The Halifax Citadel Distilled Experiences

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Raise a glass at the Halifax Citadel’s special guided tours and spirit tastings. Choose from a quick tasting experience to a grand tour with tasting tutorials from a professional distiller!

Raise Your Spirits with the Halifax Citadel


Animated Parks Canada logo.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Nova Scotia. [A guide dressed as a 78th Highlander leads four visitors through the Halifax Citadel main entrance, across the Parade Square to the oustide of the Cavalier Building.]

[Someone twirls a liquid in a glass that has the 78th Highlander logo printed on the front.]

[The Highlander invites the four visitors to enter the historic room.]

[The Highlander gives a tour of the darkly lit barrel-room full of Compass Distillers branded barrels to the four visitors.]

[A close up of one of the Compass Distillers branded barrels.]

[The four visitors enter a brightly lit historic room where they will enjoy a Compass Distillers spirit tasting experience.]

[A close up of a charcuterie board (a selection of cheeses, cured meat and bread).]

[The four visitors are seated while the 78th Highlander guides them through a spirit tasting experience as they all sip spirits (alcohol).]

[A close up of a visitor cutting the cheese on the chacuterie board.]

[The visitor eats and enjoys a piece of cheese.]

[An aerial overview of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.]

Parks Canada logo.

Animated Canada wordmark.

Explore the past, taste the present

In 1869, a daily ration of alcohol was one of the main advantages of military life for many soldiers, as numerous accounts confirm. From persuading the enlistment of new recruits, to fortifying one’s bravery in the field, alcohol is a part of the Halifax Citadel’s story. 

Continuing this story, the Halifax Citadel Society has partnered with Compass Distillers to create three unique spirits, all of which are aged in oak barrels and stored at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Whether you are interested in a quick tasting experience or ready to embark on a grand tour including tasting tutorials with a professional distiller, the Halifax Citadel has an experience for you!

Raise Your Spirits!

Enjoy a special tour and tasting with a kilted 78th Highlander as your guide. Go behind-the-scenes at the historic Halifax Citadel and discover the history of alcohol in the British Military. Finally, savour three Halifax Citadel-aged spirits crafted by award-winning Compass Distillers paired with delicious artisanal cheeses.

Experience Highlights:

  • Gain after-hours access to Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a restored 19th-century British fortification with stunning views of Halifax.
  • Guided by a kilted 78th Highlander, join with friends to hear how alcohol was used in the British military; both a blessing and a curse – depending on who you ask!
  • Visit Compass Distillers’ barrelling room inside the fortification where spirits are stored and aged in wooden barrels – a true sensory experience!
  • Guided tasting of three unique spirits made exclusively for the Halifax Citadel Society by award-winning Compass Distillers. Enjoy Noon Gun Gin, Granite & Grain Whiskey, and Daily Ration Rum with artisanal cheese and crackers.
  • Get the scoop on Compass Distillers’ locally sourced "grain to bottle" distilling approach.
Private group tours and tastings


Most tours are available year-round except for few special-event days.

Booking Information:

For more information or to book a private tour, call 902-426-1990 or email

The Halifax Citadel Orderly Room is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

The Proof is in the Barrel

A truly Nova Scotian experience in a unique historic setting!

Start your experience with an exclusive and spirited private tour of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site with a uniformed 78th Highlander guide. Learn more about the history of alcohol in the British military and watch a firing demonstration of an authentic 19th-century Snider-Enfield rifle.

Next, you will march over to the barrelling room where you'll meet a professional distiller from Compass Distillers. They will explain the story of how each of the exclusive Halifax Citadel-aged spirits were created. Continuing the hands-on experience, you'll take samples from the barrels and help the distiller with a process called ‘proof them down’, which reduces the alcohol content.

Finally, you will gather in the North Magazine’s Garrison Room for a delicious culinary experience featuring local charcuterie chosen with care to pair perfectly with each spirit. In this private space, you'll learn how to properly taste each spirit and have the opportunity to ask questions of the distiller.

But the fun doesn’t stop here! All participants receive a gift box set of 78th Highlanders-branded Glencairn glasses and two bottles of Halifax Citadel-aged spirits of your choice to continue your tasting experience at home.


Available year-round except a few special-event days. Contact us for details (see "Reserve' tab).

Duration: 3 hours


Adults (aged 19 or more)

$350 per person plus tax


By email:

By telephone: The Halifax Citadel Orderly Room at 902-426-1990

Special Notes:

  • A minimum of 48 hours advanced notice is required for registration.
  • The Halifax Citadel Orderly Room is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Maximum of six participants per session.
  • Private tour of the Halifax Citadel
  • Rifle firing demonstration
  • Learn about spirit making from a professional distiller
  • Enjoy sampling straight from the barrels
  • Culinary experience with local charcuterie
  • Take home your very own Glencairn glasses and two bottles of Halifax Citadel-aged spirits of your choice
Travel trade
  • Available in English and French
  • Suitable for small groups
  • Suitable for FIT (Fully Independent Travelers)
  • Reservation required
  • Motorcoach parking available
  • On site café/restaurant
  • Washrooms on site
  • Gift shop

Toast and Tasting

This experience is currently unavailable.

Participants will sample three exclusive spirits offered by Compass Distillers. Aged exclusively at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, the spirits are created from scratch with Nova Scotian ingredients and are appropriately named:

  • Noon Gun Gin
  • Granite & Grain Whiskey
  • Daily Ration Rum

As part of the spirit tasting experience, you’ll receive a perfectly paired light snack and a souvenir placemat that includes an explanation of each spirit and its tasting notes.

Adults (aged 19 and more)

$15 per person plus tax

Served in the Soldier’s Library on the ground level of the Cavalier Building.

Orders can be placed at the Coffee Bar.

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