Standing in the rain on Main Street in Old Ellicott City a wave of thirst and hunger came over me.
Every drop of rain that hit me gave me urgency to address the most immediate human needs. Shelter. Infused Vodka. Tapas.
I stopped a person on the street. Luckily a local who gave me guidance to fulfillment. Down the road I wandered on a brick sidewalk that had a story of its own and turned into a small alleyway, there appeared a cozy brick establishment – The Rumor Mill.
I stepped into the warmth of the building and was immediately greeted by staff. Cozy tables with groups of people engaged in intimate conversations each holding a different colored libation. Music plays in the background while bartending staff and the kitchen harmoniously produce a rhythm of passion and excitement to educate and serve customers.
Behind the bar large labeled mason containers are accumulating flavors which are labeled on the chalkboard adjacent to them. Blood Orange, