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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. 

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!


Citrus-y cocktail recipes

Erica Sagon

It's citrus season! Make the most of the mid-winter bounty with these citrus-forward cocktail recipes from our bar crew.

Bye Bye Birdie cocktail recipe

Erica Sagon


What are you drinking on NYE? At the distillery, we'll be toasting to 2017 with Bye Bye Birdie, a prosecco drink that's kissed with our Standard Dry Gin, cranberry syrup and lime juice. It's easy to serve to a crowd, making it perfect for your NYE bash, too. 



By Alyvia Cain of Cardinal Spirits

Makes 1 cocktail

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Cardinal Spirits Standard Dry Gin
1/4 ounce cranberry syrup (recipe follows)
Prosecco or other sparkling white wine
Orange peel
Lime wheel, for garnish

In a coupe, combine the lime juice, gin and cranberry syrup. Top with prosecco. Express the oils of an orange peel into the drink by holding a piece of peel, peel-side down, over the cocktail and squeezing it gently. Garnish with a lime wheel. 


To make cranberry syrup: Heat 1 cup of 100% cranberry juice (no sugar added) and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely before using; store in refrigerator.

To make this drink for a crowd: It's easy to make this cocktail for a group, and you can make it ahead of time. Scale up the ingredients based on the number of servings you need. Combine the lime juice, gin and cranberry syrup in a pitcher, then divide among the glasses. Top each glass with prosecco and garnish with lime wheels. When making the cocktail ahead, put the pitcher in the fridge to chill, and when it's go-time, divide among the glasses, top with prosecco and garnish with lime.

Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Devynn Barnes

Make your weekend the merriest with our favorite holiday cocktail recipes!

La Befana cocktail recipe

Erica Sagon

We have Santa Claus. Italians have La Befana, a witchy-looking old woman with a big heart who visits homes on the night of Jan. 5 to fill children's shoes with candy and small gifts (or coal, if they've been little monsters).

This light, fizzy cocktail recipe is an ode to her holiday spirit — you make it by infusing our Flora with a bit of saffron, then combining the infused Flora with sparkling lemon soda. It feels festive and special — give this little toast when you drink it:

La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!


(The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long live the Befana!)



By Alex Utter of Cardinal Spirits

Makes 1 cocktail

1.5 ounces Songbird Flora infused with saffron (instructions follow)
San Pellegrino Limonata (sparkling lemon soda), to tasteLemon wheel, for garnish

Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add Flora. Fill the rest of the way with Limonata, then garnish with a lemon wheel.

To infuse Songbird Flora with saffron: Add a pinch or two of saffron threads to a bottle of Flora and let sit for 2-3 days. Adjust amount of saffron as you see fit, but it shouldn't take much! The color of the Flora should take on a yellowish-orange tint. Strain out the saffron using a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer before using.

Rummy Hot Chocolate cocktail recipe

Samantha Weiss-Hills

This is a hot chocolate for grown-ups, and not just because of the rum. It's dark and rich and bittersweet, and it's flecked with orange zest and cinnamon — definitely not the hot chocolate of your youth (though 9-year-old you will be quite pleased with that iceberg of whipped cream). 

Our Lake House Spiced Rum has spicy notes that play off chocolate like a charm, and working a few fresh, fragrant scrapes of orange zest and a dusting of warming cinnamon for garnish echoes the actual orange zest and cinnamon that we infuse in our rum. This spiked chocolate is a little unexpected, and that's what makes it special. 



By Samantha Weiss-Hills

Serves 1

1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits Lake House Spiced Rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 ounce dark chocolate (like 60% cacao Ghirardelli), broken into pieces
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk, divided
Whipped cream, for garnish
Cinnamon, for garnish
Grated orange zest, for garnish

  1. In a large mug, add the rum and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup of the milk over low heat. Stir or whisk continuously until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Add the rest of the milk. Stir, then allow to heat the rest of the way through.
  4. Pour into the rum-filled mug, then top with whipped cream, a dusting of ground cinnamon, and orange zest.

