Belle Isle Moonshine

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Behind the Bar: Melanie Frank // Oak Steakhouse

Behind the BarStephanie StantonComment
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Located in an old bank building in the heart of Charleston, Oak Steakhouse is as timeless as historic Broad Street itself. Bringing a classic New York steakhouse vibe to the southern city, it's no surprise that beef is the real star here. With the help of Bar Manager Melanie Frank, the cocktail menu holds court with the tartare and prime rib. We recently chatted with Melanie about Charleston's bustling dining scene, her bartending theories, and her favorite places to drink. She also shared with us her recipe for the dangerously delicious Catalina 'Shine Mixer

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

I'm Melanie Frank, Bar Manager at Oak Steakhouse in Charleston. I’ve been at Oak for seven years and have been bartending for about 11 years overall.

What first got you behind the bar?

When I was in college, I needed a summer job. I went out looking and got my first bartending job at a sports bar.

Any pro-tips for someone starting out behind the bar?

Make it fun. You have to remember you’re basically on stage every night, so if you can have fun while working then it’s not really work.

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Favorite drink made by someone else?

I’m the weird bartender that doesn’t really like most liquors and spirits. I’m a red wine or champagne girl all the way.

Favorite drink that you make?

I like making anything I can make look pretty. Aesthetics go along way. If the customer thinks it looks pretty, it’s already going to taste better because their eyes have seen it first.

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Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?

Tequila. I love good tequila. Sipping or shooting or in a cocktail, you can enjoy it and not have a bad sugar headache the next day.

 

If you had to pick one cocktail ingredient to use for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

I’m not sure if ice is a credible answer here (editor's note: it is!), but no one wants a hot drink unless it’s a hot toddy. If I can’t use that, then I would choose citrus because it can drastically change any drink or spirit.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at your bar?

The customers and regulars. I never have a dull night. We have a big local following, and a lot of them have become like family. I really enjoy getting to know people and being part of their lives. I’d say I know 50% or more of my bar most nights. We always joke that’s it’s a "Cheers" bar, but we’re not far from it. I even have some guests that have let me stay at their vacation homes or buy me Christmas gifts. It really is more like an extended family rather than work.

 

What makes your bar unique?

Our building used to be a bank, and it’s about 200 years old. We have a lot of original flooring and structure to it, including the bank vault. It just makes for a very comfortable and intimate place that people love coming to because they feel welcomed just like at home.

 

Where do you like to stop in for a drink?

After work? Somewhere quiet where I can get a nice glass of wine. If I’m not working, I really enjoy rooftop bars and outdoor patios.

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What’s your take on today’s cocktail culture in your city?

I think Charleston is booming in the food and beverage industry. Years ago, you were hard pressed to find a good bartending job. Now the demand is so high you can go almost anywhere and get hired. I think we have amazing restaurants and bars with some really talented bartenders. You would be hard pressed to go anywhere in the city without a craft cocktail list.

 

Give us your golden rule when it comes to bar etiquette.

Always smile and be pleasant. There is a lot more to bartending than just making drinks. People are out because they want to have a good time or experience, and you’re there to make that happen. People will forget about the food or the drink you made, but they don’t forget how you made them feel. It could be their one night out a year, so if I can make their night more memorable then I’ve done my job.

 

What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?

I like the regular moonshine with just a little pickle juice or brine. I don’t like olives, and dirty martinis look so good. So I pickle mine, and it’s delicious.

 


Catalina Shine Mixer

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero

  • 1 oz. ginger molasses

  • ½ oz. lemon juice

  • few drops of ginger bitters

  • Top with champagne

  • Garnish: lemon cranberry habanero lollipop (created by Dress the Drink)

Preparation:

Combine the first three ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Pour champagne on top of mixture in the martini glass and then add a a few drops of ginger bitters. Garnish with the lollipop.

 

Recipe by Melanie Frank. 

All photos by Kate Magee.

Still Thirsty?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Want to get to know us better?

Four for the Fourth: Our Favorite Independence Day Cocktails

CocktailsStephanie StantonComment
 Let freedom ring.  (Photo by   Kate Magee  )

Let freedom ring.

(Photo by Kate Magee)

The Fourth of July may mean cookouts, hotdogs, and pool parties, but that doesn't mean you have to get stuck drinking cheap beer and lukewarm white wine. In the spirit of America's original spirit, we here at Belle Isle Moonshine want to help you get properly patriotic this Independence Day. Whether you're headed to the beach or your backyard, break free from your cocktail slump with these four 'shiny recipes that are sure to please any independent woman (or man). Happy Fourth, everyone!

