Le Citadelle Martini

In the summer, sitting on a patio drinking a martini is the adult equivalent of going to the pool as a kid. The first sip always gives me the same delicious feeling I had as a child when the lifeguard screamed, "Adult swim is over! Kids can re-enter the pool!" Ah, the little things in life. And in downtown Denver, there's no more lovely place to enjoy the little things than on the patio at Bistro Vendôme. Tucked behind all the hustle and bustle of Larimer Square, Bistro Vendôme is beautiful, charming and surprisingly relaxing. Its namesake, Le Place Vendôme, is a historic square in the heart of Paris -- like Larimer Square, except it's surrounded by Paris instead of Denver. Since its creation more than 300 years ago, Le Place Vendôme has been a symbol of luxury; today it's home to the Ritz Hotel, as well as some of the world's finest jewelers, perfumers and clothing designers. And at Bistro Vendôme, I found what could be the world's finest gin: Citadelle. Manufactured in France, Citadelle is triple-distilled with nineteen botanicals (including some I'd never heard of, like cassia, angélica and Grains of Paradise) to capture each separate scent. Unlike most gins -- Bombay Sapphire, for example, which tastes like you've jumped into a pool of juniper berries -- Citadelle lets you savor all the separate flavors, such as coriander and aniseed, which give it a wonderful aftertaste. Even more wonderful is Le Citadelle Martini ($8), which adds a Dubonnet swirl and bleu-cheese olives to Citadelle. One sip, and you'll know that adult swim has started.


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