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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. 

Copper Tone cocktail recipe

Erica Sagon

CoconutLaCroix (11 of 12).jpg

This vodka cocktail has the best backstory. It starts with Claire McInerny, a Bloomington woman who won a year's supply of something she's completely obsessed with — LaCroix Sparkling Water. This was a dream come true for Claire, who will receive 100 cases in a variety of flavors over the year. There's just one flavor she hates: Coconut. It tastes like sunscreen, she says, and inevitably LaCroix will send her some of it. Could we help her love Coconut LaCroix by adding our spirits, Claire wondered?

We invited Claire to our bar to mix Coconut LaCroix cocktails with our bartender Alex Utter, and this drink — cleverly named Copper Tone by a Facebook commenter — is something they came up with together: Bright and fruity with a kick from cayenne ... and definitely no sunscreen. 


Makes 1 cocktail

By Alex Utter and Claire McInerny

1.5 ounces Cardinal Spirits Vodka
3/4 ounces passion fruit puree
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce cayenne-honey syrup (recipe below)
Coconut LaCroix Sparkling Water, to taste
Lemon peel, for garnish

Add all ingredients except for LaCroix to a shaker, then add ice. Shake well, then strain into a large rocks glass filled with ice. Top with Coconut LaCroix, then garnish with a lemon peel.

(To make the cayenne-honey syrup, combine 1 cup honey, 1 cup water and a teaspoon of cayenne (more or less, depending on the amount of spice you like) in a saucepan. Heat and stir until honey has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using. Store in refrigerator.)


Cassie Morris

Interested in working for Cardinal Spirits? Well, you're in luck because we're hiring! We are currently looking for hosts, servers and tour guides.

As Bloomington's 1st and oldest craft distillery, we are always focused on elevating customer service and providing exceptional cocktails. We also love to have a good time.

So, are you ready to join the flock? Apply here!

Songbird Coffee Liqueur Caramels

Samantha Weiss-Hills

These soft, chewy caramels are spiked with our Songbird Coffee Liqueur — a perfect homemade treat to make and give to someone special. They taste like a fancy latte! Trust us: You don't have to be a pro candy maker to pull off this easy recipe (though you will need a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer for best results).



By Samantha Weiss-Hills

Makes about 10 dozen caramels, or less depending on how generously you cut them

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Cardinal Spirits Songbird Coffee Liqueur
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, letting it extend over the sides.

  2. Pour the cream into a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, and bring to a boil. (Alternatively, if you have an accurate digital thermometer, you can have that on hand for later.)

  3. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 257 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat and, with oven mitts on, stir in the butter, Songbird Coffee Liqueur, espresso powder (if using), vanilla extract and salt. Pour into the prepared pan.

  5. Place the pan in refrigerator until completely cool. Once cooled, invert the caramel onto a cutting board, peel off the foil or parchment, and invert again.

  6. Cut the caramel into eight 1-inch-wide strips; then cut each strip into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve or store in pieces of parchment for later.


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.