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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.  

The Drop

The Drop is your source for all things craft. 

Filtering by Tag: cocktail recipe


Erica Sagon

In its birthplace — Italy — the Negroni is an apéritif, a before-dinner drink. Here, we drink it before, during and after dinner. It's just that good. Italy always has the best ideas!

The Negroni is bitter, but balanced. Elegant, but unfussy. A fantastic go-to drink. And, the recipe is easy to memorize — the proportions are 1:1:1. 

Cardinal Spirits bar manager Logan Hunter shows us how to make a classic Negroni:


1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Cardinal Spirits Standard Dry Gin
Orange peel

  1. Add Campari, sweet vermouth and gin to a tall glass with ice, then stir.
  2. Strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
  3. Squeeze an orange peel over the cocktail to release the oil, then twist the peel and use as garnish.

Want more cocktail recipes? You got it. Find all of our recipes right here




Erica Sagon

Our amazing Cafe a L'orange cocktail is deceptively simple. Just coffee liqueur, vodka, ice and an orange peel. The magic is the oil in the orange peel, not the juice. Give the peel a squeeze to release the oil, the wipe the peel around the rim of the glass. Watch Logan Hunter and learn. 


1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits Songbird Coffee Liqueur
1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits Vodka
Orange peel

  1. Combine coffee liqueur and vodka in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously, then strain into an ice-filled glass.
  3. Squeeze an orange peel above the drink to release orange oil. Wipe the peel around the edge of the glass and use for garnish. 


Jonna Mary Yost

Summer meals are all the about the grill. While you're at it, why not throw some fruit on there to use in cocktails? The heat intensifies the sweetness and adds that tell-tale summertime char that brings new flavors to classic drinks.

Midwestern Aloha

Pineapple is one of the easiest fruits to grill because it stands up to heat well. Long spears rest on the grill with ease, and allow for some sweet burn lines.

1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum
2 tablespoons grilled pineapple
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
5 to 7 mint leaves

  1. Muddle mint leaves and lime juice in a shaker. Add grilled pineapple and muddle until mashed.
  2. Add rum and ice to the shaker. Shake for about 30 seconds, then strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with seltzer, a grilled pineapple spear, and mint.

Fuzzy Julep

Drink No. 2 begged for peaches. I used charcoal rather than open fire for this drink. After about 8 minutes of facedown time on the grill, the peach halves were soft and lightly charred.

1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits White Oak Whiskey
1 slice fire-­roasted peach, peeled
1 teaspoon honey
1 fat lemon wedge
5 to 7 mint leaves

  1. In the bottom of a shaker, muddle mint and lemon juice until fragrant.
  2. Add peach and honey, and mash thoroughly.
  3. Add whiskey and shake, shake, shake.
  4. Strain over crushed ice and garnish with a slice of grilled peach and mint.

Ageless Fashioned

With whiskey so young, this riff on an Old Fashioned is anything but old. First, I hollowed out an orange. With the guts out of the way, it's the perfect vessel for a quick simple syrup. I poured about 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar and 1/4 cup water in the orange shell, and placed it on the grill alongside some halved bing cherries. Once again, I utilized the heat of charcoal for this drink, rather than a fire. After 10 minutes, the orange-infused simple syrup will fizzle and steam to let you know it is ready to go. The cherries need about 30 seconds of heat.

1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits White Oak Whiskey
2 teaspoons orange-­infused simple syrup
2 dashes bitters
1 fire-­roasted cherry for garnish

  1. Measure whiskey, followed by simple syrup and finally bitters into an old-fashioned glass. Stir lightly and add 2-­3 large cubes of ice.
  2. Float 1/2 of a cherry and a swizzle of orange rind from the simple syrup cup on top.


Erica Sagon

We see a tall, frosty, tropical cocktail in your future. This weekend, try a classic tiki drink called Pieces of Eight with our new Tiki Rum. Cardinal bartender Chris Resnick shows us how to shake it:


Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup (1:1 passion fruit juice and simple syrup)

  1. Add everything to shaker with ice.
  2. Shake, then pour everything from the shaker, including ice, into a tall glass.



Mojito // Daiquiri


Erica Sagon

House-made aromatic bitters and a Cardinal Sling cocktail. 

House-made aromatic bitters and a Cardinal Sling cocktail. 

At some point, we've all left bitters out of a cocktail recipe, right?

