Belle Isle Moonshine

Replace your vodka with something better.

Baltimore restaurants

Behind the Bar: Ginny Lawhorn // Sticky Rice

Behind the BarStephanie StantonComment
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As a sushi restaurant with an innovative, 100% vegan bar program in a potentially haunted historical building in Baltimore, Sticky Rice Baltimore is definitely one-of-a-kind. So too is Ginny Lawhorn, the restaurant's managing partner and bar wizard. With nearly two decades of service industry experience, a serious amount of knowledge, Ginny knows a thing or two about the bar business. We recently chatted with Ginny about what it takes to run a bar, being a part of Baltimore's bar scene, and how to cure many of life's ailments with whiskey and water. She also shared with us her recipe for the tasty, versatile, and fantastically-named Just Like Honey.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF…

I'm Ginny Lawhorn, Managing Partner of Sticky Rice Baltimore and Bar Lead at Landmark Theatre, Harbor East. I have been bartending for 16 years.  I have run the bar program with Landmark Harbor East for 10 years and have managed the Front of House and beverage program at Sticky Rice Baltimore for six years.

What first got you behind the bar?

Oh, gosh…a need to pay my rent while I was in school got me into hospitality.  That and being too antsy and too nocturnal for offices. What got me behind a bar was the fastest “YES!” in the west when a bartender no-showed for a shift, and I swore I could cover the service bar.  I dug my heals in and stayed put from there.

Favorite drink made by someone else?

Anything Amie Ward at R. Bar or Chelsea Gregoire at Hotel Revival.  The company can not be beat! Put your faith in the brilliance, skills, and knowledge of these badass babes!

 

Favorite drink that you make?

A Last Word.  I am very partial to ratio cocktails and am head over heals for “perfect” cocktails.  Last Words are equal measure classic cocktail, timeless chic, international flair, and good taste.  The scent of a well made Last Word also lingers just long enough to brighten the day of those around it!  Try subbing Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit for the gin in a Last Word for an extra zippy citrus-forward gem!

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Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?

Orangina!  I love citrus. I think Orangina is a gift from the heavens.  My mom used to say the only thing I took away from living in California when I was little is an obsession with Orangina and artichokes.

 

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

Water, sparkling and flat.  I think water is the most underutilized component of cocktail programs.  I often joke that whiskey in water is the cure to most ailments. Sore throat?  Whiskey in hot water. Upset stomach? Whiskey in sparkling water. Heartbreak? Whiskey on the rocks.  

 

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

My very favorite part of working in hospitality is building your “Bar Family.”  The time you spend locked behind a bar, or on the floor of a restaurant, or in a kitchen provides very unique environments for relationship building.  Sharing small spaces, working long shifts and late nights day after day creates bonds you don’t find in every field. The respect for personhood and sense of community in our industry is our pillar of strength and strongest intrinsic value.  I am grateful for the opportunity to help create and cultivate a work home for my teams.

 

What makes your bar unique?

Landmark is unique in the constantly changing line up of guests based on film release.  Seven movie screens with seven titles offers seven audiences. It is a super fun setting for a movie geek. 10 years later I am still super excited to talk movie shop with guests every new release Friday.

Sticky Rice Baltimore is incredibly unique in environment. In 1904, a mahogany wood bar was commissioned in Germany destined for a home in America.  After being meticulously crafted and spending several months at sea this bar arrived in the port of Baltimore.  With might and some struggle it was installed by hand at 1634 Aliceanna Street.  This bar found its home at Dix Hotel, an Irish bar on the first floor topped with two floors of boarding rooms above.  Over the next century this bar would continually operate, passing through a few hands and concepts.  

In 2010, Sticky Rice Baltimore found a home here.  Embracing the truest roots of Baltimore's hospitality while mixing in fusion offerings, we have been fortunate to belly up to this bar for the last eight years.  I don’t take for granted our incredible fortune to be able to see this bar through this generation and iteration of hospitality.

The building is haunted AF too. 


Where do you like to stop in for a drink?

I am a sucker for a nice patio and a good view!  Little Havana is my favorite in Baltimore. Parc is my must in Philly.  Momofuku CCDC is my favorite guilty pleasure in DC.

 

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

Baltimore has an incredibly vibrant cocktail culture that is very supportive and inclusive.  It is a city that takes pride in the beer and spirits made here. Union Craft Brewing is leading by incredible example in support and inclusion with the creation of the Union Craft Collective. This new space will house Union Brewing, Baltimore Whiskey Company, Vent Coffee and a variety of other local purveyors.

 

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

For both guests and bartenders, wherever possible: “Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.  I don’t say it to sound cliché or “golden rule” shame anyone. Just as a simple reminder that you don’t know what happened that has brought this person in front of you.  I went to work the day my best friend passed away from breast cancer because I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do. I have had guests come in immediately following being laid off because seeing a movie was what made sense at that time.  "Please" and "Thank You" always help! Lead with kindness whenever you are able.

 

What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?

A Belle Isle Honey Habanero Bloody Mary outside of Sticky Rice Baltimore!


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Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero

  • 1 oz. Belle Isle Grapefruit

  • 2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

  • One drop organic honey

Preparation:

One cocktail, Two ways

1. Coupe - In a mixing tin over ice combine all ingredients.  Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish will honeycomb inside of a grapefruit peel.

2. Highball - In a mixing tin over ice combine all ingredients.  Shake vigorously and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.  Top with sparkling water. Garnish with honeycomb inside of a grapefruit peel.

 

Want to go behind more bars?


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: 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.

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