits. Start steeping the sugar a couple hours before you make the drinks, or let it sit for days (or even weeks) to let it get stronger.
- Get rim of lowball glass slightly wet (using water or citrus juice), then dip in cardamom sugar. In a separate glass, mix peach juice, apricot juice and Lillet blanc; pour carefully into serving glass. Top off with LaCroix/Seagrams and serve.