High Country Spirits

High Country Spirits: The Cardinal in Boone serves up summer refreshment
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Craft cocktails aren’t just for white-tablecloth bistros anymore. In 2016, Boone welcomed The Cardinal, a casual burger joint with a bar program that could rival a big-city cocktail lounge. The menu combines bar favorites like chicken wings and corn dogs with upscale drinks that feature ingredients like cranberry shrub and blood orange syrup.

Co-owner and “cocktail mixer extraordinaire” Seth Sullivan concocted an aromatic beverage to welcome warmer weather. The centerpiece is a simple syrup made with the tender tips of spruce trees. He suggests foraging for spruce tips yourself or sourcing from a brewing supply company. 

THE PINE NEXT TIME (courtesy of Seth Sullivan, The Cardinal)

(yields one cocktail)

1 ½ oz. Sutler’s gin
1/2 oz. Dolin Génépy Des Alpes
1/2 oz. spruce tip syrup
1/4 oz. honey
1/4 oz. lemon juice
Soda water, splash
Lemon peel
Rosemary sprig
Spruce sprig (optional)

In a shaker, combine gin, Génépy des Alpes, spruce tip syrup, honey, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously with ice, strain over fresh ice, and top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with lemon peel and rosemary or a sprig of spruce.

Spruce Tip Syrup

(Yields one pint)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup spruce tips
1 Tbs. lemon juice (optional)

In a lidded pot, combine water and sugar. Stir until all sugar is absorbed and bring to a low boil. Turn off heat and stir in spruce tips and lemon juice. Cover pot, allow to cool, and let steep overnight. Strain syrup through cheesecloth and keep refrigerated.


1711 NC 105, Boone
(828) 355-9600