Well, all of us except for Cardinal bar manager Logan Hunter. He wouldn't ever skip bitters, and he doesn't think you should, either.

The case for bitters is simple, he says: they magically perk up and bring balance to a cocktail.

Bitters are high-proof alcohol that is intensely infused with botanicals: herbs, spices, bark and roots. Aromatic bitters — known as a bartender's salt and pepper — are steeped with fall and winter spices and are found in classic cocktails like Sazeracs, Singapore Slings and Manhattans. Because it's usually called for in such small quantities — a dash or two at a time — bitters might seem like a throwaway ingredient. Poor bitters! Do not make them feel sad.

"Bitters are so strong and so concentrated that a few drops can make a big difference," Logan says. "It's packed with so much flavor."

Angostura is the quintessential brand of aromatic bitters, but there are dozens of options out there. At Cardinal, Logan and the rest of the team make a slew of bitters in-house to use in cocktails. Varieties include walnut, lavender, cinnamon, orange and aromatic.

If you're wondering why the drinks you make at home aren't tasting like the ones you get at the bar, bitters might be your answer. A bottle is a home-bar essential. It won't go bad. It doesn't need to be refrigerated. And, if all else fails, you can use it to cure hiccups.

Alright, let's practice with bitters. At Cardinal, we make a cocktail called the Cardinal Sling, which was by far our most popular drink when we first opened. Its delightful sweet and sour balance is achieved with — you guessed it — bitters.


1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 1/2 ounces Cardinal Spirits vodka
1 1/2 ounces club soda
Lemon wedge, for garnish

  1. In a shaker with ice, add simple syrup, lemon juice, sweet vermouth, bitters and vodka.
  2. Shake vigorously, then strain into an old-fashioned glass.
  3. Add ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge. 


Erica Sagon

Need a cocktail recipe for tonight? Tomorrow? Right this minute? In the middle of summer, you can't go wrong with a refreshing mojito. Cardinal bartender Baylee Pruitt shows us how to make this classic:


Erica Sagon

Fizzy iced coffee is so hot right now.

Over at, the coffee columnist declares: Coffee and Tonic Water Just May Be Your New Favorite Summer Drink.

(It is.)

Meanwhile, Bon Appétit asks, "What’s cooler than being cool? Ice-cold coffee with a whole lot of tonic water."

(So true.)

Drink writer Kara Newman says "the lines between cocktails and iced coffees are being increasingly blurred this summer."

(Kara would not lie about this stuff.)

Yes, coffee and tonic is this summer's power couple. And we know how to make it even better.

Cardinal Spirits' Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur plus tonic is a genius two-ingredient cocktail. It has the cool-factor of a Negroni: casual, yet bold and flavorful. 

Our Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur is a total secret weapon on its own — it has a smooth, intense coffee profile, with a hint of sweetness. It makes this whole coffee-and-tonic idea even more appealing, because you don't need to pull an espresso shot or make cold-brew coffee ahead of time. You just add tonic to the liqueur, giving it a refreshing, zippy twist. You could use soda water instead for a more mellow take. This is a masterful impromptu cocktail — the kind of thing you pour when friends pop by. 


1-2 ounces Cardinal Spirits' Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur
Tonic water (or substitute soda water)

Add coffee liqueur and ice to a glass (use 1 ounce liqueur for a small glass; 2 ounces for a larger glass). Top slowly with tonic or soda. Stir gently.

And that's it. It could not be easier. If you're itching for a little garnish, try a sprig of mint, a swath of citrus peel or a stick of cinnamon.

Drop the Beet cocktail

Erica Sagon

It looks like red wine. It even tastes a little like red wine. But, actually, this is a gin cocktail called Drop the Beet, on the menu right now at Cardinal Spirits. 

Created by Cardinal bartender Andrew Wind, Drop the Beet has our American Gin, beet shrub and grapefruit juice. Get to know this cocktail, then come in and try it for yourself: 

>> THE SECRET INGREDIENT  A shrub is a sweetened drinking vinegar. Andrew makes a beet shrub for this cocktail by soaking red beets in demerara sugar and balsamic vinegar, then liquifying it all into a flavorful syrup. 

>> IN THREE WORDS Earthy. Bold. Acidic.

>> ANDREW SAYS "Beets have this great inherent sweetness to them. They are robust enough to stand up to a vinegar, and bring sweetness to it."

