I realize this is hardly a cocktail. But it is hands down my favorite pre-dinner drink. It is especially tasty in the summer, but it can work all year round. I am surprised more people don't know about it and more bars don't serve it. Everyone I know who has tried it loves it.
Lillet Blanc, in case you're wondering, is an aperitif wine. It is made from a blend of wine (white bordeaux), liqueurs (mostly orange brandy), herbs and fruits. The brandy is made with sweet oranges from the south of Spain, bitter oranges from Haiti and green oranges from Morocco and Tunisia. It is surprisingly light.
Lillet (pronounced lee-LAY) originated in the French village of Podensac and has been made since the late 1800s. It has the loveliest golden color and flavors of candied orange, honey, pine resin, lime and fresh mint. I almost always serve it well chilled in one of these...with a slice of orange. If you want a little lighter drink, serve it on the rocks with a splash of soda.
When I drink it (which is often), I always feel like I am sitting in a French seaside cafe having a leisurly lunch. Maybe you will too.
By the way, rumor has it that James Bond preferred Lillet to vermouth in his Martinis. Oh, James!