Low in sugar and alcohol but with a fresh fruity taste that will make you go “ooh la la”, the French wine-based aperitif Lillet is launching in South Africa after gaining a time-honoured reputation as a classy staple of get-togethers around the world.
Lillet (pronounced “lee-LAY”) has been around for more than 150 years, having been created by brothers Paul and Raymond Lillet in the village of Pondesac, in the heart of France’s famous wine-making Bordeaux region, in 1872.
Drawing on the high-quality grapes from this region and fortified with a blend of citrus liqueurs, Lillet Rosé has a brilliant rose colour and a soft and crisp taste with light aromas of berries, orange blossom and grapefruit. It can be enjoyed year-round in a variety of ways.
With low alcohol by volume (ABV) of 17%, low sugar content, no additives and no artificial colourants, Lillet Rosé is the perfect drink to sip responsibly with friends.
Enjoy it straight up on its own as a chilled aperitif – a drink to “open the stomach” before a meal – as the French prefer to do. Or try one of the signature Lillet Rosé Tonic cocktails as a sundowner: pour 50ml Lillet Rosé and 100ml of tonic water over ice in a tall wine glass, garnish with a wedge of lime, or with a slice of grapefruit and a sprig of thyme, then sit back and savour the refreshing taste!
Nthabi Motsoeneng, Marketing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Pernod Ricard, believes the time is ripe to introduce this low-alcohol beverage into the South African market, when there is a growing awareness of the importance of making responsible, healthier choices when consuming alcohol.
“Since it was created in 1872, Lillet has been very much focused on empowering and celebrating women, and we believe it will appeal to the growing number of South African women who want to enjoy alcohol responsibly while having a good time,” she says.
“With its low alcohol content and as a perfect pairing with tonic or soda, Lillet is a delicious wine-based alternative to heavier drinks that’s also kinder on the waistline.”
Motsoeneng adds: “It also ties in with our ‘Drink More … Water’ campaign which aims to persuade young adults that there is no fun in excessive drinking and empowers them to make the right choices for themselves.   In essence, the Lillet brand is all about self-expression and empowering women in particular to enjoy life in a responsible, healthy and safe way. As the only wine-based aperitif in the country, we’re confident South Africans will be captivated by Lillet – c’est délicieux!”

Whether poured as a chilled after-work refresher or a pre-dinner aperitif, sipping it over ice next to the pool or savouring it over brunch with friends, Lillet is the perfect companion to convivial times.
After taking the world by storm, Lillet is now available in Gauteng and the Western Cape (with other provinces to follow) at Norman Goodfellows, Solly Kramer’s, PnP, Spar, Makro, Ultra Liquors and Woolworths outlets.  A selection of Lillet cocktail recipes can be found on their website.
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