Lillet Buttermilk Shakes Recipe

Lillet-spiked buttermilk shakes. Just a quick grown-up twist on the classic vanilla milkshake.

Lillet Buttermilk Shakes

A lot of things were banished to the basement in our recent move. The basement is expansive, and the general rule of thumb was this: if we weren't going to need it in the following three weeks, use a big, fat, Sharpie to indicate basement/sotano on the cardboard box. Straight to the basement. One perplexing item that ended up in the kitchen was a milkshake maker. After living in the garage for years, it seemed like the sort of thing that would go to the basement without much of a discussion. But apparently not. Wayne wanted to put it to use, so it has been hanging out, in my line of sight, for weeks. Correspondingly, the idea for this shake popped into my head. Tiny, thick vanilla buttermilk shakes spiked with Lillet.

Lillet Buttermilk Shakes

Buttermilk shakes are my favorite. But I like them small - more of a big shot than anything else. These turned out nicely in part because the Lillet brings a subtle booziness and fragrant citrus flavors to the creamy slush. I suspect a lot of you have herb gardens with basil plants that are sprouting pretty flowers right now - I picked a few from my planter, and sprinkled them on top of each shake.

Lillet Buttermilk Shakes

Let me know if you have other things you like to do with Lillet. I mention a few basic ideas down below in the head notes, but I'd love to know if any of you do anything super interesting with it. It's a favorite around here for sure. But typically just on the rocks or with a splash of sparkling water.

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Lillet Buttermilk Shake

If you end up buying a bottle of Lillet just to make these shakes, don't limit it to shake-making. The occasional Lillet on the rocks, or Lillet & soda water are favorite summertime drinks around here. And a good way to work through the bottle.

2 cups / 1 pint vanilla ice cream (or, creme fraiche ice cream)
1/3 cup / 80 ml Lillet
1/3 cup / 80 ml buttermilk
basil flowers, optional

Let the ice cream sit out for 5 minutes or so, just to soften a bit. Add it to a bowl or milkshake cup. Pout the Lillet and buttermilk over the ice cream, and mix to combine. If you don't have a milkshake maker, you can use a hand blender, or just let the ice cream soften a bit, and mix by hand. In a pinch, you can make the milkshakes a bit ahead of time, and leave them in the freezer until needed. But not more than an hour or so - I like a thick shake, but you don't want them to set up / freeze too much. Serve in little glasses topped with a few basil flowers if you have them handy.

Makes a bunch of little shakes, or 4 larger shakes.

Prep time: 5 minutes

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Heidi, I was so glad to find this post, as someone brought us a bottle of Lillet, which I had never heard of. I’ll have to explore some of your options!

Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator

I’m so glad that the internet awlols free info like this!


Looks delicious, love the photos… The shake is something am looking forward to wake up to 🙂


What gorgeous photo’s and a great drink as well.!!

Stuart Rubenstein

My husband is the “Martini Master” around these parts and he swears that Lillet is the Only thing that should be added to a Gin Martini. (oh, plus an olive & ice)


love you blog…I am always inspired by your posts. Thanks for introducing me to Lillet…I had never heard of it. I was searching for a great peach recipe and happened upon this:
I haven’t had a chance to try it…but it sounded like an interesting way to incorporate lillet!


We made these last night and served to friends in little glasses as suggested, along with a simple plum cake–like a lillet milkshake sidekick to the dessert. Fantastic!


Hey Heidi. Hello from Berkeley. I have an overabundance of ice cream from making it all summer. So it’s time for milkshakes! Love the idea of buttermilk + Lillet.
My favorite way to enjoy Lillet is over ice with a twist of lemon. Or in a pasta sauce. Here’s a recipe I did this time last summer:
i hope to cross paths with you someday!

phyllis grant

Nice! I’m down for infusing anything with a little extra booze. Will have to give this one a try.

Cocktail Enthusiast

Heidi, I love the idea of the buttermilk shakes with Lillet. I will be making them this weekend for a Labor Day BBQ.

Nik S

I really love the idea and for sure it will be another reason for my friends to flock my house. I will definitely try this!

Work in a Restaurant

have you tried buttermilk paancakes with lillet? they are amazing!!!!!


