It’s cocktail time.
Last month, Blue Dyer Distilling Co., located on Industrial Park Drive nearby Patuxent Brewing Co. in Waldorf, was issued a permit to sell mixed drinks made from its own spirits.
“We realized that, you know, that is the way that people will utilize our products so being able to sample like [at the] location of the manufacturer the same way that you’re going to utilize the product at home is a great tool,” said Ryan Vierheller, co-founder Blue Dyer and its master distiller.
The bill that kickstarted their permit was signed into law on May 25 of this year. The on-site consumption permit allows a Class 1 Distillery License holder “to sell mixed drinks made from liquor that the holder produces that is mixed with other nonalcoholic ingredients for on-premises consumption,” with the permit being issued from a local licensing board, according to the law text. It went into effect July 1.
Shortly thereafter, on July 11, the Charles County Board of License Commissioners approved Blue Dyer’s application for the permit.
Since then, Blue Dyer has been offering a variety of cocktails that feature its rum, whiskey and gin made in-house. One of the brains behind the shaker? Blue Dyer’s beverage director Dan Marlowe. “We like to look at cocktails as similar to music,” Marlowe said. “There’s nothing right, wrong or original. It’s, it’s all art.”
As Blue Dyer delves into the cocktail selling world, they’re trying to avoid contents that are pasteurized, processed or contain corn syrup or allergens, Marlowe and Vierheller said. And they want to “[show] the community, through engagement, that they can do this themselves. They can do it at home,” Marlowe said. “Realistically, if you have a protein shaker, some lime juice, some sugar and some rum, you can make a daiquiri.”
Their cocktails are made to showcase the alcohol they make on premise, Marlowe said. For example, Blue Dyer mojitos and daiquiris are made with its gold or dark rum. “As spirits go, gold and dark rum have more personality. They’re more complex. So if you build them into a cocktail, you’re cocktail’s inherently going to have more personality. So that’s the emphasis behind all the drinks that we make,” Marlowe explained.
In addition to offering traditional cocktails, like a smoked old fashioned, hurricane or dark rum daiquiri, Blue Dyer also whips up tavern special items like its cranberry hibiscus gin sour made with Blue Dyer Dry Gin, Element Shrub Cranberry Hibiscus Shrub Syrup, lemon juice and aquafaba. Marlowe said they plan on having weekly specials.
Blue Dyer also plans on eventually making all components for their drinks — including mixtures, garnishes and sodas — on site, Vierheller said. “It’s really kind of a rabbit hole,” he added. “Once you start making one thing and being like, ‘fresh is better’... it’s like we have to do it all.”
They currently have a partnership with Element Shrub, a shrub company based out of Northern Virginia. Shrubs — not the bush — are a “flavored vinegar product,” Vierheller explained, that can be used in a multitude of ways including in drinks. In many cocktails, Blue Dyer replaces simple syrup with Element Shrub syrup — such as in their cranberry hibiscus gin sour — which uses “real, simple ingredients,” according to Element Shrub’s website.
In addition to Element Shrub, Blue Dyer also partners with local food trucks such as County Matters, Smoker’s Delight BBQ and The Gospel Chick, according to Blue Dyer’s website, and with local breweries like Mully’s Brewery, Calvert Brewing Company and Patuxent Brewing Company, Marlowe and Vierheller said. “We are very much in the community, and we very much thrive to collaborate with the community,” Marlowe said.
Although the tavern side of Blue Dyer is “making waves,” the distilling side has a few upcoming releases, Marlowe added, that include a port finish whiskey and a gin collaboration with Fredrick’s McClintock Distilling.
Additionally, Blue Dyer coupons can be found in Clipper Magazine or on the Local Flavor app.
Blue Dyer’s hours are Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit Blue Dyer’s website or its social media pages.