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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lillet Royale: something different in summer coolers

The long, cool spring in Salt Lake City has produced a bumper crop of Mint in the yard of the Utah Mixologist (for information on growing your own mint, check out this article).  Now the problem is how to make good use of all that mint in your cocktails.  You can, of course, try the warm weather classic Mojito, an always delicious blend of Rum and mint.  Then there’s the springtime classic, the Mint Julep that you probably enjoyed while watching the Kentucky Derby.  The more adventurous may have tried David Wondrich’s variation on the Mint Julep, the Prescription Julep, a sublime combination of Rye Whiskey and Cognac.  There’s also the Blueberry Mint Cooler, a refreshing blend of Vodka and (of course) mint.

These tried and true cocktail recipes are great summer coolers, but what if you’re ready for something different? And what if you have a bottle of Lillet Blanc® in your bar that you’re working your way through at, let’s say, half an ounce at a time making Vesper Martinis?  And what if you have a load of fresh mint?  Maybe it’s time for a Lillet Royale.  The lime juice offsets the sweetness of the Lillet while the Angostura adds a little bitters to the herbal tones of the Lillet.  A great variation on this cooler is to leave out the ginger ale and serve it in an Old Fashioned glass.

Lillet Royale

3 oz Lillet Blanc
½ oz freshly squeezed Lime juice
1 dash Angostura® Bitters
5 fresh Mint leaves
Ginger Ale (cold)

Pour the Lillet Blanc into a shaker half full of ice and add the bitters and lime juice.  Shake briskly while humming La Marseillaise until the shaker gets frosty, then let it rest.  Crush the mint leaves, rub them around the inside rim of a chilled Collins glass, and drop them in.  Fill the Collins glass 2/3 full of ice cubes, strain in the contents of the shaker, give the glass a quick stir to mix in the mint leaves, and top off the glass with cold Ginger Ale.  Garnish with a lime wheel, a sprig of mint, or both.

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