Conjuring up a respectable brew for Independence Day in Baltimore could prove cardinal to the ultimate success of many local holiday bashes. Luckily, two exceptionally talented area mixologists lend a helping hand by divulging a few tantalizing drink recipes. Fresh ingredients and enticing aromas are uniting themes throughout the following cocktail ideas. Not surprisingly, these lively concoctions may possess ample clout to transform an otherwise lackluster BBQ into the sophisticated place to be.

Courtesy of Aaron Joseph

Aaron Joseph
Lead Bartender
Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina
200 International Drive
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410) 576-5800

Wit & Wisdom is a relaxing oasis located on the waterfront at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East. The venue’s refreshingly modern, upscale and functional décor provide a sensational backdrop to top-notch spirits prepared under the strategic direction of lead bartender Aaron Joseph. Joseph prides himself on having a keen acumen to “lead Wit & Wisdom’s outstanding beverage program by paying homage to the classics [drinks] through the establishment of fresh modern renditions.” He refers to one creation, the Papa na pua (see below), as a “flower garden in a glass”- an alliteration aptly epitomized by robustly fragrant floral undertones and edible marigolds floating on top. Aaron Joseph divulges that the intricate recipes are “always flexible and not written in stone,” as they appease to a “guest-led palate.” This crafty winner of various mixology awards invites patrons to have an open mind as he artfully mixes summer concoctions at Wit & Wisdom, with a great deal of both.

Paloma on the Harbor (Courtesy of Aaron Joseph)

Paloma on the Harbor


  • 1 1/2 oz. Silver tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh grapefruit
  • 1/2 oz. of lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. agave syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Old Bay


  1. Stir ingredients together.
  2. Top with club soda.

Papa na pua (Courtesy of Aaron Joseph)

Papa na pua


  • 1 1/2 oz. hibiscus-infused rum
  • 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. honey syrup


  1. Place all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into cocktail coupe.
  4. Garnish with lime peel and marigolds flowers.

Related: Best Cocktail Bars In Baltimore

Courtesy of Tim Reilly


Tim Riley
Beverage Director, Bagby Restaurant Group

1010 Fleet St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410) 244-6867

Fleet Street Kitchen
1012 Fleet St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410) 244-5830

1 Olympic Place
Towson, Md. 21204
(410) 339-7730

Beverage Director Tim Riley of The Bagby Restaurant Group oversees beverage operations for Fleet Street Kitchen, Ten Ten American Bistro and Cunningham’s. The restaurant conglomerate is proud of its commitment to using freshly picked ingredients, an undertaking that also serves as inspiration for deliciously innovative mixology recipes. “After sourcing some beautiful rhubarb from our own Cunningham Farms in Cockeysville, Md., we aimed to create a cocktail that spoke to the bright, alive seasons of spring and summer,” notes accomplished sommelier Tim Riley. “At once approachable – it is, after all, only a few steps away from a Cosmopolitan – and quite seasonal, the Blaze Starr matches bright fruit and floral flavors to a crisp, citric base.”

Blaze Star (Courtesy of Tim Riley)

Blaze Starr


  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. rhubarb jam*
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hibiscus grenadine*


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and shake with ice.
  2. Strain into a small cocktail coupe and garnish with one or two small viola flowers.

*Rhubarb Jam Ingredients:

  • 625 grams of finely chopped rhubarb
  • 5 grams peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • the zest of one quarter of an orange
  • 112 grams of finely strained, freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 225 grams of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 grams of kosher salt
  • 112 grams of water


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Cool, blend in a blender, and fine strain.

*Hibiscus Grenadine Ingredients – adapted from Katie Loeb:

  • 473 grams of water
  • 67 grams of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 333 grams of granulated sugar
  • rose water, to taste
  • orange blossom water, to taste


  1. Heat water until it almost reaches a boil.
  2. Pour over top of dried hibiscus flowers. Let steep for several hours until cool and then strain.
  3. Combine strained tea with granulated sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add small dashes of rose water and orange blossom water to taste.

Related: Best Liquor Stores In Baltimore

Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Md. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on