Taking the Citadelle one cocktail at a time.
The French have been making gin since before Australia was invaded. It doesn’t matter that it was invented by the Dutch, or the Italians – depending on whose history you believe – and it doesn’t matter that it became popular as a way to get drunk while avoiding the taxes on wine and beer. What matters is that it’s delicious.
So 200 years after La Perouse turned up two weeks too late to claim Australia for the French, Citadelle Gin has finally turned up on our shores, but this time with a different objective; to add to the flourishing gin market.
Citadelle Gin is an excellent premium dry gin, sharp on the palate and superb on a warm summer’s evening.
Citadelle was originally developed in a Dunkirk distillery in the late 18th century. At the time, Dunkirk was one of the earliest European ports for explorers of the Orient.
The trade at that time was of spices, and with the French being the French, they started adding them to alcohol to see what would happen. Gin is excellent for this as it is a blank spirit – it takes on the characteristics of whatever you add to it.
The result is a fabulous gin made with 19 different botanicals including Moroccan coriander, French juniper, Mexican orange peel and Chinese liquorice.
We tried the gin two ways; as a standard gin and tonic – and if you like dry gin this is a standout – and then, of course, we had to try it in a French, gin-based cocktail.
If you have never heard of a French 75, then this is your chance to make one for yourself.
It is the only drink that we know of that is based on a field gun (the amazing French 75mm Howitzer, made famous in World War I for its impact and accuracy), this is a drink to be taken seriously and great for summer as it’s fizzy, bright and delicious.
French 75 Cocktail Recipe:
30mL simple syrup
30-40mL Citadelle Gin
As for the gin, you can use any standard dry gin, but Citadelle Gin is a standout – and it’s French.
Any decent sparkling wine will do.
30mL lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Tip: To make the simple syrup – which is a saturated solution of sugar and water – place equal parts (one cup each) in a pot. Taking about five minutes, bring the mixture to a boil on the stove stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove, allow to cool and place in a sealed bottle.
1. Using a Champagne flute, pour 30mL of simple syrup, 30mL of lemon juice and a shot of Citadelle Gin into a glass. Top it off with the Champagne, and you’re good to go.
This cocktail tastes so delicious that the alcohol seems hidden, so don’t be fooled; it fittingly packs the punch of a French World War I Howitzer. Remember to be careful – more than three should be ingested with care.