Made these tonight to celebrate the end of summer and am wishing I’d tried it earlier in the season. Definitely something to try and enjoy. Great receipe


If I were not severely allergic to oranges, I would be all over this recipe. However, coming from the South and being the ‘next generation’ we’re always searching for something to do with the extra buttermilk that we buy for my father when he is over for meals. He will put anything in it and even drink it straight. Of course, we’ve never cared too much for it except in recipes. I’m so glad I found this, because I’m definitely going to play with this idea and maybe broaden my own appreciation for different flavors! 🙂


I was so excited to see this post! I had never heard of Lillet until 2 years ago or so when I saw a recipe for Lillet marshmallows in Gourmet–I think a December issue. (So there’s an idea for you–I bet it’s online but if not I have it somewhere as I am not throwing out any issues now that it’s been cancelled!). I never had it until I went to a block party this year for Bastille day; I tried both red and white Lillet (plain, on the rocks) and I really liked it! I think of it as a bit like vermouth or port (as a fortified wine)–is that right? I think those tend to keep longer once opened than regular wine–do you happen to know how quickly you need to work through your bottle?


My friend used Lillet to make marshmallows around the holidays. It was a delicious surprise.


Loooove Lillet, my favorite aperitif. Over ice, with a thin slice or two of granny smith apple!


I love your cookery books and they have provided me with lots of inspiration……but as a Brit living in the north of England the name Lillet means only one thing….tampons! O how weird to think of the name being linked to a seemingly delicious alcoholic beverage, nevertheless I will keep my eyes peeled for Lillet the drink. Thanks for the lovely recipes.

Gill Gillson Slater

I always thought that a milkshake maker was one of those overly specific appliances to be avoided, but you’ve made me reconsider my stance. These look delish.


Wow these look so classic!!! It seems i always have buttermilk left over from a recipe-this one will put it to good use. 🙂 I love the idea of a smaller, “shot” size, too. 🙂

Frances @ The Foodess Files

Hubs and I have been enjoying spiked milkshakes and smoothies lately, too! Cinzano adds a nice kick, as well. 🙂

Laura Hobbs

This looks absolutely amazing! The photography is so beautiful 🙂 I can’t wait to make this!


This sounds like a wonderful way to use up leftover buttermilk after frying chicken!


I have never heard of Lillet before so as I walked into a decadently old bar in Melbourne last night, with floor-to-ceiling arch windows ( I ordered it straight up. Heidi, you have changed me forever!


I’m definitely offering this drink to my dinner guests this weekend, but one of them doesn’t consume alcohol, so I’d have to leave out the Lillet for her drink. Don’t know how it’ll taste, but I wonder if there’s anything to substitute. Ideas?
HS: No biggie – swirl in some smashed berries, or a kiss of maple syrup, chopped peaches….hard to go wrong really.


How delicious! I love your photographs for this treat as well- so elegant and soothing! They remind me of the interior of Tartine.


Those mauve basil flowers and that milky white are like velvet for sight and soul. Love them.


I love lillet and this is an absolutely amazing idea! Plus, I’ve never made a shake with buttermilk and now I’m sitting here wondering why not…


Brilliant. I love Lillet (and other sweet vermouths) and milkshakes.. would never think to combine them but this is just so appealing.
I don’t have any interesting lillet recipes sadly. But did learn over the weekend that I love to pair compari and soda – another classic summer drink – with rangpur lime juice or a orange and lime juice combo when rangpurs are not available. .

Kate S.

These shakes look fantastic – I love the idea of serving them in little glasses. And I always find flowers on food/drinks a stunning addition. Good to see the maker get revived!


Heidi, I was searching for this recipe this afternoon and ran across another buttermilk milkshake you had on your blog in 2005, they both sound delicious! I’m making a buttermilk milk shake tonight.
Unfortunately, I also ran across this post by someone named Pink. If that’s not you, you’ve been ripped-off word for word.


Genius. We love Lillet in our house and this gives us one more way to ingest it.

Jen S.

Has anyone said vespers yet?? Fantastic cocktail, inspired by one of the latest James Bond films. Equal parts gin, vodka, and Lillet. Lillet-poached fruit, too, I wouldn’t kick out of bed.


After following your blog for many years I finally bought your new cookbook and am totally in love. Thank you from Halifax!
HS: Thanks Alia 🙂


Sounds delish- a perfect summer treat!

Jen @ keepitsimplefoods

I’ve always liked the vintage Lillet advertising posters, but have never tasted it. The tiny pantry is overflowing here, and like, you, we still have boxes upon boxes in the basement. Think I might try to hack a Lillet sub because I am now inspired by this lovely shake. Oh, I wish you could get a hold of the Kalona SuperNatural buttermilk made here in Iowa. It is the best.

