In Good Taste

Baltimore Cocktail Week Focuses on Collaboration in Fourth Year

Daily events will address everything from inclusivity to wellness in the industry.

By Lauren Cohen | July 25, 2018, 2:00 pm

In Good Taste

Baltimore Cocktail Week Focuses on Collaboration in Fourth Year

Daily events will address everything from inclusivity to wellness in the industry.

By Lauren Cohen | July 25, 2018, 2:00 pm

Typically, the annual Baltimore Cocktail Week kicks off with a cocktail competition. But rather than pitting local bartenders against one another, organizer Ginny Lawhorn is taking a more collaborative approach this time around.

“In the face of the heartbreaking number of restaurant closures in the last year and a half, I didn’t feel like we needed another competition,” says Lawhorn, the co-owner of Sticky Rice, who started the event in 2015. “There’s more of a desire to create a community conversation and focus on cultivating small businesses, whether it’s engaging in them as consumers or supporting the jobs that they create.”

This year, the weeklong initiative happening July 30-August 4 will launch with an across-town happy hour at five bars scattered from Hampden to Canton, including Holy Frijoles, The Red Star in Charles Village, Sticky Rice, Bartenders Pub, and The Regal Beagle. On Monday, July 30 from 4-10 p.m., each spot will create a specialty drink using a certain spirit, and a portion of the final sales will be donated to local nonprofits.

“Baltimore has so many unique communities,” Lawhorn says. “People become so comfortable exploring their own, but sometimes it’s nice to engage customers and try to get them just a neighborhood away.”

The inclusive feel of the kick-off happy hour is fitting for this year’s theme, “Better Together”—which Lawhorn says will be an undertone in all of the Baltimore Cocktail Week meetups. From a special brunch to a conversation about collective bargaining, the daily events (many of which are open to the public) will address subjects like sustainability, innovation, and wellness in the hospitality industry.

Feminism will also be a topic of discussion, as five female industry leaders gather for a “Badass Business Babes” panel at Waverly Brewing on July 31 at 7 p.m. Admission to the talk is $25 with all proceeds being donated to House of Ruth. Panelists will include Lane Harlan of Clavel and W.C. Harlan, Judy Neff of Checkerspot Brewing, Carrie Podles of Alexander’s Tavern and Papi’s Tacos, Emily Lerman of Mera Kitchen Collective, and Paige Baskauskas of Opici Wines.

“It's going to be great to hear everyone else’s opinions about working in the hospitality industry from all sides,” says Baskauskas, a wine sales representative for Opici. “This is a great event to show everyone that we’re educated when it comes to our craft. We know what we’re doing and we want to expand on that even more.”

The week continues with a free, all-day series of wellness workshops at R. House in Remington on August 1. Led by our own local “healthtender” Amie Ward, the gathering will begin with yoga followed by a series of conversations about nutrition, sobriety, and sexual assault prevention.

Another industry trend being represented is sustainability, which will be addressed at a get-together at Foraged in Hampden on August 2. Six national brands, including Bombay Sapphire and Sierra Nevada, will present local bartenders with information about how to minimize their ecological footprints.

“It’s not a secret that we’re a wasteful industry,” Lawhorn says. “It’s a lot of packaging and food waste. But where do you start? Paper straws and compostable to-go containers are amazing. It’s all about focusing on that next step to lower your environmental impact.”

Later that day, Ceremony Coffee in Mt. Vernon will host “Punch with a Purpose,” a collaborative cocktail class that will teach consumers about the versatility of different spirits by creating a seasonal punch. “It’s super fun to dump bottles in things,” quips Lawhorn. “It’s also exciting to be able to engage a beautiful space like Ceremony in a different way for an evening conversation.”

Closing out the week will be a Baltimore Cocktail Week collaboration with the Fells Point Farmers’ Market on August 4. Attendees will be able to sample sips from eight neighborhood bartenders and vote for their favorites. The winner will be the signature cocktail at the End of Summer Soiree at the Sagamore Pendry on August 23.

In keeping with the “Better Together” theme, Lawhorn says she hopes that the weeklong initiative sparks a sense of community engagement in patrons and bartenders alike.

“There’s something so important about conversations next to your friends at a bar stool, or across the bar with a bartender,” she says, “and what that can mean to cultivation of ideas and a sense of community in a city."

Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is a digital associate editor for Baltimore, where she blogs about food, events, lifestyle, and community news.

You May Also Like

On The Town

Sagamore Spirit Releases Cognac Finish to Benefit Ellicott City Flood Relief

Distillery teams up with Ellicott City Partnership to host fundraiser this weekend.

In Good Taste

Parts & Labor Closing This Week in Remington

Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka discuss the economic and cultural challenges of whole animal butchery.

In Good Taste

Most Mouthwatering Dishes You’ll Find at the Baltimore Caribbean Festival

From jerk chicken to fresh roti, get a taste of the islands at this two-day event.

On The Town

Best Places to Celebrate Fourth of July

Read up on fun facts about the show in time for this year’s fireworks spectacular.

Food & Drink

Pure Imagination

The Charmery owners David and Laura Alima give us the scoop on their growing ice cream business.

Food & Drink

How to Throw the Perfect Crab Feast

Move full steam ahead with our tips and tricks for a repast to remember.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Scalawags Pit Meat Brings Barrel-Smoked Barbecue to Local Pop-Ups: Gnocco general manager Sam White launches a pit beef project.

Roberto Lugo Taps into Personal and Collective History in Work at The Walters Art Museum: The ceramic artist will present an interactive performance piece inside the Walters' new 1 West Mount Vernon Place.

Zack Mills to Head Up Kitchen at True Chesapeake Oyster House: Former Wit & Wisdom chef continues passion for regional cuisine in new venture.

Center Stage Names Stephanie Ybarra as New Artistic Director: With an interest in social justice and inclusivity, Ybarra will come to Baltimore from New York's Public Theater this fall.

Maryland Joins Eight States to Sue Trump Administration Over 3D-Printed Guns: A Texas-based company fights for the right to distribute blueprints for firearms online.