Citadelle Gin Vive le Cornichon & The Gibson Martini

“Vive la France! Vive le Cornichon!” – Admittedly, this sequence of exclamations was probably rarely heard on the streets. But perhaps that will soon change in the vicinity of one bar or another after enjoying the gin we’re talking about today. Because the Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon is certainly illustrious. (provided test product*)

I don’t need to go into great detail today, because I already described what Citadelle Gin is a long time ago. The fact that there is more than just a classic French dry gin in this range can also be found here, here and here. And so today I am once again looking at a Citadelle gin. This dry gin from the house of Ferrand explains on its bottle label that Tom, the house cat, accidentally knocked a couple of cornichon cucumbers into a gin & tonic and thus “caused” the idea for this gin. But maybe someone had one too many glasses of gin beforehand and just dreamed the story, we’ll never know for sure…

Be that as it may, the idea behind this gin is of course really exciting! The fact that gin and cucumber can harmonize quite well was impressively demonstrated to a wider public by the Scottish Hendrick’s Gin some 24 years ago – perhaps with a slight delay until the later “noughties”. To this day, I have the feeling that some people can no longer think of a gin & tonic without a slice of cucumber (or a spiral). However, the Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon now takes the whole thing to a new level with the aroma of cornichons. But how does it do that?

In addition to juniper, its 20 botanicals include orris root, almonds, fennel, star anise, lemon peel, orange peel, cardamom, violets, nutmeg, coriander, cubeb pepper, spice bark, licorice, savory, sezchuan pepper, angelica, cumin, cinnamon and cornichons. The base wheat distillate is infused with these and finally distilled in pot stills at the Château de Bonbonne in the Cognac region. The Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon is bottled at 43.8% vol.

Tasting notes:

Aroma: I was naturally curious about the first impression of this gin – and somehow, I have to admit that I was thinking of an open jar of Cornichon pickles before I brought the glass to my nose. But what I found then was quite different. Yes, there are indeed subtle notes of salt and vinegar, but they are not overpowering and really don’t tempt you to reach your finger into the glass, lost in thought, to look for the pickles. Rather, they are integrated into an appealing bouquet of juniper tones, fennel, aniseed, a little citrus fruit and diffuse spices.

Taste: Very interesting! The Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon begins in a relatively classic way: junipery, herbal, balanced and fresh, but then associations of cornichon pickles actually follow, here too with vinegar notes and a hint of salt. There is also a certain spiciness, which perhaps stems from the liaison between cornichons and Szechuan pepper. A really interesting, unusual and therefore really appealing gin.

Finish: medium long, relatively dry with spices

Anyone who now thinks I would use this gin in a gin & tonic with cucumber is unfortunately mistaken. At this point, I can only emphasize once again: To purposefully combine the Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon with cucumber once again would probably overshadow its unique characteristics and thus take the fun out of the whole thing. To allow the subtle cornichon note to come through, I opted for a martini, a Gibson to be precise.

Recipe “Gibson Martini”:

6 cl Citadelle Gin de France Vive le Cornichon
2 cl dry white vermouth
Celery Bitters (optional)

Preparation: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass on ice until really cold and strain into a pre-frosted (important!) glass. Garnish with silver onions and a cornichon.

Glass: Martini

Garnish: Silver onions and gherkins

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online

*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.


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