We migrate to whiskey in the colder months of the year like flightless, hard-drinking birds, but gin’s charms are perennial. And when the gin in question is aged for 6 months in 12-year-old French Limousin oak, it’s enough to make us set down the Sazerac. For the last three years, Citadelle (an under-exposed, small-batch gin made by the Frenchmen responsible for Ferrand Cognac) has bottled a reserve aged in Ferrand Cognac casks—the only gin in the world kissed by such rarefied wood. And for the 2010 vintage (hitting a liquor store near you at around $40), the Ferrand boys adjusted Citadelle’s botanical recipe to better suit oak aging, adding more violet, iris, and paradise grains. What this means to you: a sultry, intriguing spirit, just as rewarding to sip on its own as it is in a cocktail. Vanilla, cinnamon, and a certain floral something add a unique complexity to an already lovely gin bouquet. We gave it the martini test: Dolin dry vermouth, one drop of Bitter Truth Orange Bitters, one drop of Old Time Aromatic Bitters, and a lemon twist. Yep. A man could get through the season with that.
Why this painstakingly-oaked bottling is your secret to mixing the winter's most fortifying drink.