Celebrate 2nd Annual National Aperitif Day With Recipes From Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

lillet-blanc-cocktails Maison Lillet, the celebrated vintner in Bordeaux, is continuing to bring awareness to an often under-the-radar libation – the Aperitif – by declaring the third Thursday of May, this year May 16, 2013, National Aperitif Day.

Inspired by the enthusiasm surrounding the inaugural holiday in 2012, this year, Maison Lillet has collaborated with celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to create unique amuse bouche recipes, one tailor-made for each variant,  that highlight how Lillet pairs with food and the synergistic flavors that help to whet the appetite.

On May 16th, Maison Lillet is calling on all aperitif aficionados as well as newcomers around the country to take part in the custom and the spirit of the traditional French aperitif hour, and share a glass of Lillet with friends. Celebrants are invited to follow the day’s festivities, which will be happening at French-inspired bistros nationwide by following Lillet on Twitter at: @LadyLillet, tweeting their own aperitif occasion with the hashtag: #Lillet #AperitifDay and posting photos and anecdotes to Lillet’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Lillet.

Make this year’s celebration even more elegant by serving Zakarian’s custom hors d’oeuvres like marinated watermelon with olives paired with Lillet Rouge, white gazpacho with Lillet Blanc, or oysters on the half shell with Lillet Rosé. *Recipes and images can be found at the end of this release. Lillet has also created specialty National Aperitif Day cocktails such as the Red & Stormy simply made with Lillet Rouge and ginger beer, the Liberté cocktail, a refreshing blend of Lillet Blanc and fruity iced tea, and the Lillet Rosé Spritzer made with Lillet Rosé and fresh berries.

“We’re excited to bring a renewed focus to an extremely elegant, time-honored tradition,” said Lillet Brand Ambassador, Amanda Boccato. “Beginning a meal with a small bite and delicious ‘before dinner’ drink is a wonderful custom that deserves attention.  We hope it continues for generations to come.”

Aperitif is a French word, from the Latin verb aperire, meaning “to open.”  It is mainly used to describe liquid refreshment, but also can refer to food and snacks, such as amuse bouche, crackers, paté or cheese, that open up the palate and create an appetite.  In an effort to gauge awareness among consumers surrounding this concept of the aperitif, Lillet conducted a country-wide survey earlier this year.

It was found that the majority of consumers view aperitifs in a positive light, and as part of an occasion: to celebrate a special and/or elegant moment, and family and friend gatherings. Furthermore, the study showed that two thirds of those asked are aware of aperitifs, which is considerably higher than digestif awareness.

Overall, the survey supports that an aperitif is the preferred drink of choice to serve before a meal, especially in the spring and summer, and that many of the Lillet-aware drinkers have incorporated aperitifs into their daily routines, enjoying them 2-3 times per week.  By this we can infer that there is a loyal aperitif contingent, who truly enjoy aperitifs and drink them often as part of a regular routine, and that the majority of aperitif drinkers feel that pairing an elegant assortment of hors d’oeuvres is most appropriate when serving an aperitif.

Whether you are whipping up our delicious amuse bouche recipes from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, or putting out a special assortment of cheese and pâté, this year Lillet invites you to celebrate on National Aperitif Day.  Take inspiration from ‘The Art of Elegance & the Aperitif’, video as told by Lady Lillet and create your own ‘elegant hour’ by serving Lillet Blanc, Rouge or Rosé as your aperitif of choice – best on ice, with a slice of orange or grapefruit.


Marinated Watermelon with Olives, Feta, and Basil
Pairs with Lillet Rouge
Serves: 4 canapés


  • 4 each Red Seedless Watermelon, cut into 1”x1” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Shallots, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon Chives, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup Feta Cheese, Crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Basil, Finely Minced


1. In a small bowl, combine the watermelon, olive oil, balsamic, and shallots.  Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. In a separate small bowl, combine the chives, feta, olives, and basil.  Top each watermelon cube with the mixture and serve on a skewer or at the end of a small fork.

lillet-rose-cocktail-pairingOyster on the Half Shell with Pickled Husk Cherry and Lillet Rosé Gelée
Pairs with Lillet Rosé
Serves: 4 canapés


  • ½ cup White Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon  Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon  Salt
  • ½ cup Lillet Rosé
  • 1 sheet Gelatin, Soaked in Ice water and Drained
  • 4 each Husk Cherries (goose berries), cut in half
  • 4 each Oysters, on the half shell, chilled
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper


1. In a small sauce pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, cardamom, and salt.  Add 3 turns of fresh cracked pepper.  Bring to a boil and pour over the husk cherries and chill completely.

2. Bring the Lillet Rose to a boil and whisk in the gelatin.  Strain the liquid and set in a small cup.  Chill the mixture until a jelly is formed.


  1. Cromwell G. Gutierrez says:

    I would like the Lillet glasses to be available in the Philippines, I’m a practicing bartender and I’ve recently bought the Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge. Kindly make the Lillet Rose available in my country.

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