Cardinal Gin Cocktail

Does it totally blow your mind that fancy cocktails cost so much? I had a dark and stormy the other day at a bar here in Carrboro, and it was $9! It was delicious, but nine dollars!  I feel like making drinks at home is the way to go… right? I mean, let’s be honest–I’m intimidated by things like vermouth and bitters, but I can handle the basics. This cocktail–it’s sort of a Pimm’s cup–is just right. And, it totally tastes like a nine dollar drink.

I have to tell you about this gin. It’s made in North Carolina! A company called Southern Artisan Spirits makes it, and they’re located in King’s Mountain (near Charlotte, and the site of a Revolutionary War battle). I’m gonna be honest–I don’t know much about gin, but I’ve done some research about this one, and the fact that it’s “dry” means that the botanicals (juniper and other things) are added after the fermentation. Past that, I’m not sure. I think that an American dry gin is made the same way as a London dry gin, but, of course, in America. The pine-y taste that I associate with gin is actually juniper, which is the primary botanical added to gin to flavor it. As far as I can tell, Cardinal gin is a little less juniper-y than a London dry gin, but it still has a strong botanical flavor. You can find this gin in a ton of North Carolina liquor stores (so says their website), and in a few other southeastern states, too. It’s about $30 a bottle. Mine was a gift!

For the cocktail:

a few ice cubes

1 ounce gin

4 ounces ginger ale (or ginger beer, which might be better!)

1 lime wedge

4 english cucumber slices

In a small glass, combine the ice, gin, ginger ale, 3 of the cucumber slices, and a squeeze of lime juice. Gently stir, then garnish the glass with the remaining cucumber slice and the lime wedge (if you’re feeling fancy). If it’s as beautiful there as it is here, drink your fancy cocktail on the porch with a good book.


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