Muffin Tin

Hi – I read your recipe with interest. And although I live near Berne (capital of Switzerland ;=) – with 300’000 inhabitants, there’s only one shop that sells Lillet and for quite some price, too! Interesting, Lillet being an European drink.
Best regards, Jeanne


I’d “Veganize” it, but it looks LOVELY…..beautiful photos!

GetSkinny GoVegan

I like to mix Duet, a dessert sherry with a hazelnut flavor, into my vanilla ice cream. The buttermilk sounds like a great addition! Love the nutty fragrance of the Duet.


just this last weekend I had a cocktail with lillet on the jersey shore – it was Hendrick’s Gin/Melon Puree/St. Germain/Lillet – and it was amazing. I’ll probably be trying to recreate it this weekend!


Love the fact that you labeled your boxes “sótano”. Cheers…will check into this Lillet for sure.


You had me at Lillet! It’s one of my favorite aperitifs and I had never thought to put it in a milkshake, much less one with buttermilk. Off to try it immediately. Thanks!

aida mollenkamp

Oh, lord. I had gotten excited at buttermilk milkshake, and totally missed the Lillet part. J’adore Liillet! My favorite summer cocktail (other than a negroni) is one served at Seattle’s fabulous Hazlewood. “The Columbo”: Lillet, Limoncello, and Fernet Branca over ice. SO GOOD.

Megan B.

Oh delicious – what a brilliant idea. I must say I have not tried Lillet so shall pop out for a bottle today. x


Can’t help you with further ideas, because I even didn’t know this aperitif wine… But I will definitely give it a try!


This looks AMAZING!!!

Maria @ Orchard Bloom

Never heard of Lillet but WOW what a gorgeous photo!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I am not sure I will ever make these, but oh my, these are about the most breathtaking photos I’ve seen in some time.


these look gorgeous 🙂 I made something similar a while ago with lavender sugar and they were yummy 🙂
your photos are lovely as always!


Love the Lillet milkshake idea- how creative. Just this week, I’ve discovered St. Germain – an aperitif too. So, after your Lillet shake I’m going to branch out to an elderflower shake in the same manner. Thank you for the inspiration!
PS- I’m a recent Vesper fan too, and I’m not waiting for the next quake to be “shaken, not stirred.”


I don’t eat sugar or anything made with grains. always interested in new stuff


I love using just two drops of Lillet in my Vodka martini’s… It’s simply deee-vine!
With a twist of lemon… of course 😉
I had weight loss surgery quite some time ago but still love to cook and share with my peeps. You have NO idea how much pleasure perusing your website brings into my life still. You are a gifted, generous person… I live vicariously thru your lense and for that, I am most appreciate!
Many thanks,
aka Coquette


What a beautiful presentation! Your photos always look so serene. I’ve never had Lillet before. Thanks for sharing.


This is great… a way to use up the rest of the carton of buttermilk. And what a way! I found out about Lillet a year ago and have been anxious to try it. This milkshake idea is definitely pushing it up closer to the top of the list.


I completely agree with Ana Sofia — this is the perfect recipe for leftover buttermilk, several cups of which inevitably curdle in my fridge every time I buy it for a recipe. Never would have thought of putting it in a milkshake!


I feel a sense of defeat every time I have to throw away a half used container of buttermilk so I think I need to try this. I also haven’t bough Lillet in a long time so this is a good excuse. How long can you store it once it’s been opened?

Ana Sofia

I actually use Lillet when making marshmallows – of course for the adults. It is part of the liquid. Everyone loves them as they have a very subtle, but distinct flavor from the Lillet.


My thoughts support most of the comments already made. I love the photographs too.
Very nice blog.

Kate Abbott

Super delicious and the basil flower add such elegant beauty to the glass!

Sutapa Ghosh

It is just the right time for milkshake, the weather is hot. It is easy and quick, so nice. Just thinking to use other wine and see how it turn out. 🙂

love cooking

I also love Lillet! I usually drink it on the rocks with lime but have also been making cocktails with it all summer. My current favorite is homemade Tayberry Liqueur, Lillet blanc, a splash of St Germain, and a squeeze of lime… delicate, summery, and floral.


As mentioned in a previous comment, Lillet is used in a martini called the Vesper. James Bond named this in memory of Vesper Lynd; the female lead in Casino Royal. Recipe: Three measures of 90 proof Gordon’s gin, one of 100 proof vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.


