Harry Craddock: Lillet Brand Ambassador

Perhaps this exchange will amuse you as much as it did me…

Jared,

It seems like you have some insight into Harry Craddock’s recipe books.

First, do you know, as we have inferred, if the Corpse Reviver No 2 is
one of his original cocktails?

Second, do you know if the recipe dates from his time in NY or if it
shows up after his move to the UK?

Lastly, can you think of any instances of Kina Lillet/Lillet showing
up in American cocktail books before prohibition?

Some questions we all have regarding Lillet!

All the best,

Erik Ellestad

Three great questions. I’ll take a look through the files and get back to you.

Cheers,
Jared

Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller
Mixellany Limited

Thanks Jared!

I took a look through Hugo Ensslin this AM and found no Kina Lillet/Lillet.

Plenty of Dubonnet and other more esoteric ingredients & liqueurs, but no Kina Lillet.

Also, interestingly, though I have identified sources for many of the recipes in the Savoy Cocktail Book, (Ensslin, Thomas, McElhone, Judge Jr, etc.) up to now, none of the Savoy Cocktail Book Kina Lillet/Lillet recipes have yet been identified as coming from any other source.

Hmmm, I guess Craddock was not just the world’s largest Hercules and Caperitif fan at the time, but maybe the world’s first Lillet Brand Ambassador.

;-)

Erik E.

Truer than you realize. Craddock appeared in 1930s ads for Lillet in a UK trade magazine.

Cheers,
Jared

Then, as now, it seems, finding brand name ingredients in a cocktail book recipe is generally more of an indication of an advertising or sponsorship deal with the author or publisher, than anything else.

Previous Lillet Posts:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Kina Quest IV: Enuff Iz Enuff

Kina Lillet Clone

Kina Lillet, 2012

Lillet Vermouth

Lillet Vermouth

In the previous Lillet Post, Kina Lillet, 2012, we talked a bit about David Embury.

His two quotes which contributed to the discussion were as follows:

“My own favorite French vermouth today is Lillet (pronounced lee’lay) made by Lillet Freres of Podensac, France. Do not confuse it with the Lillet aperitif made by the same company and originally sold under the name of Kina Lillet.”

“In commenting on Lillet vermouth, I warned not to confuse this brand of vermouth with the aperitif wine, originally known as Kina Lillet but now called simply Lillet. If, by accident, you get a bottle of the wine instead of the vermouth, what do you do with it? Well, here are a few of the old-time recipes using Kina Lillet. I definitely do not recommend any of them.”

It now appears that the Lillet company DID produce a vermouth during the middle part of the 20th Century.

Frogprincesse, again, in the eGullet.org forums:

Page 207 it explains that, at some point after 1945, there was indeed another type of Lillet, “Lillet dry type canadien” at 18°. The bottle had a green label similar to Martini extra dry. It was an aperitif based on French vermouths such as Noilly Prat. So clearly David Embury was referring to this French vermouth-style Lillet in the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948).

So, what does that mean?

Well, first, and most practical, if there are any recipes where Embury calls for Lillet other than in those “old-time recipes”, you should instead use Noilly Prat vermouth.

On the other hand, it means those comments from Embury are of no consequence regarding any inferences about the nature of Kina Lillet, Lillet Blanc, or Lillet in the US before prohibition, the UK during prohibition, or the US after prohibition.

However, the main question remains:

What version of Lillet would have been available in America before prohibition and in England during prohibition? And, ultimately, does the current product reflect the Lillet that might have been available at either of those times?

Previous Lillet Posts:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Kina Quest IV: Enuff Iz Enuff

Kina Lillet Clone

Kina Lillet, 2012

Bush Ranger Cocktail

Bush-Ranger Cocktail

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1/2 Caperitif (1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc)
1/2 Bacardi Rum (1 1/2 oz Santa Teresa Gran Reserva)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with orange zest.)

Usually, Lillet and Orange are flavors I enjoy, however, with the rum here, my embellishment doesn’t quite work. Also, as usual, I have no idea how close a substitution Lillet blanc is for the defunct South African aperitif wine, Caperitif.

I like the more expensive Santa Teresa 1796 rum; but, remain kind of unimpressed by the Gran Reserva. It’s just not got a lot of character. Also, I think my Lillet is getting old and needs to be replaced. When the cocktail warmed up, I definitely detected a little “refrigerator” taste. I will probably re-try this cocktail at a later date with a different rum and some new aperitif wine.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Biltong Dry Cocktail

Biltong Dry Cocktail

1 Dash Orange Bitters.
1/4 Dubonnet. (1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/4 Gin. (1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 oz Lillet Dry)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, I can tell you that Biltong (wikipedia link) is a type of dried meat, (beef, game or ostrich,) originally made by Dutch “Pioneers” in South Africa.

Per cocktaildb, I’ve again substituted Lillet Blanc for the defunct South African aperitif wine, Caperitif.

The Biltong cocktail is alright. Pretty decent low alcohol before dinner drink, I should imagine. An olive would probably be a better garnish than the orange zest I used.

After drinking it, I kept thinking it would be better as a long drink over ice or with a splash of soda.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Bich’s Special Cocktail

Bich’s Special Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/3 Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Lillet Blanc)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Beefeater’s Gin)

Shake (Stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

This one was nice. Using Beefeater’s, it really showcases the flavor of Lillet more than any other cocktail I’ve tried. It is a surprisingly complex cocktail for such simple ingredients.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Abbey Cocktail

Inspired by my friend who is attempting to cook his way through “The Joy of Cooking” from begining to end, I thought I might try the same with a cocktail book in the hopes of gaining a larger perspective into the world of cocktails.

“The Savoy Cocktail Book” was one of the first major Cocktail books published in the 30s, so it has always been a go to book for me. It represents a link between the old world of 19th century cocktails and the new world of 20th Century cocktails.

I’ll try to make as many as I reasonably can with what ingredients are currently available and post pictures.

I will work on my velvet light box, I promise.

Abbey Cocktail.

Abbey Cocktail.

First up is “The Abbey“.

1/2 dry gin (1/5 oz. Beefeater’s Gin)
1/4 Lillet (3/4 oz.)
1/4 orange juice (3/4 oz.)
dash Angostura Bitters

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

I really like the translucent orange color of the cocktail. It almost seems to glow from within. Flavor is light, orangey and a little bit bitter. Like other Lillet based cocktails I’ve had in the past, I don’t seem to notice that I’m drinking spirits. Something about Lillet seems to transform gin into spring water. Could be dangerous.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.