This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more.

Lillet blanc is a versatile ingredient that shines alone and in a wide variety of cocktails. Usually a summertime staple, we also love it paired with less summery ingredients (like the fresh grapefruit juice in The Rising Star), and we don’t hesitate to use it all year long. 

We created this cocktail for a performing arts fundraiser. It would make a terrific signature cocktail for an Oscar party or other awards night event.

Rising Star lillet blanc cocktail with in a martini glass
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Why we love these Lillet and vodka cocktails

This fresh-tasting, nicely balanced, super-simple cocktail is a real crowd pleaser. You can make The Rising Star as a single cocktail if you like, and it’s equally good made in batches in a pitcher or two for a party. It presents elegantly without being the slightest bit complicated.

We keep a bottle or two of Lillet blanc in the fridge all summer long, for sipping alone and for adding a splash to anything from Prosecco to more complex cocktails. This year we had some lingering after the season ended, and I decided to pair it with some less summery ingredients.

When we hosted a fundraiser for our school district’s performing arts club toward the end of September, I wasn’t yet ready to ease my grip on this delightful bottle. Since the event was all about supporting our rising stars — and since we had a generous vodka donation from a local brand — the cocktail practically created itself. Lillet blanc pairs beautifully with vodka and grapefruit juice in this smooth, easy drinking Rising Star, which we garnished with a simple slice of star fruit. (There’s no star fruit in the drink, so this isn’t best practice, and I know it. The things we do for our kids.)

What is Lillet blanc?

Lillet blanc is a French aperitif wine. It’s made from Bordeaux grapes, aromatized with herbs, spices, and citrus, and fortified (to 17% ABV — stronger than wine, but gentle for a cocktail ingredient) with macerated fruit liqueurs. It’s similar to vermouth in those respects. In fact, I once heard a NJ bartender refer to it as “French vermouth,” which might make any sense at all if a large portion of actual vermouth didn’t come from France.

Not too sweet, not too bitter, Lillet blanc is great on its own over ice, and it also makes an amenable cocktail ingredient.

Ingredients for The Rising Star

This simple cocktail needs only three easy-to-find ingredients:

  • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (or use a good-quality fresh bottled grapefruit juice if you’re making a big batch and don’t feel like juicing a million grapefruits)
  • Lillet blanc
  • Vodka
step by step making a rising star cocktail outdoors

How to make a Rising Star

Here’s all you need to do to make a great Lillet blanc and vodka cocktail.

For a single cocktail

  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice
  • Pour in Lillet blanc, vodka, and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a slice of star fruit and serve

For a pitcher of cocktails

  • A few hours before your party, combine Lillet blanc, vodka, and freshly squeezed (or fresh bottled) grapefruit juice in a 1:1:2 ratio in a pitcher. Let it chill in the fridge.
  • Right before serving, top off the pitcher with a generous amount of ice

Expert tips and FAQs

What is a substitute for Lillet blanc?

If you like, you can substitute Cocchi Americano in this cocktail. It’s got more of a bitter element to its flavor profile, but that can be a very good thing.

This classic ingredient is also a fortified, aromatized aperitif wine. It’s been made in Piedmont, Italy, since 1891 from Moscato d’Asti wine steeped with bitter orange, gentian, wormwood and cinchona. (Cinchona is also the source of quinine.)

How do you serve Lillet blanc?

This ingredient is lovely served on its own, well-chilled, over ice. It’s also great in cocktails, especially with gin or vodka. I can’t say I’ve ever been sorry when Lillet was served.

More favorite cocktails starring Lillet blanc

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Rising Star Vodka Cocktail Lillet Blanc 780 | Umami Girl
4.56 from 36 votes

The Rising Star: A Cocktail Starring Lillet Blanc

By Carolyn
We created this Lillet Blanc and vodka cocktail for a fundraiser celebrating our school district’s performing arts programs — raising money for our rising stars. It’s smooth and moreish enough to have encouraged people’s generosity. Imagine what it could do for your next party.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • 1.5 ounces Lillet Blanc
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • Starfruit slice, to garnish


  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  • Add Lillet Blanc, vodka, and grapefruit juice and shake until chilled.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a slice of star fruit, and serve. You can also serve this cocktail with over ice.

Step-by-step video


Feel free to make this cocktail in a big batch in a pitcher to pour. And if you’d rather not squeeze your own grapefruits, we’ve had great success with cold-pressed bottled grapefruit juice like Evolution Fresh.


Calories: 162kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

More Recipes

Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating