Belle Isle Moonshine

Distilled from good times and 100% organic corn.

Behind the Bar: William Seidensticker / L’opossum

Cocktails, ConversationBICS Admin

Boasting a menu and cocktail program as unconventional and incongruous as the decor you’ll find around L’opossum, the Oregon Hill restaurant and bar has redefined the Richmond dining experience in a vivacious manner that only renown owner and chef David Shannon can manage. We were lucky enough to sit down with William Seidensticker, bartender at L’opossum, to chat about all things served eclectic and delicious.

Tell us about yourself…

I’ve been in the industry for 22 years. As long as I have been in the industry, one of the most common questions I get is if I am a mixologist. I still don’t know the difference between a mixologist and a bartender. At the end of the day, I consider myself a bartender and I’m proud of what I do. I am proud of the product that I produce and the people I work with.

What’s your favorite thing to drink? Favorite classic cocktail?

I love drinking anything with fresh ginger. I love to make a classic Old Fashioned for folks that come in.

Do you have a pro-tip for new or home bartenders/chefs?

Use jiggers. Balance is key to a great cocktail. If you use jiggers, you can make a cocktail the way you love it every time with precision.

Tell us about your bar. Where did the name “L’opossum” come from?

Simply enough, it is “possum” in French. The menu reflects a blend of David Shannon’s Virginia heritage and French culinary training. It draws on the humor that adding La, Le or L’ to something instantly makes it into something fancy. Our menus are meant to be very playful, too. Everything you see, down to the recipes and the names, has a personal meaning and we have something for everyone.

How do you come up with names for your cocktails?

We have a great staff with many different backgrounds, so I use them as a springboard for ideas and we all taste the final cocktail. More often than not, David Shannon comes up with a great name. He invests into part of every experience you’ll have when you come in.

L’opossum has a very distinct atmosphere. What was the influence behind the interior?

The interior is the sole creation of David Shannon. All the components are things he has been independently collecting for decades. The collection is a throwback to more hedonistic times, a perfect environment for indulging. Think dive bar at the Playboy Mansion or a classical French restaurant in the Cleveland Airport circa 1976.

What is your favorite part about working here?

My favorite part is getting to work with the most amazing chef, David Shannon. Every single day I walk into L’opossum, I feel honored to work here. I have been in this business long enough to see that L’opossum is a special place.

What’s your favorite menu item and cocktail pairing?

La Petite Mort with a Hooty Hoo. I have a hell of a sweet tooth.

Can you share a Belle Isle creation or two with us? 

Honey Badger

Ingredients

  • 1½  oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero Moonshine
  • ¼ oz. St. Germain 
  • ¼ oz. Sake 
  • ⅛ of an orange
  • 1 oz. diced jalapeño    

Preparation

Muddle the orange, jalapeño, and St. Germain. Add sake and Belle Isle Honey Habanero Moonshine, stir all ingredients a mixing glass, and strain into a port glass rimmed with grapefruit sugar.

Recipe by William Seidensticker of L'opossum

The Shiny Blue Ball

Ingredients

  • ½ oz. Belle Isle Premium Moonshine
  • ½ oz. Vodka
  • ½ oz. Gin
  • ½ oz. White Rum
  • ½ oz. Triple Sec
  • ½ oz. Sour Mix
  • Coke

Preparation

Combine ingredients in a mason jar over ice, stir. Top with Coke. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Recipe by William Seidensticker of L'opossum

Photos by Kate Magee