To batch this drink for a crowd: You can easily scale up this recipe for a large group of merrymakers. Use a large saucepan, and heat the chocolate and cocoa with half of the total milk first, as you would if you were making a single serving. If you're making it ahead, keep the hot chocolate warming in the saucepan over your stove's lowest setting, stirring occasionally, or transfer the hot chocolate to a thermos. Pour the hot chocolate into the rum-filled mugs when it's go-time.

One last thing: There's no added sugar in this recipe, so if you happen to like your hot chocolate on the classically sweeter side, add a teaspoon or two of sugar per serving along with the cocoa powder.


Lady Rizzo Cocktail Recipe

Devynn Barnes


Having your girlfriends over for holiday drinks? This is the cocktail to make for them.
It's lovely and festive!

By Alex Utter of Cardinal Spirits

1 ounce Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum
3/4 ounce Cardinal Spirits Lake House Spiced Rum
2 chunks of honey crisp apple
3/4 ounce cranberry syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice

Add the apple chunks and cranberry syrup to a shaker tin and muddle. Add all other ingredients and shake vigorously with ice for 15 seconds. Strain into a large rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a thin apple slice.

To make cranberry syrup: Heat 1 cup of 100% cranberry juice (no sugar added) and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely before using; store in refrigerator.


Devynn Barnes

Our customizable holiday gift packs let you build the perfect gift of half-size bottles (aka "cute size) — Vodka, Tiki Rum, Standard Dry Gin, Bramble, Flora, Songbird Coffee Liqueur: Choose any 3 and we'll pack them in a ready-to-gift box right on the spot.

Need some ideas for mixing and matching?  Today we talk to Cardinal bartender and manager Kevin Hinkle, a traditionalist when it comes to both cocktails and holiday movies, but a man who breaks the rules when it comes to picking three spirits for a Perfect 3-Pack. Read on to see what we mean. 

(Yes, like Kevin, you can double up on spirits in your 3-pack. We call that "pulling a Kevin." Then you can give them individually as stocking stuffers!)

Who — any person, living, dead, fictional or famous — would you gift this 3-pack to?
Buddy the Elf, who is known to love coffee. He also loves syrup, so a bottle of that would accompany the gift-pack. (Perhaps from Burton's Maplewood Farm, where we get the syrup for our Nocino!)

What cocktail would you make using at least one of these spirits?
A classic Negroni, using Standard Dry Gin. Bartender video tutorial here!

What holiday movie would you watch while sipping said cocktail?
It's a Wonderful Life

Cardinal Prize Envelopes

Devynn Barnes

Let's reflect on 2016... shall we? Or maybe not. It was kind of a doozy. But you know what's great about this time of year? A flip of the calendar is just weeks away, and that means a whole new year of opportunity, and of fresh starts. In anticipation, we're handing out Cardinal Prize Envelopes right now at the distillery that hold all sorts of glorious discounts and deals and freebies for you to redeem in 2017.


Glad you asked. Every guest who makes a purchase in December will receive one. A Cardinal Prize Envelope is your shot at greatness; it's fate temporarily sealed away, waiting to be opened. Dramatic? Maybe. But really, your odds of winning something fun from the distillery are high. Tucked away in each envelope is a red slip of paper with your prize that can be redeemed in January and February: everything from $2 off a cocktail to a $250 gift certificate. 


DON'T OPEN IT! Well, at least not yet. And by all means, don't lose it! Return to the distillery with your *sealed* envelope in January or February 2017 to have it unsealed by our staff to reveal your prize. In January, we'll redeem the full amount of the prize. In February, we'll redeem half the value of the prize.


Prizes are many and varied. Below is the list of how they are distributed:

(1) Grand prize of a $250 gift card
(5) $25 gift cards
(50) BOGO bottle gift cards- buy one, get one free (except aged whiskey)
(100) 25% off your entire purchase
(200) $5 off any cocktail
(600) $2 off any cocktail

Pictured here: Rosemary's Second Baby cocktail, a gem of our winter menu. Curious about Rosemary's First Baby? Find the recipe in our  cocktail book . 

