Articles Tagged: Cardinal Gin


Sneak Preview: Varuna Cocktail


I’m excited today to share with you a second sneak preview from my forthcoming book Gin: the Art and Craft or the Artisan Revival. 

One of the biggest challenges I’ve found facing the recent explosion in quite excellent Aged Gins is the lack of cocktails to make with them. I partnered with friend and cocktail creator Justin (follow him on Twitter @thetoptippler) to help engineer some novel creations that highlight these new spirits. One which I’m really proud to share with you today is called the Varuna Cocktail and it is an unlikely pairing of aged gin and coconut rum that is absolutely sublime and unique. You’re going to love this drink as much as I do, I promise. And you can get a head-start on making one of these new aged gin cocktails today.

The Aged Gin!

I was playing around with Aged Gins and Justin’s cocktail. Roundhouse Spirits in Colorado makes a fantastic Imperial Barrel Aged Gin (). In the Varuna, Justin’s drink uses this gin to showcase the chamomile, floral, caramelized notes and marries them perfectly with the slight coconut note from the dash of rum, all in a rich, frothy texture.

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Gin News [October 11th, 2013]

What’s New?

In a ridiculous case of possibly the most unfortunate timing in the world for a gin writer, I had dinner at Washington D.C.’s Founding Farmer’s restaurant on Sunday night. And just four days later, they launch their own gin, distilled at the Copper Fox Distillery in Virginia.  Available at the restaurant after October 22nd. North Carolina’s outstanding Cardinal Gin joined the Barrel Aging fray with their recently released Cardinal Barrel Rested Gin. If you’re fortunate enough to be located in the Carolinas, check it out and let me know how it is. Recently reviewed Ungava Gin has gone international, now available in 55 countries. And c’mon UK folks. You know you’re thinking holiday season already, and you know what that means? Master of Malt’s annual collaboration with The Gin Blog’s Ginvent Calendar. None of the spirits are new, but the calendar is. And it’s a great way to get to know 24 gins, some old favorites, some new.

Who Else is talking about gin?

Gin is no longer stuffy, uptight and old seeming, who would have thought? The telepgraph chronicles gin’s ascension from being “as cool as granny’s sherry*” to the choice of the “adventurous drinker.

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Other Thoughts

ADI’s 7th Annual Judging of American Craft Spirits, Gin Winners

Congratulations to all the winners across all of the categories for the American Distilling Institute’s 7th annual judging of American craft spirits. Below you’ll find a list of the winners from the gin category with links to reviews where applicable.

It seems a fantastic list with a lot of great gins represented as well as a tribute to the vast amount of high quality gin that’s coming out across these United States. Hopefully in the coming months we’ll be able to fill in the gaps with reviews for all of the winners.

In the meantime, congrats again to the winners and hope you’re all enjoying some of this great gin. Cheers!


Best of Category: Rock Town Distillery – Brandon’s Gin (silver)


Best of Category:  Captive Spirits Distilling – Big Gin (gold)

Bull Run Distilling – Aria Portland Dry Gin (gold)

Veracity Spirits – Vivacity Native Gin (silver)


Best of Category: Myer Farm Distillers – Myer Farm Gin (silver)

Dancing Pines Ditillery – Gin (silver)

Dancing Tree Distillery – Gin (silver)

Treaty Oak Distilling – Waterloo Gin (silver)

Corsair Artisan – Steampunk (bronze)

Maine Distilleries – Cold River Traditional Gin (bronze)

StilltheOne Distillery – Jarhead Gin (bronze)


Best of Category and Best in Show: Valentine Distilling Co.

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“September Frost Cocktail” or “It Ain’t Easy Being Green”

About a month ago, Mixology Monday returned with an equal parts cocktail challenge. Of course, given my predilection for easy-to-remember cocktails, cocktails which you can walk into a kitchen and not worry about whether or not you have the right ratio (e.g. the Negroni), I was ready to get in on that. And then the deadline passed without a stroke of inspiration and I never quite for my entry in.

So when Mixology Monday posted its most recent competition, hosted by Wordsmithing Pantagruel, with the theme (it’s not easy) “Bein’ Green” I had to get in on it.

So gin and green, they almost seem to go together naturally. Gin and Tonic with a garnish of lime. The quintessential portrait of gin. I wanted to get lime into this cocktail somehow. Mint is another ingredient which works well with gin. While in the summer, fresh mint is widely available. Perhaps even growing in your backyard. But let’s look out the window. It’s October, fall is here to stay so fresh mint might be harder to come by. But interestingly enough I have this bottle of Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin lying around*.

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50 States of Gin: The Winners of Each Round

Naturally, when there’s 30+ gins to be tasted it cannot be done all at once. As much as we’d like to try, to do a proper tasting our livers and mental capacities just couldn’t take it. So in order to give every gin a proper tasting and a fair shot, we spread it out into 6 mini tastings over the course of a long day. So as promised, here’s a recap of what we tasted side by side and with what–  and I’ll share with you my top two from each heat.

For full gin reviews of every gin covered in the 50 States of Gin tasting, you’ll have to stay tuned to the Gin is In this fall. If my first post was the 10 miles high overview, this is the one from 50,000 feet. The full reviews will be on the ground: up close and personal.

Heat #1 ///

The Participants: Dogfish Head Jin from Delaware [the nation’s first state, I’m sure you see where we’re going with this], Pennsylvania’s Bluecoat Gin, Southern Gin from Georgia, Gale Force Gin from Masscahussetts and finally, New Hampshire’s Karner Blue gin.

Overall a strong opening.

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1GD: with Cardinal Gin

For my wife’s recent birthday, we decided to celebrate at a BYOB restaurant. And you know what that means? How about a Pitcher of Twentieth Century Cocktails starring the quite good Cardinal Gin from North Carolina.

I specifically chose Cardinal because I thought that the mint notes of the gin would compliment the chocolate flavor in the cocktail. Overall, I fear that the mint notes didn’t shine through in this rather potent drink, but I think Cardinal gin succeeded in making a great cocktail nonetheless. Among many drinkers [and many non-gin drinkers] there was nary a complaint and plenty of drinking.

Also, this is the largest cocktail I’ve ever made. And to think, I briefly was worried that this wasn’t going to be enough.

[It wasn’t.]

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Gin Reviews

Cardinal Gin


Cardinal gin hails from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and from a small city which could once boast as being on the cutting edge of prohibition. Kings Mountain was one of the first places to officially declare itself a “dry city,” and yet they now find themselves on the cutting edge of craft distillation.

Southern Artisan Spirits proudly talks about their inclusion of “fresh” and “organic” botanicals. Though Southern Artisan Spirits does not make their list of botanicals available, we can make some good guesses as to what is in here as a couple stand out boldly.

Tasting Notes On the nose is a warm whiff of juniper and a few complimentary floral notes. Hints of warm spice in the background which betray more of themselves on the tasting. The taste begins with a potent, but smooth burst of alcoholic with a hint of burn. Warm notes of complimentary juniper start to shine. The floral and spice which are present but not individually discernible on the nose reveal themselves, slowly unfolding. There’s a warm perhaps christmas-like combination of spice. Perhaps some cinnamon and nutmeg, but predominantly clove like. There’s a hint of citrus in there, before the juniper then begins to fade into the background giving way to an intense note of mint.

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