Spring has Sprung at Cannon Distillery

A concentrated cucumber flavor and a crack of salt and pepper makes this Spring has Sprung an exceptional cocktail. Staff/Stephanie Barna 

Cannon Distillery in West Ashley's Avondale neighborhood hasn't been around long. It opened last fall and has three products, all of them vodka. The Grit Vodka is an 80-proof spirit made from corn grown by Geechie Boy on Edisto Island. 

Bartender Roderick Weaver, who is billed as the distillery's spiritual adviser, says, "It's a whiskey drinker's vodka. It tastes like white dog, you know, moonshine." Which is true and probably hard to avoid when you're making a clear spirit out of corn. 

Chai Noon is a chai tea vodka that's flavored with cardamom, cinnamon and other spices. "I call it a feminine Fireball," says Weaver of the 64-proof vodka that provides a perfect base for a Chai Mule made with Weaver's own ginger beer. 

Early Bird is a coffee-flavored vodka made from coffee beans roasted by Cup Roasters on James Island. 

Weaver, a respected bartender and a founding father of the Charleston Brown Water Society, makes a fresh menu of cocktails each week as a way of keeping neighbors interested in stopping by regularly. 

You can usually find a couple of mules on the menu, and if there's a cocktail with cucumber in it, go ahead and order it. The cucumber flavor is intense. Weaver says he juices the cucumbers and then juices the particulate and then juices it again until he's left with a pile of mush and a lot of cuke juice. 

For Spring has Sprung, he mixes Grit Vodka with the aforementioned cucumber juice, simple syrup and lemon and then grinds some salt and tri-peppercorn on top and serves it with an ocean-friendly paper straw. 

Weaver says he loves working at the Distillery, which he bikes to via the Greenway. He also has been sourcing barrels from his contacts at Jefferson Distilling and Bittermilk for making bourbon. He expects to have a barrel ready by late summer. 

— Stephanie Barna

Follow Stephanie Barna on Twitter @stefbarna.