Cocktails with… Cardinal Gin (from North Carolina)

Cardinal Gin is the only gin made in North Carolina (the 12th state to join the union), by Southern Artisan Spirits of Kings Mountain. It is based on Neutral Grain Spirit and has 9 botanicals.

On its own
Nose: Juniper mainly, with some floral, heathy notes.
Taste: Cinnamon upfront, then mint on the finish. There are also faint hints of coconut and wintergreen/sarsaparilla. This has an interesting and sweet – almost dessert-like – flavour profile.

Gin & Tonic
Sweet and herbal, this tastes quite a lot of menthol, which makes it rather cooling in your mouth. This is certainly not a run-of the mill Gin & Tonic, but it is exceptionally refreshing, thanks in part to that cooling menthol. I would recommend a wedge of lemon to complement the minty freshness.

Martini
Sweet and spicy, with menthol on the finish. Once again, I like the mint notes, as it gives the cocktail a crisp edge, whilst not overpowering the drink. This won’t be for everyone, but I rather like it.

Negroni
Sweet and herbal, with fennel, anise and liquorice all being rather dominant. There is a thickness to the texture and the gin’s sweetness comes through quite strongly, making this almost like a Negroni liqueur. The sweetness reminds me of the wintergreen in Dandelion & Burdock, but, that said, there is a separate bitter note that should keep ardent Negroni fans happy.

In Conclusion
Mint is a prominent feature of this gin and some of the panel criticised it for this. That aspect may overpower some drinks, but, with some thought, the spirit can be used to make some really superb ones; even in the standard cocktail fayre that I tried it in, I found some of the cocktails to be rather moreish.

United States of Gin will return in…

Cocktails with… Greenhook Gin from New York State