I’m nonetheless learning from you, but I’m improving myself. I certainly love reading every part that is written in your blog.Preserve the tales coming. I cherished it!

individual tours in Russia

Hi Heidi,
I love your site and your cookbooks. I have been making so many of the recipes from your Super natural every day cookbook and my family and I have loved every one of them. I have a question regarding wholewheat pastry flour and white wholewheat flour. I live in Australia and we have unbleached wholewheat flour and wholewheat stoneground flour. Could you tell me the protein % of your flours so that I can use the equivalent here. Thanks so much for such inspirational and delicious food and photography.
Wendy 🙂 X


Our son introduced us to a cocktail that I’m partial to. It’s 1.5 oz gin, .5 oz Lillet, .5 oz lemon juice (I prefer Meyer), .5 oz simple syrup, 2-3 drops of citrus bitters. It’s like Lillet with lemonade – but better!
Love this recipe! Love buttermilk! Thanks!

Donna Smith-Harrison

I pour 3/4 cup of Lillet and 1/4 cup of sparkling water or soda over a bunch of sliced peaches (four big peaches maybe) that I’ve mixed with a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a dozen torn mint leaves. Heavenly summer dessert. Thanks for this great idea Heidi!

Katherine Deumling (Cook With What You Have)

Fantastic recipe! Lillet also works really well in marshmallows – works perfectly as a little petit-four at the end of a nice meal. Who says marshmallows are just for kids!!?

Adam Levy

I also bought some to make marshamallows. This will be yummy if it ever warms up in Marin.
Marta, you can probably thin some yogurt with milk or cream and substitute it for the buttermilk. or if you have kefir available, that should work too.


These are beautiful! I love buttermilk recipes. Off to the store to buy some right now to make these shakes. Thanks!


Oh my! I don’t know this wine but i want to look for it to try this recipe


this looked so good that i bought a bottle of lillet on my bike ride home from work today!
HS: That Basmati rice on your site looks great Sasha 🙂


These photos are stunning!

Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

Beautiful and elegant.


This photo is just too lovely for words.
HS: Thanks L.


I’ve never even heard of Lillet until now, but I need it in my life, and and forever. and ever. Amen.
HS: You wont be sorry Bev.

Bev Weidner

Heidi, I love how you take an ingredient that is quite popular elsewhere in the world and bring it to center stage for your readers! Merci!
Your post reminded me I have a bottle of Lillet, and I am enjoying an (early) afternoon cocktail as I write!
I purchased the apéritif to make Lillet Marshmallows last Easter – as a grown-up alternative to all those chocolate eggs and jelly beans! They were a hit (recipe on epicurious site). I use it on occasion to replace white wine in recipes: in cold cantaloupe soup, atop fresh fruit salads, and – in a great stroke of inspiration – once I added Lillet to sautéed onions and garlic, and steamed fresh mussels in the mixture. They were excellent.

Primordial Soup

What a lovely way to incorporate Lillet into a nice little summer beverage… your imagery is perfect, as well.


I’ve never worked with Lillet before – I am excited to try!!

girl in the pink

These are fantastic! I’ve never tried Lillet, but from what I researched (Yes, I looked it up) it sounds delicious!


Wow, those are so beautiful and I can just imagine they taste divine!


One of my favorites is a corpse reviver #2- gin, lillet, grand marnier or cointreau, maraschino cherry, and lemon juice. boozy but delicious!


Once I get the half-empty bottle of Lillet up from my basement, I’ll have to try your recipe. I wonder if it will go with the culinary-grade Lavendar I have in storage -ha! Maybe just a light touch will do.

Donna A.

The Wheesky: 1 part Lillet, 2 parts Irish whiskey, ice, lemon. It’s truly delightful.


Oh goodness! I seriously want to spend summer at your house! I’ve often thought about picking up a bottle of Lillet. Makes me think of James Bond 🙂 Now I think I may have to!

Dina Avila

Lillet is one of the ingredients included in the James Bond “shaken, not stirred” vodka martini from “Casion Royale”.. My husband and I found this out when we went through an all things Bond phase. For a recipe, try but only if you like martinis.


I agree that this is inspired! I make shakes and smoothies all the time, and every time I open the fridge, I think about trying buttermilk in them, but had not yet. Thanks, this is just the impetus I need. And I, also, had never heard of Lillet, but I will certainly be looking for it. Thanks so much.


Marta, you can make sour milk using a cup of milk and about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or vinegar.
I usually take the chill off the milk by microwaving the milk for about 30 seconds or so before I add the lemon juice. It seems to sour the milk more quickly.
Not sure if It’ll work, but it’s worth a shot!


