Drink Locally at These Baltimore Distilleries

by Jennifer Waldera on Oct 15, 2018 in Roundups

 
Baltimore has a long history of being a wet city, and we’re obviously not talking about the weather. Playing home to pubs that never stopped serving during Prohibition, and many others that have likely served liquid lunches to workers for decades or even centuries, Charm City could have garnered its name just as easily from its ability to freely serve spirits as from the real tale behind the title. Plenty of bars have been serving up spirits from elsewhere, but it’s only more recently that distilleries have actually set foothold within city limits. The results of the hard work of these local distillers will make you thankful Prohibition ended, and potentially tempt you to try a liquid lunch, too.
 
The spirits from here are some of our favorites - we’ve given more than a few nods to what was previously named Baltimore Whiskey Company before they adopted their more all- encompassing name. With an amazing gin distilled with proprietary botanicals and spirits that have won local, international and national awards, including Maryland’s Best Distillery, and the release of their Epoch whiskey this year (which really is epic), we can’t say enough about the innovation and quality of the spirits coming out of this distillery. While we adore the Shot Tower Gin and the Epoch Whiskey, we have to acknowledge the ingenuity in the Asimina Pumila, an apple brandy that receives a lot of the distillers’ attention, including suspending a Maryland Country Ham above the pot to give the final product a subtle salinity and savory note. Stop by the distillery’s new location at the Union Collective for a free tour Wednesday through Sunday to check out their whiskey, gin, brandy, and amaro. Looking for it around town? Check out Bluebird Cocktail Room, Clavel, The Bygone, The Regal Beagle, or Rye Street Tavern.
 
Mark McLaughlin and Arch Watkins met in the Navy and experienced some serendipity that brought them together as friends in Baltimore and eventually led them to buy a California-based distillery after a chance meeting with a seller (turned mentor) at a distilling conference. They were also later mentored by Ryan and Brady of Middle West  Spirits in Columbus Ohio. The distillery specializes in single malt whiskeys that range from 86 to 120 proof. However, they also produce several aged Caribbean rums, including one that is set aside for a final finishing in their American Single Malt Whiskey barrels. In autumn of 2018, they are intending to release a single malt finished in sherry casks. Named a Baltimore Magazine’s Distillery of the Year, Old Line is located in a former commercial laundry facility in Highlandtown that sports an outdoor courtyard as well as The Ready Room, Maryland’s first full beer, wine, and spirits cocktail bar in a distillery. The best place to enjoy Old Line’s spirits is clearly at The Ready Room, where their spirits can be enjoyed straight or in a number of drinks with naval inspired names. We’ve also found their spirits in numerous bars around town. Our most notable taste was an Insta-worthy rum Old Fashioned at Alma Cocina Latina.
 
Sagamore Spirit opened its waterfront distillery in Port Covington in April of 2017. Made with pure spring-fed Maryland water, Sagamore Spirit Rye has a unique mash bill and proofing process. The distilling team blends two different straight rye whiskeys – a high rye and a low rye – and then adds pure limestone-filtered spring water transported twenty two miles from Sagamore Farm, to create an 83 proof Maryland-style rye whiskey. 100% of Sagamore Rye is cut to proof with the distinct water. Obviously, whiskey isn’t made in a year. However, the distillery wanted to share their Maryland-style rye whiskey before the distillery was built. So, they called in some friends in Indiana to distill their two different proprietary mash bills. Once the whiskey is aged, it’s shipped to the Maryland distillery in barrels and the distilling team proofs it with Sagamore Farm spring water, before hand-bottling and labeling each one. The distillery is currently producing five whiskeys. As is always the case, tasting at the distillery is ideal, and they offer tours for $15 in addition to occasional Craft Your Own Cocktail events. However, any whiskey drinker would be hard pressed to not find Sagamore at local bars, restaurants, and retail shops around town. Use their site to see the numerous locations to find it (and for cocktail ideas at home).
 
Photo via Baltimore Whiskey Company
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