Not too long ago, I was in Asheville, NC, and introduced to Cardinal Gin. I was shocked when the barkeep explained they were from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, — here’s a craft gin in my backyard. My bartender knew I wasn’t a gin fan, but felt this artisan gin from Southern Artisan Spirits would be a good flavor profile for me to test.
I quickly became a fan.
Cardinal Gin by Southern Artisan Spirits
Dedicated to the revitalization of the lost art of craft distillation, Southern Artisan Spirits hones their craft in an old textile factory in Kings Mountain. Considered a Western-style gin, like Hendricks, award-winning Cardinal Gin has a beautiful botanical (very herbal) bouquet with a stronger mint finish on the end than you’d find in other gins.
Distilled with organic juniper, spearmint, clove, grains of paradise, coriander, orange peel, apricot kernels, cardamum, frankincense angelica root, and orris root, Cardinal is perfect for prohibition era cocktails, such as the Corpse Reviver. The distillation process takes place with modern tools, using a stainless steel vat and induction heating. This gives the distillers greater control of the product, ensuring the flavor is consistent with each batch.
The bottle housing Cardinal Gin is one that denotes the seriousness of the product you’re about to consume, with the Cardinal, North Carolina’s State Bird, embossed upon it.
Awards for Cardinal Gin
How do I enjoy Cardinal Gin? I’m still developing my palate and haven’t adapted to sipping it straight, but I do like to mix it with tonic or in my favorite cocktail, The Corpse Reviver #2.
Corpse Reviver #2
1 oz. Cardinal gin
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 drop absinthe (you can substitute pastis)
Tools: shaker, strainer
Garnish: orange peel or cherry
1. Shake ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker
2. Strain and enjoy responsibly
[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]