Photos by Joey Wharton.

Want more cocktail inspo?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Want to learn more about us?

Charleston Launch Party // June 18, 2018

Stephanie StantonComment

We're coming for you, Charleston! Huge thanks to everyone who made our Charleston launch party unforgettable: The Macintosh, Miguel of Holy City Handcraft, Cannonborough Craft Sodas, Golden Word, Erica of Eating with EricaCocktail Bandits, and everyone else who came out to support and learn more about Belle Isle.  We appreciate you all so much! Cheers, South Carolina!

All photos by Current Visuals


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Behind the Bar: Vinnie Dugan // Seven Lamps

Behind the BarStephanie StantonComment
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In the stylish Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead, it can be difficult for a restaurant to stand out from the pack. Seven Lamps manages to do just that, with outstanding food, a killer atmosphere, and a cocktail menu to match.  We chatted with Vinnie Dugan, the restaurant's Beverage Director, about his inadvertent start in the industry, his hospitality widsom, and cereal-inspired cocktails (don't knock it 'til you try it). He'll also share the recipe for his spicy Honey Habanero cocktail - The Irrational


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

My name is Vinnie Dugan, and I’m the Beverage Director at Seven Lamps in Buckhead. I’ve been bartending for 13 years now, with the last two of them at Seven Lamps.

What first got you behind the bar?

I got pulled into the restaurant industry by my brother when I was 18. He always talked about how great the money was and how high-paced it was. Once I started in the industry, I kind of fell into bartending by accident. I was working at the Woodruff Arts Center doing event bartending, and the bartender quit at the restaurant (Twelve Eighty) so they asked me to come work.

Any pro-tips for someone starting out behind the bar?

I would suggest finding someone to study under and learn everything you can from them.  Try not to forget who you are making drinks for, and don’t be scared of making something that tastes bad. I still make things that I don’t like all the time.

Favorite drink made by someone else?

I don’t have a specific drink so much as a specific person.  Brent Hesse from Deep End is someone who I respect, and I think we have similar tastes. I always love tasting his stuff and seeing what he is doing.

Favorite drink that you make?

I’m a huge garbage person, so I love cocktails that remind me of my childhood and growing up poor in the south.  We currently have a cocktail made with Cocoa Puffs, milk, bourbon, cognac and chicory liquor called the Breakfast of Champions.  I love the way it tastes, and it immediately transports me to my childhood. It’s clever and light-hearted. I try not to take myself too seriously, and I like to think my cocktails reflect that attitude.

Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?

Diet Mountain Dew is the single greatest soda ever made. I love the stuff.

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If you had to pick one cocktail ingredient to use for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Sugar would probably be the one ingredient that I’d use for the rest of my life.  Sugar is such a vital part of what I do behind the bar. There’s so many different types, so many different uses, so many different flavors.  Sugar is a flavor enhancer in that when used correctly, it enhances the flavor of the other ingredients in the cocktail.

What’s your favorite part about working at your bar?

I really am blessed that I work where I do.  I have the creative freedom to pursue whatever I see fit for our beverage program.  I work under chefs Conor O’Reilly and Drew Van Leuvan, two of the most talented and creative minds in the city who are always willing to help me with ideas and techniques.  I have a truly amazing group of guests who come in just to see what I’m up to with new drinks and ideas. To pinpoint one thing that is my favorite about where I work would really be impossible.

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Where do you like to stop in for a drink?

Deep End in Atlanta is probably my favorite spot. The tacos are great and he always has cool drinks on the menu.

What’s your take on today’s cocktail culture in your city?

Atlanta’s cocktail culture has come so far in the past five years, and so many places have great cocktail programs.  Tons of new bars are popping up all over the place with really great ideas and cocktails.

Give us your golden rule when it comes to bar etiquette.

My golden rule for bar etiquette is don’t be an asshole - and that rule applies to bartenders and guests.

What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?

My favorite way to drink Belle Isle is in a slushie - they work so well in our machine.


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**Spicy Syrup

Take two quarts of simple syrup and place in a saucepan over low heat, gently simmer 6 habanero peppers and 4 serrano peppers until wilted.  Strain the mixture and add 5 grams of habanero powder.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ oz. spicy syrup **
  • 1 mint sprig torn
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Preparation:

Shake and double strain into a coupe and garnish with a slapped mint leaf.