>> GARNISH IS A NO-GO You won't find a citrus peel, an herb sprig or a booze-soaked cherry accessorizing this drink. It is served unadorned on purpose — the drink is a statement on its own.




Erica Sagon

Photos, story and recipes by Shelly Westerhausen,
Vegetarian Ventures and Driftless magazine

Summer cocktails don't get any easier than this — a three-ingredient Cardinal soda. One: homemade simple syrup. Two: a Cardinal Spirits clear spirit of your choice. Three: soda water. 

Simple syrup at its most basic is equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves. But you don't have to stop there. Adding fresh, seasonal fruits and herbs yields syrups that are worth building a cocktail around.

Today, we'll show you how to make three flavorful varieties of simple syrup: Cold-Pressed Cherry-Ginger, Pineapple-Turmeric and Roasted Strawberry + Tarragon. Each will elevate your cocktail game and each has its own method of preparation.

We like the idea of setting syrups and spirits out at a summer party and letting guests make their own sodas. These versatile recipes can be made with whatever fruit you have on hand, so experiment and play around with your favorite flavors. 


Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces Cardinal Spirits Vodka, American Gin, Standard Gin or White Oak Whiskey
1 ounce simple syrup of your choice (recipes below)
Soda water

Add spirit and syrup of your choice to a glass filled with ice. Top with soda water.

Cherry-Ginger Cold-Pressed Simple Syrup

A fruit’s flavor changes when you cook or boil it. To achieve syrup as close to the actual flavor of the fruit as possible, I recommend trying this cold-pressed method, which involves very little hands-on time. The upside of this method is that it results in a vibrant flavor, but the downside is that we are not heating the fruit, so this simple syrup won’t last for more than a week in your fridge. It is so delicious that it doesn’t last long around here anyways. You can strain the syrup, but I usually prefer to just keep the little bits of cherries in the syrup for an extra boost in my cocktails.

½ cup sugar
½ cup cherries, halved and pitted
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ cup hot water

  1. Combine the sugar, cherries, and ginger in a bowl or large jar and use the back of a heavy spoon or muddler to break apart the cherries and to release their juices.
  2. Add the hot water and continue to smash until the sugar dissolves.  
  3. Let sit for 30-45 minutes, stirring and smashing occasionally. Strain if desired.

Pineapple-Turmeric Simple Syrup

This is the most common method for creating simple syrup and can be used to make pretty much any flavor imaginable into a syrupy form that is perfect for cocktails. I used pineapple juice in this recipe to avoid having to strain later on and avoid having to add water. However, this method can be easily done with fresh fruit and you’ll just need to add water in a 2 to 1 (2 parts sugar, 1 part water) ratio. Also, since we are heating this syrup, it should last up to three months in an airtight container in the fridge.  

1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
Peels from half a lemon

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly, or until all of the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, remove lemon peels.

Roasted Strawberry + Tarragon Simple Syrup

The last method we have today is roasting the fruit to bring out the natural juices. As mentioned before, cooking fruit alters its flavor and, in this case, we are looking for that roasted flavor in our final syrup. If you’ve ever had a roasted strawberry then you already know that it tastes completely different than its fresh counterpart, but it's still delicious in its own way. Again, since we aren’t heating the whole syrup, I’d recommend only keeping for about a week in the fridge. 

1 quart of strawberries, halved, and green parts removed
1 cup sugar, divided
4-5 sprigs of tarragon (depending how strong you want the flavor to be)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the strawberries with half of the sugar and lay in a single layer on a roasting pan. Add the tarragon sprigs and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add in the rest of the sugar and use a muddler or the back of a spoon to smash the strawberries as much as possible, making sure that the sugar has completely dissolved in the process.
  4. Let cool completely and then strain.


Erica Sagon

It's Punch + Pitcher week on The Drop.
Every day, we'll share a recipe for a drink to make for a crowd this July 4 weekend.

This is a no-fail punch — a delicious crowd-pleaser that's incredible easy to make today and all summer long. Happy 4th! And don't forget that all bottles are $17.76 each through the end of the day at Cardinal Spirits. 


1 part Cardinal Spirits Standard Dry Gin
1 part soda water
1 part cranberry-raspberry juice
Raspberries, for garnish

Chill all ingredients before serving. Pour Standard Dry Gin, tonic water and berry juice into a punch bowl or pitcher. Float raspberries in bowl or use as garnish.