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Food & Drink

Is Old Bay vodka any good? Baltimore bartenders weigh in.

“Oh!”

That just about sums up people’s reactions to Old Bay vodka.

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“You know, that’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” was also a favorite line when we asked Baltimore bartenders to try the soon-to-be-released spirit.

Most of the people we interviewed expected the vodka iteration of Old Bay to pack more of a punch, but they were pleasantly surprised by how light the flavor was.

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“You can taste the Old Bay flavor in it, but you can taste more of the vodka,” said Paul Padgett, a customer at Bertha’s Soul Food Bar and Grill in Belair-Edison.

“It definitely has a kick to it though.”

That makes sense, given the fact that Greg David, a co-founder and owner of George’s Beverages, described the spirit as “a very inviting, crisp, refreshing and smooth vodka. It has fresh celery and herbal notes, followed by sweet spice and mild heat [from red pepper].”

We asked a few Baltimore bartenders to come up with their recommended recipes for when Old Bay vodka hits the shelves. Watch the video here, or read the recipes below to see how their takes vary.

J Stratton, bartender at The Manor

Old Bay Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Old Bay vodka

Ginger simple syrup (made up of 2 parts water, 1 part sugar and shaved ginger)

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Goslings ginger beer

Lime

Lemon

Old Bay

Fill up a shaker with ice, and add one and a half ounces of Old Bay vodka. Then, squeeze half a lemon and half a lime into the cup. Add half an ounce of ginger simple syrup to the mixture, and shake well. Then dip the rim of your glass in simple syrup, followed by Old Bay. Strain the mixture from the shaker into the glass, and top it off with ginger beer. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Shannon Fowler, bartender at Bertha’s Soul Food Bar and Grill

Bertha’s Crush

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Ingredients:

1.5 oz Old Bay vodka

Triple sec

Orange or pineapple juice

Sprite

Pour an ounce and a half of Old Bay vodka into a glass, add a splash of triple sec and fill the glass almost to the rim with orange or pineapple juice. Top it off with Sprite, and enjoy.

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William Jackson, beverage director at Lucky Buns

Deconstructed Bloody Mary

Ingredients:

3 oz tomato paste

.5 to .75 oz sherry vinegar

Pickled Fresno peppers or pickled jalapeño

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Grilled onion

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Tomato skin

Black pepper to taste

Old Bay

Old Bay vodka

Lime wedge

Mix the tomato paste, sherry vinegar and black pepper together. Peel the tomatoes so you have about a 1 inch long by .5 inch wide strip of skin. Then, lightly spread the tomato paste mixture on the tomato skin and top it with grilled onion, pickled Fresno peppers, and light dusting of Old Bay. Consume in this order: lime wedge, shot of vodka, and tomato skin.


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