For over a year, a group of local bartenders have been informally meeting as Baltimore's first guild for mixologists.
They've been operating under the radar for most of that time, only quietly launching a website a month ago. But they will make their big entrance Sunday with their inaugural event, a fundraiser and cocktails showcase at B&O American Brasserie.
Dubbed the Baltimore Bartenders' Guild, the group includes some of the most well-known bartenders in the city and some of the most high-profile - Brendan Dorr of B&O, Adrian Ross-Boom of Wit & Wisdom, and Doug Atwell of Rye. So far, there are 15 members from 11 bars, including one that hasn't opened yet.
It is a working trade group, one where its members talk shop and liquor vendors sometimes present new products. But it's also supposed to work as a hip cheerleader of craft cocktails in Baltimore.
Dorr says organizing quality drink-makers as an official trade group could make Baltimore a destination as a craft cocktail scene, much the way New York and San Francisco are, and Washington D.C. is becoming; D.C., for instance, launched its own guild four years ago.
"I'd like to see Baltimore get some of that recognition," he says. "Getting a guild together definitely helps. It says, 'This is who we are, and we're serious about it.' It gets our names out there."
Sunday's event, to be held at B&O, is the culmination of a month-long promotion where all bars created a special rye-based cocktail. All the guild members will be on hand mixing their rye cocktails, and one will be judged the winner by a panel that includes Brewer's Art chef Dave Newman and the Owen Thompson, the president of the Washington D.C. Bartenders' Guild.
The event, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., is a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation cleverly titled "Rye's Up Against Cystic Fibrosis." Tickets, at $80, are on sale at Missiontix.com. More details here.