Kina Lillet returns in Quantum of Solace

Kina LilletBond’s request for a martini that included Kina Lillet in Casino Royale saw a surge in demand for the product upon the film’s release in 2006, deluging the tiny company’s staff with enquiries from all over the world.

With Kina Lillet making a return in Quantum of Solace, there is every indication that demand is just as strong, if not stronger, than after the release of Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond.

In fact the company dropped Kina from its name years ago and added Lillet Rouge in the 1960s, at which point the original product was renamed Lillet Blanc. The latter was reformulated for the modern palate in the mid 1980s when the quantity of quinine was reduced, and with it went its bitter aftertaste.

Lillet is set among the vineyards of Podensac, in the Bordeaux region of France and sells some 750,000 bottles per year, roughly half in France and the remainder is exported to Japan, the US, Canada and Spain.

The company was founded in 1872 by the Lillet brothers and remained in the hands of the family until 1985, when it was taken over by Bruno Borie, a Bordeaux wine merchant. Borie modernised the company’s operations and it was under his hands that the product was reformulated. It remained under control of the Borie family until earlier this year, when it was taken over by the Pernod Ricard group.

Lillet is an wine and fruit based aperitif and often served chilled with a slice of orange, but it is also an essential ingredient in the cocktail that James Bond later names the Vesper. The recipe, as given by Ian Fleming, is as follows:

  • 3 measures of Gordon’s gin
  • 1 measure of vodka
  • ½ a measure of Kina Lillet
  • Shake until ice cold and serve in a deep champagne goblet with a large thin slice of lemon peel

Where to find Lillet

Despite the increase in popularity of Lillet since Casino Royale, it remains surprisingly difficult to find.
You can order online from the sources below, or contact Lillet direct via their website to find a local supplier.

Buy Lillet online – UK supplier

Buy Lillet online – UK supplier

Buy Lillet online – USA

“The James Bond Cocktail Bar” ebook

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David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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