Restaurant: Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern, Raleigh, NC
Creators: Justin Nicely and Jennifer Patterson, bartenders
Inspiration: To create a cocktail that pays tribute to North Carolina.
Key Ingredients: Cardinal Gin, house-made ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, mint bitters, a Chambord/blackberry ice sphere and a garnish of lime sea salt, candied ginger and fresh blackberries
What the Judges Said: “We’re not sure how this cocktail pays tribute to North Carolina, though we do appreciate the use of a locally made gin. What gives this drink an interesting note is the use of house-made ginger syrup, which adds a slight sting that intersects nicely with the gin and lime. The use of Chambord and blackberry to create an ice sphere is genius because it inevitably leads to other customers ordering this beautiful cocktail. We think Shooter Jennings would approve.”