Bourbon gets all the love these days. Maybe it’s because the world has gone ga-ga for all things Southern, and Bourbon is so awesomely Southern, or maybe it’s because some of the best classic cocktails are made with Bourbon and everyone is ga-ga about craft cocktails. I don’t know. I’m not knocking the brown liquor. I love me some whiskey. I love a Manhattan that takes 2.5 hours to make and costs $17 to drink. I do. But sometimes, when it’s hot (or cold), I like a gin and tonic. A simple, straight to the point, put a lime in it, gin and tonic.

Enter Southern Artisan Spirits, a craft distillery out of Kings Mountain, North Carolina that produces Cardinal Gin, a small batch gin that’s practically made for mixing gin and tonic thanks to the 11 different botanicals used in the distilling process—botanicals that aren’t hidden behind the liquor’s punch, but actually play a part in the complex flavor of the gin. Instead of heavy juniper notes, you get a variety of floral and citrus. This won’t be your go-to gin for martinis, but a gin and tonic? That’s Cardinal’s wheel house. And if you don’t believe me, believe this: Cardinal Gin won double gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year. Southernartisanspirits.com

Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com