Recipe by Vinnie Dugan.

All photos by Kate Magee


Need more cocktail inspo?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Wanna Learn More About Us?

Stirred, Shaken, and 'Shiny: Our 5 Favorite Martinis

CocktailsStephanie StantonComment
 Belle Isle 100 Proof makes the king of all martinis. Photo by  Joey Wharton . 

Belle Isle 100 Proof makes the king of all martinis. Photo by Joey Wharton

The martini: shockingly simple, yet surprisingly versatile. While it's usually comprised of only one or two ingredients, one small tweak of proportions, switch of garnishes, or swap of spirit can change the drink completely. Traditional martinis are made with either vodka or gin, but we here at Belle Isle think that our moonshine makes the perfect iteration of the classic cocktail. We've known (and loved) lot of great Belle Isle martinis over the years, but here's are some of our favorites. Happy National Martini Day! 

Still thirsty?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Want to learn more about us?

The Field Guide: Forest Hill, Richmond

The Field GuideStephanie StantonComment

Every neighborhood has its own unique landscape, and the Belle Isle Moonshine team wants to help you navigate each of them. In our Field Guide series, we're diving a little deeper into some of our favorite neighborhoods and showcasing a few of the businesses that help to make them unique with the help of some local influencers.

Our host in Richmond will be Shanna Battle, thrifting-maven and Content Creator-in-Chief of the style blog me and Minnie. With Shanna's help, we'll explore a few of Richmond's most notable 'hoods and the stores, bars, and restaurants that make them tick. Next up: Forest Hill

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Saturdays were always errand days in the Battle household. My mother would drag us kids from home to the Richmond Public Library, local bookstores, and on some Saturdays, it was off to the dreaded antique shops around town. Antiquing was never fun for kids aged six, eight, and nine. We would drag our feet slowly behind her, whining about our overwhelming boredom and not so quietly praying for release from the torture we had to endure. Of course, the louder we complained the longer she stayed!

I’m not sure at what age it happened, but the antiquing became intriguing, and then exciting to me. Gone were the days when I would drag my feet behind her, wanting to leave. Instead, I would be at her heels, eager to show her something cool I’d found and listen to her tell me the story behind it. Before I enjoyed treasure hunting in a thrift store, I loved the hunt of an antique shop.

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Now on Saturdays, I gladly accompany my mommy to an antique store, and we can easily lose our day - and a bit of cash - in the process.  A must-visit on our Saturday antique adventures is Nest. Nestled in the middle Richmond’s Forest Hill neighborhood, I first introduced my mother to this cute, quaint little shop about three years ago when my son was a student at the elementary school directly across the street. Before you even walk into the shop, the porch is filled with vintage wheelbarrows, turn of the century dressers, and hand-crafted pottery.

After a browse outside, we turn our attention inside to the carefully curated treasures that span hundreds of years and tell a million stories. We first walk by a cart filled with vintage bar items. I’ve been carefully building my own bar cart at home, so I look to see if anything catches my eye. While I look, my mother makes her way over to a couch filled with handmade baby hats, dolls, and trinkets. She looks up and spots the most opulent chandeliers, religious pictures, and wall decor. It becomes almost sensory overload -- in a good way of course! Everywhere you turn, there are vintage goodies about, and you don’t know where to start looking.

As we make our way to the back of the shop, we stop and look over a few of the vintage housewares and then we make our way around the corner and find a “Blackmore” that caught our eyes. My mom looks over it, and as per usual, gives me a little history lesson about her right on the spot! On our way to the bathroom that’s peppered with old pictures and frames, she points out a wall of broaches (my weakness) and I must get a closer look to see if there’s one I need for my collection.

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We have a few more shops we want to visit, but we need a quick fill-up before our next adventure. We walk next door to Laura Lee’s, a cute little eatery that seems like it's three restaurants in one. We start off at the bar, where we meet Ben and strike up a conversation about bar carts! I typically con my mom into getting me lunch, but today I treated her to drinks - a Diamond Dancer and a Lady Freeze's Negroni. She’s not the biggest fan of cocktails, but Ben made her a drink she loved so much she’s thinking about making it at home with the bottle of Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit I got for my dad a few weeks ago.

