Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. — Handcrafted in the South

Traveling through Charleston earlier this week, I kept my eyes peeled for the best artisan and handcrafted goods this venerable Southern city had to offer. Ducking in shop after shop, and talking to many of the locals, I found a treasure trove of goodies.

One that was mentioned to me a few times was the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Fresh off a successful new launch of the Jack Rudy Small Batch Grenadine at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, this was the perfect second addition to their eponymous Small Batch Tonic. Each batch is numbered making each bottle a little treasure to behold as it sits on your bar, waiting for company, or better yet, for the special occasions you create for yourself.

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.

I came home with a bottle of each after dropping in at the Old World Mercantile (the worlds smallest department store) to peruse the shelves and maybe find a little something to take home to my husband. Jack Rudy’s bottles popped out at me and I didn’t hesitate. My husband is a prohibition-era cocktail aficionado and I knew these would make the perfect present and give me brownie points towards his honey-do list.

The Small Batch Tonic is essentially a quinine concentrate. It’s designed to pair with your favorite Gin or Vodka, and is then stretched with soda water to make a bright, light, refreshing highball. With a backbone of quinine, culled from the Cinchona Tree, the founders added a delicate mix of botanicals, sweetening with real cane sugar; the final product is a complex mixture that introduces a fine bitterness to any cocktail, and a great pairing with the botanicals of the finest gins in the world.

I tried it with my local purveyor, Cardinal Gin, and it makes the perfect Gin and Tonic. It’s shockingly bright with a great zesty citrus burst of flavor. Topped with soda water, it’s the perfect summer cocktail.

Handcrafted for Jack Rudy Cocktail Co, the Small Batch Grenadine is made with pomegranates (the french word for pomegranate is grenade) cane sugar, and orange flower water. Rich and full-flavored up front, it gives way to a bright, almost tropical finish that lifts a drinks profile; use it to create new cocktails, or to revisit classic drinks like a Ward 8, Jack Rose, El Presidente, or Monkey Gland. For the little connoisseurs in your home, mix it with lemon-lime soda to make a Shirley Temple, or cola to make a Roy Rogers!

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Grenadine and Tonic

My favorite way to have grenadine is in a Tequila Sunrise. This is another prohibition era cocktail that is coming back into style. What’s that? You’ve never had one. Well, here is my recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white tequila, iced
  • 4 ounces cold, fresh orange juice
  • Dash of grenadine
  • Slice of orange

Pour the tequila into a chilled highball glass, followed by the orange juice. Float the grenadine on top, and garnish with an orange slice.

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. is a family run company based in Charleston, SC and Lexington, KY.

Our goal is to take long forgotten staples of the American bar and reinvent them, in an effort to drink like our great-grandparents might once have.

Our products are crafted in the United States in small batches, and distributed carefully across the world to finer bottle shops, bars, restaurants and general fans of a delicious drink.

You can buy Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. products at many fine purveyors or on their website. Orders are sold in packs of two for $32.00 per pack.

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored, nor did I receive anything free. I swiped my card happily in the name of artisan goods and delicious cocktails.

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Cardinal Gin — Southern Artisan Spirits

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

Cardinal Gin - Artisanal Southern Spirit

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

Cardinal Gin Awards

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)
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: cocktail

Garnish: orange peel or cherry

1. Shake ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker

2. Strain and enjoy responsibly

Cocktail jigger and strainer

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]




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