Cilician Voyage

Cilician Voyage

Step 1: Go out and buy Citadelle Reserve gin. Step 2: Go out and buy Strega.

Both are phenomenal ingredients, extremely unique, and will surely bring you pleasurable cocktail after cocktail. Strega, surprisingly, was an unknown to many of the cocktailians who frequent the Mixoloseum chat room. To the uninitiated, Strega an Italian liqueur made from some seventy herbs and colored a lovely golden yellow with saffron. The name, which means “witch” in Italian, was originally a genius marketing scheme to sell the liqueur. The town it’s produced in, Benevento, has traditions of witchcraft, but not the malicious kind. The kind where witches make love potions. And as we’ve learned throughout history, anything marketed as a love potion sells like crazy.

Strega’s flavor reminds me of sweet anise, spearmint, and just a hint of vanilla. It’s wonderful by itself or on ice, but where it really shines is in cocktails. But before I go on, I must talk about Citadelle Reserve gin. This stuff is just so good. Nearly every potion that it has caressed has come out magnificent, alluring, and more than a bit new. It’s creamy, complex, and extremely mixable. What’s most exciting is that it’s aged for six months in oak barrels. Aged gin? Oh yes. It’s a light golden color and a touch to the tongue reveals the slightest hint of vanilla along with the juniper you’d expect. A perfect match for Strega. I think so.

Cilician Voyage

  • 1oz Citadelle Reserve gin
  • 1oz Strega
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1/2oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1 dash Fee’s whiskey barrel-aged bitters
  • 1 dash Fee’s grapefruit bitters
  • ginger beer, to top

Build in a glass with crushed ice. Give it a few twists of the spoon and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, lime twist, and some saffron if you’re feeling luxurious.

Rick from Kaiser Penguin and Marshall from Scofflaw’s Den

The aged gin almost seems as if it adds a creaminess to the cocktail that other gins didn’t. At the same time, it manages to be assertive enough to poke its head out among strong players like Strega and lime juice too. Put Strega and Citadelle Reserve together with some cinnamon and grapefruit, and they perform a symphony of delight.

KP Questions

I know I haven’t done two questions in a while, but these are important!

  1. Have you had Strega? What cocktails do you enjoy it in?
  2. What’s your opinion on aging gin?

19 Responses to “Cilician Voyage”

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19 Comments to “ Cilician Voyage”
  1. you have yours already!



  2. Jay HepburnNo Gravatar says:

    I didn’t realise Citadelle Reserve was out already. Doesn’t look to be available here in the UK… boo, hiss, etc. Do you have the newly republished Café Royal Cocktail Book Rick? It has several recipes that call for “oaked gin” which the Citadelle Reserve appears ideally suited for.

  3. SeamusNo Gravatar says:

    I have been meaning to get around to trying Strega as a cocktail ingredient. I went through a phase of quite liking it straight, but that was before I got into cocktails so I never tried mixing it.

    As for aging gin, isn’t Seagram’s aged? I think they also do a harder-to-find premium version that is aged a little longer. I would like to try this one but I have never come across it.

  4. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    I`ve had Strega but i havent mixed with it and it was long time ago, its actually a sort of a “forgotten ingredient” for me which i now realize its high time i go and grab a bottle and start mixing.

    Its worse with Citadelle, its not available here and i suspect, in Europe. I find aged gin very interesting, i like aged spirits very much.

    This garnish is so lovely.

  5. BonzoGalNo Gravatar says:

    That garnish is gorgeous! It’s worth the expense to add that bright “pow” that saffron gives there.

    Never tried Strega- I’ve always been afraid of it- it sits in the back of too many old bars in SF, in a sticky, ancient bottle; so I’ve always assumed it was the ick. I will now erase this prejudice.

  6. ScratchlineNo Gravatar says:

    As luck would have it, we picked up a bottle of Strega a couple weeks ago. Looking forward to trying it in the Voyage. We haven’t seen Citadelle Reserve around NYC…anyone with suggestions about where to get it? We will sub the aged Kensington which we like very much. (That is also really hard to find.) Having a Kensington martini right now which is awfully good.

    Re the Strega: I noticed that the cocktaildb described Strega (and pictured it) as clear. My dusty bottle is yellow, and on their website it’s yellow and they mention the saffron coloring. However…just today we saw a presumably-old bottle in a liquor store that was clear. Any idea when & why the shift happened?

    Strega’s bottle design is one of the best ever.

  7. Mike S.No Gravatar says:

    Seagram’s Distiller’s Reserve is their top-line barrel-aged gin. It’s bottled at 102 proof and is extremely well-priced (here in the U.S., anyway). A highly underrated product, in my opinion.

  8. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    1) Awesome garnish/photo as usual, Rick!
    2) Never had Strega
    3) I’ll try anything that says “gin” on the bottle, aged or otherwise.

  9. WOW!

    This is a kick-ass drink!

    Had to use Citadele (not reserve) so I can only imagine how much better this would be with the ‘good stuff’….. If you haven’t had one yet you are missing out.

  10. Jake HoganNo Gravatar says:

    Chip and andy, I’ve tried adding in a special blend of mug garnish and my drink didn’t come out so good. Maybe you can explain to us what you used to prepare your drink? Thanks!

  11. NilsonNo Gravatar says:

    The picture is so beautiful that I want to try it. Thanks for the very nice receipe.
    I guess that girls must like very much that drink… :p

  12. PECSOLNo Gravatar says:

    I love Strega. Anybody else? I have good Strega memories… even have a Strega poster, matted and framed on the wall in my bedroom. :)

  13. Born4HoldemNo Gravatar says:

    The picture is fantastic, I love the garnish. Do girls like that drink? I am sure they do.
    I never heard of Strega before. Anyway it is time to go to the liquor store and buy some to try to make this amazing beverage. And then I guess I need to make a party in my home, and invite plenty of single beautiful girls. omg.

  14. Gustav KlimtNo Gravatar says:

    Tried the Cilician Voyage at house party and it was awesome! Good work, i will check your blog to see if there are any more cool ideas!

  15. Subbing for Demerara rums is really difficult. It’s hard to get the same body and smoky quality to the rum. As you mentioned, the Bajan rums give you some decent smoky notes, but they lack some of the other complexities that you’d usually find.

  16. suntouch.comNo Gravatar says:

    I remember last December Citadelle Gin Reserve was introduced in the U.S. as the only gin in the world aged for six months in used oak casks at the Cognac Ferrand estate. Each cask used for aging is then discarded after bottling, making it one of the most expensive gins to produce!

  17. I’m never happy just making the standard drink for a spirit. I found a recipe in the Imbibe Magazine from Jim Meehan of PDT that called for platinum tequila and Strega, which seemed like a great next choice. Hopefully i’ll have on that looks as amazing as the one above!

  18. ZigBeeNo Gravatar says:

    cool post! I was quite intrigued the other day to discover that Seagram’s gin is also barrel-aged (I guess it helps to read the label…). It’s obviously not in the same ballpark as Citadelle, but it would be interesting to see how it holds up in a Last Word.

  19. This looks amazing, and the fact that you’ve included Citadelle gin in it means there is definitely a kick in it. Can not wait to try it out! thanks for posting!

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

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It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.