Vodka Made with Local Honey? MD's First Distillery in 35 Years Makes Award-Winning Spirits on Kent Island

An afternoon trip to historic Stevensville, MD--a quaint little town just over the Bay Bridge on Kent Island--included a tour of Blackwater Distilling. Founded four years ago, Blackwater Distilling has the unique claim of being Maryland’s first fully licensed beverage alcohol distiller since 1972. Brothers Chris and Jon Cook, Maryland natives, became passionate about the idea of starting a distillery that would source ingredients from Maryland and organic growers--and harkening back to the days when Maryland was known as a top producer of Maryland Rye Whiskey.SloopBettyBottles Prohibition changed all that, and the last MD distillery, Pikesville Rye made their last batch in 1973 and sold their recipe and final inventory to Heaven Hill-Evan Williams in Bardstown, KY. The Cook brothers and their team put Maryland back on the map as a distilling state when they launched their Sloop Betty Wheat Vodka in 2011.

The Cook brothers source as many of their ingredients as possible from Maryland growers, including the honey from their vodka which is from Maryland's Eastern Shore's apiary owned by Kara Brook of Waxing Kara. The credit the distinctive flavor of their honey vodka to the delicate nature of the butterbean flowers, the pollen source for these hives.


Blackwater's Sloop Betty vodkas are gentle, creamy spirits, easy to drink on the rocks or mixed in cocktails. And their approach and recipes have won industry recognition. Sloop Betty was named Best Vodka in Show at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition in 2012, a 94-point rating from The Tasting Panel magazine, 91 points and a gold medal from the Beverage Testing Institute and a gold medal from

Come taste at our Drinks Invitational on Feb. 19th when they will be mixing with Cinch Tonics!! Or visit their distillery in Stevensville on Friday and Saturday afternoons, for more information or an appointment go to



Daytrippers and distillery visitors:  Make a note in to drive through "downtown" Stevensville--a little train station town that stayed frozen in time after the passenger trains stopped running in 1938 and freight trains in 1948. A bakery, wine bar, Italian restaurant, antique and other shops round out the tiny town. You can see the original Post Office, train station and town bank, they are open a few times a year for town celebrations.