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922 South Morton Street
Bloomington, IN, 47403
United States


Cardinal Spirits is a craft distillery in Bloomington, Indiana that specializes in producing extraordinary spirits from local ingredients.  

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Limoncello Recipe featuring Prima Materia

Cassie Morris

Meet our newest spirit, Prima Materia: a gluten-free, high-proof spirit distilled from white grapes. We are releasing this limited edition spirit at the distillery only starting this Friday. At 190 proof and 95% ABV — whoa — Prima Materia is the highest proof that a spirit can be distilled, which means it's not meant to be drank straight.

So what exactly do you do with the thing?

Prima Materia is designed to be a high-quality base ingredient for infusions, tinctures, bitters and other DIY recipes calling for high-proof alcohol. 

We know what you're thinking: high-proof spirits are not particularly known for their quality, drinkability or craft. But, Prima Materia is a superior option. First, it's fermented and distilled on-site at our distillery, whereas other mass-produced options are simply bottled by a producer. Also, it's gluten-free (distilled from white grapes), providing a pure, clean base for the recipes you want to make at home.

Now that you know all this stuff about Prima Materia, you might wonder how to get started on your own infusions and tinctures at home.

We're here to help. A great place to start is Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur that is made by steeping lemon peels in Prima Materia. The result is a a bright, pleasantly sweet liqueur that is traditionally enjoyed chilled and straight as a digestif, or after-dinner drink.

The best part is that it only takes four ingredients to make a batch of this flavorful liqueur from scratch. 



Recipe by Robert Hackett

Makes approximately 2.5 liters

4 large (or 6 medium or 8 small) lemons
1 liter of Cardinal Spirits Prima Materia high-proof alcohol (190 proof / 95% ABV)
800 grams of sugar
1.25 liters of water

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peels from the lemons. (Note: The white, spongy layer between the peel and the fruit is called the pith. Try to minimize the amount of pith when peeling, as it will impart more bitterness on the final product.)

  2. Add the lemon peels and the Prima Materia to an airtight container and let steep for 10 days, shaking every 2 days. Store container in a cool, dark place.

  3. After 10 days, prepare a syrup. Bring the water to a boil and slowly add sugar, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

  4. While the syrup is still warm, pour the lemon-infused alcohol through a strainer into the syrup. Be sure no solid particles pass through into the liquid.

  5. Stir to thoroughly combine.

  6. Let cool at room temperature, then it’s ready to drink. Salute!

Prima Materia will be released this Friday, Jan. 27, at noon at the distillery. Come by and taste the Limoncello that we've made with our Prima Materia, just for this weekend — a chilled, straight pour is $5. Plus, we'll be offering free distillery tours on Saturday at 1, 2 and 3pm. No need to RSVP, just show up!