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GET TO KNOW GINNY EDWARDS

Ginny Edwards - Western Region

Ginny- adj. 'One affected by Gin, a strong liquor (a true dictionary definition, you can play my name in Scrabble!) Coming to you from Seattle as a fierce competitor, fanatical about libations of all kinds. A wine loving Certified Sommelier who has been described as 'Punk Rock and a Disney Musical combined.' A rebellious expert unbound by tradition, on a quest to dominate the West Coast by way of the Smoky Mountains. Follow Ginny on Instagram  @ LiL_Ms_Moonshine

For more about Ginny, read her interview with Tasting Panel Magazine below.

Interview for Tasting Panel Magazine by Mara Marski / photos by Van Gallik

How did you end up behind the bar?

I’ve been enamored with food and beverage since I was a kid. One of my first visceral memories is of being in a restaurant and ordering a Shirley Temple. There was something about the way it tasted and the pretty waitress who brought it, and I fell in love. As soon as I was old enough, I started to hostess and I worked up to bussing, then serving, but I always wanted to get behind the bar. It’s like a stage, and as an only child, I wanted all eyes on me. It was a gravitational pull from the beginning.

How would you describe your style as a bartender?

I like creating seasonal, easy-drinking, balanced cocktails, and I have a less-is-more philosophy. It’s easy to wow people with a nine-ingredient drink that has four dashes of this, a barspoon of that, and a dust of whatever, but it’s harder to give people that same “aha moment” with only three ingredients.

What are your biggest influences behind the bar?

Hands down, my inspiration behind the bar comes from two places: seasonality and my guests. There are definite tastes that mirror seasons—florals in spring transition to summer berries and melon, then into fall with cinnamon and spices. Every season has a place and flavor and this is where my menus tend to gravitate.

I also listen to what my guests want. A woman came in and said, “I once had a Martini that tasted like an Orange Creamsicle—can you do that?” Yeah, sure I can. So, I mixed up a drink and had a “wow” moment. I called over my bartenders and next thing I know, it’s on the menu.

What’s exciting to you about being a “modern moonshiner”?

There’s a certain amount of mysticism behind moonshine, but it’s so deeply seated in our history as Americans. To see it get reinstated in 2010 and to look at how it’s moved to the forefront of the marketplace is incredible. For me, it’s the versatility of moonshine—it’s an inherently rebellious spirit—and the opportunity to introduce consumers to it on the West Coast where it has almost no exposure that I find the most exciting.

ANOTHER ROUND WITH GINNY

What’s your go-to moonshine camp cocktail?

Ole Smoky Mountain Java with Buckeye and cream, garnished with a crushed pretzel salt and sugar rim. Dessert cocktails are my jam.

What’s on your camp playlist?

“Drunk Me” by Mitchell Tenpenny. Ironically, it’s about being sober.

How do you describe your camp style?

Hmm, how about girl from the city trying real hard? Or punk rock meets a Disney musical.

How would your friends describe you?

An actual quote from a friend: “If Rainbow Brite and Dorothy from The Golden Girls had a few drinks at the local dive.”​​​​​​​