Neither of us have been to Laura Lee’s and wanted to look around. We moved to the dining room area, finding a seat by a huge picture window that seemed to let in all the sunlight RVA has to offer. With a quick look around, we see the walls decorated with custom art, beautiful greenery, cute vintage-style booths accented by subtle industrial touches, blending the charm of the 1950’s and the minimalism of present day perfectly. We quickly scout an open door and take our adventure to an outdoor patio area that is mini botanical
garden right in the middle of the city. From a little table by a wall of flowers to a bench flanked by shrubbery, it's as if we entered another world. If you’ve ever been to any shop on Forest Hill Avenue, you know it can be a bit noisy. Back in the little garden, the noise of the city seems to halt, and for a second, you feel as if you have been transported to another place.

My mom looks at her watch, and it's time for our next antique adventure, so we take a final sip of our drinks and make our way back through the restaurant. As we make our way out  the door, we know we know we’ve stumbled upon a gem and vow to come back as the summer wears on.

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Post by Shanna Battle, founder of me and Minnie. Follow her on Instagram at @meeandminnie to get great thrifting, styling, and lifestyle tips!

All photos by Sandy Swagger Jones. She also has an awesome Instagram feed, which you should follow @sandyswaggerjones

Want to explore more of Richmond?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

WANNA HEAR MORE OF OUR STORY?

Behind the Bar: Liz Jankiewicz // Ouzo Bay

Behind the BarStephanie Stanton2 Comments
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Located in the Harbor East area of Baltimore, Ouzo Bay made a splash when it opened in 2012 with its authentic-meets-modern Greek menu and neon-laced Mediterranean interior. With expert bartender Liz Jankiewicz manning the bar program, Ouzo Bay's cocktail menu is just as impressive as its lamb shank and souvlaki. When Liz isn't whipping up innovative, delicious cocktails for Ouzo Bay's menu, she's going for the gold in national bartending competitions like Speed Rack Mid-Atlantic, Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience, and Glenfiddich Most Experimental Serve. We recently spoke with Liz about her bartending style, her favorite drinks, and what it takes to run a bar program in bustling Baltimore. She also shares her recipes for two beautiful Belle Isle cocktails.


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

I'm Liz Jankiewicz, Bar Manager at Ouzo Bay in BaltimoreI just recently took over the bar program at Ouzo Bay in November 2017, but I’ve been behind the stick for 9 years.

What first got you behind the bar?

The summer before I moved to Baton Rouge for grad school at the ripe age of 21, I wanted to learn how to bartend so I could support myself.

Any pro-tips for someone starting out behind the bar?

I would suggest seeking out the most experienced and charismatic bartender. Watch, listen, and learn. Respect your bartender elders.

 

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Favorite drink made by someone else?

Sarah Anderson at The Bygone makes a killer Ramos Gin Fizz. 

 

Favorite drink that you make?

My favorite drink to make is impromptu customized drinks based on a guest’s preferences. Most are riffs, or improved cocktails. I think it’s a special experience for the guest. I can usually introduce a new ingredient or style they can enjoy but may not be used to.

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Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?

I know it defies the art of high brow cocktails, but I am a sucker for Jägerbombs.

 

 

If you had to pick one cocktail ingredient to use for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Ruby Red Grapefruit. Whether she’s an expressed rind, a shrub, a juice, or bitters, Ruby Red is my favorite lady.

What’s your favorite part about working at your bar?

The Ouzo Bay ambiance is definitely my favorite. From service to lighting to the open air, it’s an oasis.

Where do you like to stop in for a drink?

My recent watering hole favorite would have to be the Regal Beagle. If you want great cocktails, impressive food neighborhood camaraderie, and the feeling of partying in your parent’s basement from the late 80s, you should ‘come and knock on their door.’

 

What’s your take on today’s cocktail culture in your city?

I’m continually impressed by the talent that is emerging in Baltimore. New programs and concepts are popping up all over the city. From locally-sourced ingredients to speakeasy exclusivity, Baltimore’s cocktail culture is diverse as the city is itself.

Give us your golden rule when it comes to bar etiquette.

My golden rule for bartenders is ‘This is the hospitality industry. Be hospitable.’

What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?

Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee and almond milk on the rocks.

 


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Roots of My Homeland

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero
  • ½ oz. carrot juice
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. ginger honey
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Club soda
  • Orange wheel garnish

Preparation:

Add first five ingredients to shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into collins glass and add ice. Top with soda and garnish with an orange wheel. 

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Important Imports

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange peel and a cinnamon "cigar."

 

Recipes by Liz Jankiewicz.

All photos by Joey Wharton


NEED MORE COCKTAIL INSPO?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

WANNA HEAR MORE OF OUR STORY?