Pictured here: Rosemary's Second Baby cocktail, a gem of our winter menu. Curious about Rosemary's First Baby? Find the recipe in our cocktail book


Like any good contest, rules and regulations apply. Basically, visit us in December and receive your envelope (limit one per transaction). Don't open it. Come again in January or February and bring it to a member of our staff to unseal it. In February, we'll redeem half the value of the prize. There are a few more rules, and they're listed right on the envelope.

2016 may have been rough, but 2017 is full of opportunity, and, as it turns out, deals. Come into the distillery today to find fate, sealed in a little white envelope. 


Cardinal Spirits Gift Guide 2016

Devynn Barnes

What if a place existed where you could find a holiday gift for both your hard-to-please aunt and crafty brother-in-law? A true one-stop shop full of unique, local and crowd-pleasing items to make your holiday shopping a breeze? Well, we may be biased, but we think Cardinal Spirits is that place. 

We're here to help you be the MVP of the gift-giving season. From yummy spirits to cool drinking vessels to gift cards, Cardinal Spirits can help you find the perfect gift for even the trickiest members of your crew. Like, perhaps:

Your trendy cousin whose tastes tastes are always changing...

The Holiday Gift Box

What never goes out of style? Spirits. And great news: our 3-pack gift box is customizable! Choose from our Vodka, Tiki Rum, Standard Dry Gin, Bramble, Songbird Coffee Liqueur and Songbird Flora, all in 375ml bottles — that's half the size of our regular bottles. Need some inspiration? Check out the My Perfect 3-Pack series on the blog

$40 at the distillery  |  order online for local pick-up

Your aunt who is always trying out new Pinterest recipes...

Indiana Cocktail Recipes Book

We've put together a beautiful collection of 40+ cocktail recipes from Indiana bartenders using Cardinal Spirits. It's organized by season, with easy, medium and challenging recipes. 85 pages of pretty pictures and delicious cocktails: perfect. 

$12.95 at the distillery and online, or $10 with any bottle purchase

Your extra-picky sister who you know will just return whatever you get her anyway...

Gift Cards (With a Holiday Bonus!)

Gift cards: the true hero of the holiday season. Ours are available starting at $10, and they are easier than wrapping a cocktail. Gift cards can be used toward cocktails, bottles, food, tours and merchandise at the distillery.

Holiday bonus: For every $100 purchased in gift cards, you'll receive a bonus gift card worth $20.

Starting at $10 at the distillery and online

Your brother-in-law who swears he needs nothing...

A Cardinal Spirits Flask

It's like we always say: You can never have too many flasks. That's why they make such great gifts. We have 3 types with our logo: a little metal guy with a clip for backpacks, a leather-wrapped one and a cool porthole style. A great gift especially when paired with a bottle of our spirits. 

Starting at $15 at the distillery and online

The resident whiskey-drinker of your family/friend group...

The Perfect Whiskey Glass

These eccentric whiskey glasses were discovered by our friend David Hill of the Malt Guild. After years of research in Scotland with the best Scotch distillers in the world, he found this glass (a Turkish design) to best express the nose and taste of a fine whiskey.

$25 for a set of two at the distillery and online

Your mom, who graciously hosts Christmas dinner every year...



This liqueur is the gift that keeps on giving. Warm, spicy and nutty, Nocino tastes like the holidays. This liqueur is a traditional Italian liqueur made with green, unripe walnuts. For our version, we harvested walnuts right here in Indiana, then combined them with our vodka and spices, and let that steep for months. The result: A luscious, mellow, earthy elixir. Local, unique and delicious. Do we hear "favorite child?" We thought so. 

$28 for a 375ml bottle at the distillery

So there you have it! A selection of personal, unique gifts to make your holiday shopping a little easier. Come by the distillery or check out the online marketplace to browse our whole selection. And of course,