Lillet Rouge is indeed a sweet vermouth. This rich and flavorful vermouth is made with Bordeaux wines, which are known for their full-bodied and fruity characteristics. The sweetness of Lillet Rouge comes from the addition of brandies, which enhance the wine's natural sweetness.
One of the defining features of Lillet Rouge is its use of quinine. Quinine is a bitter compound that is often used in tonic water. In Lillet Rouge, the quinine adds a subtle bitterness that balances out the sweetness of the vermouth. It adds a depth of flavor and complexity that sets Lillet Rouge apart from other sweet vermouths.
Citrus is another key component in Lillet Rouge. The vermouth is flavored with a blend of citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons. These citrus flavors add a refreshing brightness to the vermouth and help to balance out the sweetness. The citrus notes also provide a vibrant and aromatic character to the overall profile of Lillet Rouge.
In addition to the citrus and quinine, Lillet Rouge is also infused with a variety of herbs. These herbs contribute to the vermouth's complex flavor profile and add layers of earthiness and herbal notes. The specific herbs used in the production of Lillet Rouge are a closely guarded secret, but they undoubtedly play a crucial role in the vermouth's overall taste.
Lillet Rouge has a long and storied history. It was first launched in the 1960s as a variation of the classic Lillet Blanc. This red vermouth quickly gained popularity for its unique and enticing flavor profile. Over the years, Lillet Rouge has become a staple in both classic and contemporary cocktails, adding depth and complexity to a wide range of drinks.
As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the opportunity to taste and work with Lillet Rouge in various settings. Its sweetness is evident from the first sip, but it is not overpowering. The balance between sweetness, bitterness, and herbal flavors is what makes Lillet Rouge such a versatile and enjoyable vermouth.
Lillet Rouge is indeed a sweet vermouth. Its sweetness comes from the Bordeaux wines and brandies used in its production, while the addition of quinine, citrus, and herbs adds complexity and balance to its flavor profile. Whether enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in cocktails, Lillet Rouge is a delightful and distinctive vermouth.