Chill Out with Five of our New Favorite Summer Cocktails

CocktailsStephanie StantonComment
 Y'all ready for this? Photo by  Joey Wharton . 

Y'all ready for this? Photo by Joey Wharton

Although the first day of summer isn't officially until June 21, Memorial Day is over and done, and temps have already hit 90° in many parts of the county. That's good enough for us to declare that summer is on and popping!

You've probably already updated your wardrobe, but what about your drinking preferences? If you're desperate for some serious, sunshine-worthy cocktail inspo, we've got you covered! This season has already provided us with some amazing refreshments, perfect for poolside, oceanfront, or festival imbibing. Click through for some of our favorites!

Want more recipes?


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Wanna know more about Belle Isle?


Behind the Bar: Spencer Robinson // The War Mouth

Behind the BarStephanie StantonComment
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In South Carolina's capital, down-home Southern fare is king. Currently, some of the best the city has to offer comes from The War Mouth in the booming Cottontown neighborhood of Columbia (or Cola, to locals). Patrons may come to The War Mouth for the catfish stew, fried gizzards, and homemade barbecue (they have a pit in the back), but they stay for the playful, creative, and delicious cocktails. We recently chatted with Head Bartender Spencer Robinson (better known as "Sweet Baby" to some) about his short, but super successful, time behind the bar, his favorite cocktails, and his secret pre-shift ritual (hint: it involves whiskey). Spencer also lets us in on his herbacious, smooth, and smokin' Belle Isle cocktail, the Burning Bush

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

My name is Spencer “Sweet Baby” Robinson, and I am the Head Bartender at The War Mouth. I have been behind the bar for six months and have been in the service industry for seven years.

What first got you Behind the Bar?

It looked like it was more fun than washing dishes, which is the position I had at the time. Turns out I have a knack for the creative aspects of the job and some people would say a natural gift for hospitality, so it was a good fit. As an avid drinker, it was easy for me to pick up the nuances of the liquid artistry.

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Any pro-tips for someone starting out behind the bar?

Never stop watching and listening. As a bartender still very new to the field, I think it is incredibly important to use every day as an opportunity to learn something new. The moment you stop listening and learning from others is the moment you’ve peaked.

What's your favorite drink made by someone else?

I’m a big fan of the Old Fashioned. I think the Old Fashioned is the ultimate test when I’m visiting a new bar or watching a bartender. A well-made Old Fashioned speaks volumes of the bartender and of the bar. There’s a new bar in Columbia called COA that slings beautiful mezcal drinks, including a variation called the Oaxacan Old Fashioned.

 

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Favorite drink that you make?

Whichever one the customer loves at that moment. The ones that don’t suck. Anything but a Lemon Drop.

Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?

A shot of bourbon at the start of a shift.

 

 

If you had to pick one cocktail ingredient to use for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

It cycles, but I’m on a mezcal kick now. Mezcal plays beautifully with Chartreuse, and I very much enjoy playing with that and other herbaceous flavors.

 

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What’s your favorite part about working at The War Mouth?

The people, all the way around. Staff and customers. We have an extraordinarily close-knit group of staff that have started to absorb our neighborhood regulars into our little family. Serving them has become more than a way of making money, and is now a way to be involved in people’s lives.

Where do you like to stop in for a drink?

I’m a big fan of The Whig (our local craft-beer dive bar), Bar None (our late night bar), Art Bar (our indescribable bar), and COA (our mezcal / tequila bar). Columbia has a close-knit service industry culture, so we have friends that work all over town. Anywhere we’ve got buddies working, we’ll hang out.

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What’s your take on today’s cocktail culture in Columbia?

I’ve only been behind the bar for six months, so I can’t speak to that directly. I know that I’m interested in continuing to take every opportunity to learn from every corner of the bar scene. I also love the way Columbia is interested in seeing classic cocktails done well, but also so willing to try new things.

 

Give us your golden rule when it comes to bar etiquette.

Golden rule for bartenders: service is about more than drinks. Taking care of your customers goes farther than what they have in front of them. Golden rule for customers: I’m more than a piece of meat.

 

What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?

A double pour straight to the face. In lieu of that:

 

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The Burning Bush

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Belle Isle Ruby Red Moonshine

  • ½ oz. thyme-infused Aperol

  • ½ oz.  honey-rosemary simple syrup

  • ½ oz.  mezcal

  •  oz. lime

  • egg white

 

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients into a shaker and dry shake to break down the egg white for 10-15 seconds. Add ice and cold shake ingredients until shaker is chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass. Finally, garnish with a torched rosemary sprig laid across the top.

