Stock Your Bar With Value: Ten Award-Winning Bottles of Booze for Under $30
Victor Bouvier reveals that the French can make gin as well as the British.
2. Citadelle Gin
Citadelle is also easy to overlook, as it's a London Dry gin made in France, but when I walked into Spec's, Victor Bouvier from Cognac Ferrand (the maker of Citadelle) poured me a sample. It deserves the 2012 Double Gold, as Citadelle is the only gin I would drink on the rocks. The $22 gin mixes well in a Chicago South Side, and also a New York Southside.
Pour 2 ounces of Citadelle with 3 ounces of Fever-Tree Tonic over ice, with a wedge of lemon (yes, I said lemon), and you'll have a lighter and spicier alternative to Tanqueray for a superb gin and tonic.
1. Tito's Handmade Vodka
Tito Beveridge of Austin won the Double Gold way back in 2001, but he hasn't been resting on his laurels. Rather, he's been busy distilling larger amounts of this increasingly popular vodka. Sure, the bottle isn't sexy -- it looks like something to be swigged from while sitting with a blond in a cowgirl hat on the tailgate of a Ford F-150 in the scenic parking lot of Salt Lick Barbecue in Dripping Springs. Doesn't matter, because Tito's wins out on taste, beating all other vodkas in just about every test I've seen, held or read about.
Yes, Tito's is the best vodka in the world.
The odd design works both ways, though, as it stands out from the fancier liquor around it, and no bar is complete without a bottle of Tito's. $18 Tony K's