Drink of the Week: Cardinal Spirits Bourbon Cream Soda - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Drink of the Week: Cardinal Spirits Bourbon Cream Soda

I made a trial run at a normal summer Saturday this past weekend. Following a template that I hope will be frequently repeated in the weeks that unroll after Memorial Day, we headed to a friend’s house for a lazy evening on the deck, chatting over plates of salmon and lumpia and pot-luck salads, and refreshing ourselves liberally with visits to the backyard cooler. 

That cooler’s contents has changed a bit over the years. There are still cans of Rainier and Coors in there for the die-hard fans, but dig in the icy water these days and you’re more likely to find an IPA or a gose, a bottle of prosecco or a can of seltzer (the old fashioned kind, without alcohol, meant for filling the breaks between beers rather than maintaining a steady buzz).

Joining the mix this summer: this RTD canned cocktail from Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington, Indiana. Co-founders Jeff Wuslich, Adam Quirk, and their distillery crew have been making the drinks culture in Indiana more interesting for years now, and their Bourbon Cream Soda demonstrates why their Midwest neighbors love them so. High-rye, 90-proof bourbon is mixed with the gentle softness of cream soda, given extra plushness from Madagascar vanilla. The result is a drink that’s pleasantly dry, and that lands in a sweet spot at 8.5 percent ABV, offering satisfaction across the spectrum—from the mildly sweet, creamy head that promises simple pleasures, to the deep, rich bite of bourbon, a reminder that seemingly simple things can still hold great complexity.

I’ll be adding these to backyard coolers this summer, and keeping a few in the fridge for summer afternoons that merit savoring.

Cardinal Spirits Bourbon Cream Soda is available in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Visit Cardinal Spirits’ website for a store locator, or order online for $14.99/4-pack of 12 oz. cans.

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