Forget the stereotype of pirates and rum. At Blackwater Distilling—founded three years ago by brothers Chris and Jon Cook—it’s vodka that’s tied to bawdy buccaneers. 

“When we came up with the idea for Sloop Betty Vodka, we were inspired by Blackbeard, who spent time on the Chesapeake on a ship he had captured named Sloop Betty,” says Chris. “We loved the idea of a sloop packed with Madeira wine that his crew took over and scuttled, forever [losing it] to history.” 

While the brand’s logo (a nod to fuselage art) is whistle-worthy, the vodka, produced by the state’s first distillery in 35 years, has garnered attention, too, winning honors at the New York World Wine & Spirit competition. 

“Our product is versatile,” says Chris. “If you want to mix it, that’s fine, but it’s great by itself, too."

Sloop Betty's mixologist developed this refreshing recipe just in time for summer:

Daily Pinup
2 ounces Sloop Betty Vodka
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce honey
3 ounces iced tea

Shake ingredients with ice and dump into large pint glass. (Don’t strain into new ice.) Garnish with a lemon wedge on a skewer.

For more recipes, go to