First Frost Cocktail Recipe

'Tis the season to greet guests with this elegant drink infused with the delicate scent of spruce

Is there anything more welcoming than the fragrant aromas of the holidays? While the classic Italian Negroni is wonderful on its own, this low-proof riff on a white Negroni boasts spruce-infused Lillet Blanc, making it a natural choice for yuletide celebrations. Maintaining the balance with flowery Lillet and bitter Suze but replacing the high-proof gin with a decidedly lower-ABV Shochu, this version also gets a frosty winter makeover with a touch of blue spirulina.

Note: Although optional, I love remixing this drink with an aromatic infusion for the holidays. Spruce is a striking evergreen tree with vibrant flavors and aromas that come alive at Christmastime. Spruce tips—the new growth of the tree—are tender, bright, and pack a citrusy punch that translates well to infusions.

First Frost holiday cocktail by Jules Aron. Photo by Taylor Amos
First Frost holiday cocktail by Jules Aron. Photo by Taylor Amos

First Frost 


1 1/2 oz. Shochu

1 oz. spruce-infused Lillet Blanc

3/4 oz. Suze

1/2 tsp. blue spirulina 

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into your desired vessel. This recipe makes 1 serving, but you can easily multiply it to batch the drink. Without sweeteners and citrus components, it will last through the holidays.

Spruce-Infused Lillet Blanc Ingredients 

1 750-ml bottle of Lillet Blanc

1 cup spruce or Douglas fir needles

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar and let sit in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours, or longer depending on your taste. Shake periodically to distribute flavors. Strain the mixture into a clear glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

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