 

Recipe by Spencer Robinson.

All photos by Kate Magee

The Field Guide: Carytown, Richmond

The Field GuideStephanie StantonComment

Every neighborhood has its own unique landscape, and the Belle Isle Moonshine team wants to help you navigate each of them. In our new Field Guide series, we're diving a little deeper into some of our favorite neighborhoods, showcasing a few of the businesses that help to make them unique with the help of some local influencers.

Our host in Richmond will be Shanna Battle, thrifting-maven and Content Creator-in-Chief of the style blog me and Minnie. With Shanna's help, we'll explore a few of Richmond's most notable 'hoods and the stores, bars, and restaurants that make them tick. First up: Carytown

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Richmond has so many little pockets that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to someplace else, and Carytown is one of those places. It’s as if a small, quaint little town popped up in the middle of the city. No matter how many times you visit, you always manage to get lost in the charm it has to offer. It’s one of those really dope Instagram pictures that pops up when you’re searching hashtags for places to explore in a new town come to life. The streets are lined with cute little shops, small cafes to pop into for a slow cup of coffee and a croissant, local musicians playing live music on the street, and tasty places to eat or have a cocktail. This is the place you visit when you’re looking for a bit of a slower pace and want to get away from the hustle of your week. Carytown is the place where you re-discover old loves and stumble upon new ones.

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One of my oldest loves is Ashby. She and I met years ago, and I can never leave Carytown without stopping by to say "hi." I love getting lost searching the racks, looking for someone’s trash to make my treasure. In a matter of minutes, I find a dress and some sunglasses that will be coming home with me and a pair of shoes that I plan on coming back for later. I go to purchase my items, and not wanting to feel like I’ve missed any hidden gems, I still walk the store from end to end before leaving; stopping to smell the candles and soaps made by local artisans, admiring hand crafted jewelry, and slowly doing a final once over the racks.

As I leave my old love, I go in search of a new one. After walking half a block, I stumble upon Can Can Brasserie, a little touch of Paris in the middle of Carytown. When you walk through the glass doors, your eyes jump from the little mahogany booths to the Parisian tables next to an open window (a perfect spot for people-watching) to stained glass pillars, and then to the bar that seems as if it were carefully decorated with spirit bottles from all over the world.

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I take a seat at the bar, admiring the wall of spirits, and after a few moments Caleb asks me what I would like to drink. I asked him to recommend something, and he quickly whipped up a Suspended License or as he called it “The Ticket”!

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Caleb and I spark up a great conversation about this and that, and he gave me the recipe to the drink he made; which reminds me, I must get a bottle of Belle Isle Honey Habanero before my first party of the summer! The conversation was so great that before I knew it thirty minutes had passed. I realized I had to make my way back to reality, but I promised I would be back soon!

When out-of-towners ask me where they should visit, Carytown is always last on my list. You may be wondering why, especially after I’ve spoken nothing but amazing things about it. I want this to be the final impression on a visitor to ensure they keep coming back for more.


Post by Shanna Battle, founder of me and Minnie. Follow her on Instagram at @meeandminnie to get awesome thrifting, styling, and lifestyle tips!

All photos by Sandy Swagger Jones. She also has an awesome Instagram feed, which you should follow @sandyswaggerjones

Check back soon for more installments of The Field Guide!


Belle Isle Moonshine is a premium, handcrafted spirit proudly hailing from Richmond, Virginia.

We take the name Belle Isle from a small, 540-acre island located smack dab in the middle of the James River where Civil War soldiers used surplus corn rations to make moonshine in copper kettles.

Belle Isle Moonshine is distilled from 100% organic corn, grown by three family farms and responsibly sourced. Once triple-distilled, we charcoal filter Belle Isle four times over. Then, we cut it with purified water right from the James River. Our infusions are made with 100% real ingredients, never artificial flavors or color. We use real grapefruits sourced from Texas and California, local honey from the Shenandoah Valley, organic habaneros grown an hour away, and freshly roasted coffee beans from the most socially conscious roastery in Richmond, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.

From there, each bottle of Belle Isle Moonshine is filled, corked, labeled, and packed by hand by our Production team, who check each bottle and batch for quality assurance. Since Belle Isle is made in small batches, you can find the batch number handwritten in the bottom right corner of each bottle.

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

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