My choice for today’s Gin & Tonic is 2 extremes: the exclusive, handcrafted Citadelle Gin, from the French region of Cognac, combined with Schweppes Tonic, one of the world largest brands for soft drinks. I was recently introduced to Citadelle, and I was very eager to try this one in my G&T reviews.
The story of Citadelle begins in the late 18th century, as 2 Frenchmen started producing Genièvre in Dunkirk with support of Louis XVI. The produced a small batch distillate which was primarily sold to the British, smuggled there as you will, because of the high excise on gin. The British had just barely survived the Gin-craze that lasted from 1720 to the early 1750s and had a heavy impact on the coutry’s social structure and public health. Asking a high tax for gin was one of the countermeasures. The French, who already didn’t like the British that much, would gladly help them to some inexpensive, yet qualitative gin.
Citadelle Gin is quite a full-bodied complex gin, containing no less than 19 botanicals. The taste is very fresh and balanced and it benefits from the 44 % ABV / 88 proof which opens the flavours in the glass and in the mouth very nice. Sweet notes from liquorice, orange and cinnamon are balanced by ‘sour’ notes from lemon and coriander while extra complexity and depth is added with cardamom, several peppers and star anise. And that’s just a few of them! The aftertaste is long with botanicals coming through in different stages.
Schweppes Tonic is of course known as a higher quality tonic amongst other main-stream brands, and known from slick produced commercials, including Una Thurman. They do however deserve an award for their highly dysfunctional and uninformative website, but that’s besides the point. It looks nice. Schweppes Tonic has a primarily sweet taste, with bitter notes coming through. Those come from the kinine inside. but for my taste the bitter taste lingers too long, while the sugars stay there quite long as well.
But the most important question:
Will it blend Will it mix?
When using such a complex gin it is somewhat ‘risky’ to use a more commercial product but I must say they work quite nice together. I do have to add at the same time that I can credit Citadelle Gin for the larger part for this. The sweetness of Schweppes is quite strong but there’s fortunately enough room for the sweeter botanicals in Citadelle to stay upright. Because Schweppes has very little citrus notes, the taste from Citadelle has a lot of room to complement the drink. I do feel however that the long bitter taste of Schweppes holds the mix a little bit back.
Method: Mix 40 ml / 1.5 oz Citadelle Gin in a longdrink, fill with icecubes and pour Schweppes Tonic over it. I tried the mix with one wedge of lime (squeezed) but am really curious what would happen when served with a slice of orange! Maybe next week!