Harry Craddock: Lillet Brand Ambassador

Perhaps this exchange will amuse you as much as it did me…


It seems like you have some insight into Harry Craddock’s recipe books.

First, do you know, as we have inferred, if the Corpse Reviver No 2 is
one of his original cocktails?

Second, do you know if the recipe dates from his time in NY or if it
shows up after his move to the UK?

Lastly, can you think of any instances of Kina Lillet/Lillet showing
up in American cocktail books before prohibition?

Some questions we all have regarding Lillet!

All the best,

Erik Ellestad

Three great questions. I’ll take a look through the files and get back to you.


Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller
Mixellany Limited

Thanks Jared!

I took a look through Hugo Ensslin this AM and found no Kina Lillet/Lillet.

Plenty of Dubonnet and other more esoteric ingredients & liqueurs, but no Kina Lillet.

Also, interestingly, though I have identified sources for many of the recipes in the Savoy Cocktail Book, (Ensslin, Thomas, McElhone, Judge Jr, etc.) up to now, none of the Savoy Cocktail Book Kina Lillet/Lillet recipes have yet been identified as coming from any other source.

Hmmm, I guess Craddock was not just the world’s largest Hercules and Caperitif fan at the time, but maybe the world’s first Lillet Brand Ambassador.


Erik E.

Truer than you realize. Craddock appeared in 1930s ads for Lillet in a UK trade magazine.


Then, as now, it seems, finding brand name ingredients in a cocktail book recipe is generally more of an indication of an advertising or sponsorship deal with the author or publisher, than anything else.

Previous Lillet Posts:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Kina Quest IV: Enuff Iz Enuff

Kina Lillet Clone

Kina Lillet, 2012

Lillet Vermouth

4 thoughts on “Harry Craddock: Lillet Brand Ambassador

  1. Evening Erik

    I have been trying to source as much information on a forgotten ingredient that was widely used by Harry Craddock in #caperitif. Would you have any information with regards to this ?

    Having read the article above do you think it is possible that Harry Craddock did use Caperitif in the majority of the drinks that he submitted and compiled in the Savoy cocktail Book before he was the first Lillet Ambassador ? I know Jared and Anastasia might have some information with regards to this, do you reckon it is possible that the Savoy might have records of where they were purchasing it from (company name before it closed) who distributed it and do you think it is possible that Harry Craddock visited Africa ? I have noticed familiar cocktails with backbone stories relating to Southern Africa. I am also trying to ascertain how many drinks contained caperitif in the Savoy Cocktail Book

    These are all burning questions which I hope you can assist me with and ill be doing some research this side aswell.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated on this.

    Kindest Regards

    Nick Koumbarakis

    • Hi Nick!

      No one really knows anything about the character of Caperitif.

      The only significant quote I’ve found is the following from the 1972
      edition of Alexis Lichine’s Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits.

      “Caperitif. South African aperitif, deep gold in colour, based on
      wine, blended with spirit, and flavoured with herbs. It is bitter but
      reminiscent of vermouth.”

      A South African Bartender, Gareth Wainright (MixologyJHB on twitter),
      has done some digging, and I believe he discovered it was manufactured
      by the same company that created the Van Der Hum liqueur.

      As regards Harry Craddock, I don’t know. Given what we know, my guess
      is he probably just included the contents of a recipe manual or trade
      publication from the company which manufactured Caperitif.

      There are 18 cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail book which contain Caperitif.

      Erik E.

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