Cardinal Spirits, the distillery in the heart of Bloomington known for its high-quality spirits, has come out with something even more delicious than their specialty vodka: food. It must've been hard to top their specially-made vodka for Indiana University's Graduating Class of 2017, but I think they've done it.

Under the creative expertise of Executive Chef Dean Wirkerman, Cardinal Spirits’ menu combines high-quality ingredients with old and developed techniques. Their new seasonal menu mixes summer flavors with sophistication that every palate is capable of loving.

cheese, beer
Erin Powell

After I heard the name of the dishes that were going to be served, I couldn't wait to get a taste. Here are four dishes that Cardinal Spirits is serving this summer:

Bread and Butter

cream, bread, dairy product, sweet
Erin Powell

When I looked at this dish, my mouth instantly started to water. In a petite bowl, an egg-sized amount of freshly-churned butter was surrounded by a bay of cultured buttermilk. I didn’t think it could get any better until I smeared the butter on a fluffy piece of house-made sourdough. This app may be perfect for sharing with friends, but I wouldn't judge if you kept it all for yourself.

Chicken Liver Mousse

sweet, cream
Erin Powell

What appears to be a kiwi is actually a poultry lover’s dream. A savory and creamy chicken liver mousse is paired with a sweet strawberry jam. Eat it with a fork or spread it on another chunk of bread — that is, if you have any bread left.


Erin Powell

Here's the part where I died and went to heaven. A melt-in-your-mouth disc of braised pork roast is served on a bed of creamy polenta. Jeff Wuslich, President of Cardinal Spirits, said “pork and corn are two great Indiana items and Dean has elevated them.” The texture reminded me of super tender brisket you'd find at a neighborhood cookout. Topped with fennel and smoked paprika, this dish will be one I crave at all hours of the day.

Panna Cotta Cloud

strawberry, cream, panna cotta
Erin Powell

A gift sent down by the dessert gods themselves appeared in the form of this panna cotta cloud. A light and silky ball of panna cotta cream leaves the essence of lemon and vanilla bean on the tip of the tongue, while the macerated strawberries and rhubarb adds the perfect punch of acidity.

If you’re on the B-Line and you hear your tummy rumbling, it might be in your best interest to stop by Cardinal Spirits for a few apps and a drink. I know that many of my week nights will now be spent on that back patio, relaxing with family and friends.