The spice of gin
Ask Alexandre Gabriel, producer of Citadelle gin, what is most important in making gin and he will always say “it’s the juniper first and all the other botanicals second.” The base spirit, while important is just that, a base. One of the 19 botanicals used in making Citadelle gin is cinnamon, a very important ingredient in our recipe. Gabriel wanted to better understand cinnamon – its quality, how it is harvested and what difference the freshness of the spice has. Gabriel traveled to cinnamon plantations in Northern Vietnam to learn about this alluring spice. He learned that cinnamon spice begins with the bark of cinnamon trees which is shaved off and when fresh, you can actually chew on the bark and find that the juice or sap that seeps out is sweet and spicy.
Using cinnamon in Citadelle provides a natural sweetness and gives depth to the juniper berries. Cinnamon can be used fresh, slightly dried or completely dried (like the cinnamon sticks you find at the supermarket) and by micro-distilling each type of freshness, Gabriel and his team deemed that fresh is best. With fresh cinnamon, some of that natural sweet sap comes through when it is cold-infused, which is like cold-pressing olives for olive oil, which allows the best flavors to come through. This is the cinnamon botanical you will find in each bottle of Citadelle. When making a Citadelle gin and tonic, Gabriel recommends adding a juicy wedge of lemon and grating a bit of cinnamon stick over the top. This really brings out the cinnamon in the spirit…and makes for quite a tasty G&T.