Hi, Heidi,
I live in Barcelona. Buttermilk is so hard to find here, so I was wondering if there is anything I can use as a substitute that will work not only in this recipe but also in other recipes such as cakes. Could you please help me? Thanks a lot!


I’ve never heard of Lillet before, but this sounds like a great twist on a classic Indian buttermilk drink called Lassi 🙂 Lassi is usually sweetened with mango or sugar + Indian spices or salt, but I wonder what it would taste like with the flavors you have in the recipe above. Can’t wait to try this!

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

Beautiful pictures and recipe.
You made me very curious about Lillet so I searched for it on the Web. This drink sounds perfect for warm temperatures : fruity (mostly oranges), light with a touch of bitterness. I’ll see if it’s available in Quebec. Thank you once again for sharing!

Julie Lapointe - La Datcha

I would like to put these milkshakes on speed dial. Lillet is such a nice touch! On of my most favorite cocktails ever is Lillet-based. I don’t have the exact proportions, but it is about 2-3 ounces Lillet, 1/2 to 1 ounce Cynar, and a strip of orange zest that you have put up to a lit match so that the little caramelized drops of citrus oil drop into the top of the drink. I think Lillet also has good french toast batter potential. Thanks for the awesome post!


It sounds like such a weird combination, but it looks heavenly and I do like Lillet …well you know I will have to try this!

black eyed susans kitchen

Oh my …! Not having tried Lillet before (nor a buttermilk shake), this looks like the perect combination to ease myself into both. Love the herbal addition, too.


Like many of the others, I have never heard of Lillet. But I’m wondering if Grand Marnier would work in its place.


Hi Heidi, I have not heard of Lillet before. I did a search for you so please check out this website. 🙂 They give a little history lesson with some recipes. I love your website and visit often.


Breathtaking. Truly. This is one of the most magnificent culinary photos I’ve ever seen. Your work is such a pleasure to experience.

Kelly at Inspired Edibles

Spiked milkshakes are one of my favorite things n the planet. I never thought of using buttermilk—does that make it guilt-free? 😉

Sue/the view from great island

What a unique approach. I was trying to play around with Lillet and look forward to this. Any recommendations for the brand of buttermilk? There are so few in the store, and most aren’t “real” buttermilk…


These picts are beautiful! You definitely inspire others to make cooking something special.


Oh what a fun drink idea!

Simply Life

P.S is your whole bench-top marble?? Wowza.

Emma Galloway

Stunning top pic Heidi 🙂 I too have never heard of Lillet… and even though this would be a bit hard to re-create dairy-free I love how you use buttermilk.

Emma Galloway

Lillet is a family favorite. We usually drink it with ice over a few slices of orange. What a creative suggestion!


I have never had lillet. Or even heard of it!
“the Lillet brings a subtle booziness and fragrant citrus flavors to the creamy slush.”– wow that sounds great.
And now I kinda have to get my hands on this stuff 🙂

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

i have never heard of “lillet” before but anything with the word “buttermilk” i will eat.

lynn @ the actor's diet

These look fantastic. I’ve been on a real buttermilk kick lately, especially as an ice cream base and topped over a hot fruit crumble. I like the touch of Lillet! Thanks for the creative recipe!


This is inspired; i love it! Lillet is a favorite of mine and the idea of putting it in a buttermilk shake seems perfect for an elegant treat.


This sounds awesome!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Oh Heidi, you are starting a big buttermilk shake trend here, I can just feel it! Did you know Southerners crumble cornbread into a glass of buttermilk and drink it?
Your Southern friend,
Christina 😉


I’ve never heard of Lillet! Buttermilk in a shake sounds lovely, though. 🙂 I love the metal milkshake cup, makes it so cold!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)



I’ve never heard of Lillet before, but I’m quite intrigued… is there any other mix you would recommend using?


Oh my goodness Heidi! You did it again! What a timeless beverage. We sell Lillet at the bottleshop I work at in Portland. It’s called Vino, and it’s the sweetest place. If you don’t mind, we have a cute little cocktail flier we post for patrons. I would love to include this- giving you full credit of course. How lovely. Thank you! Sarah

Ah! Everything about this is so San Francisco. The lillet, the creme fraiche ice cream (from Bi-Rite?), the basil flowers (from a Mariquita mystery box?). Except you can’t drink milkshakes in SF because it’s 45 degrees in the summer.


Oh I do love Lillet. Your shakes look elegant and tasty! I’m a fan of the small portion too. This week at my blog is devoted to melons- I’m thinking melon balls soaked in Lillet could be nice?

la domestique

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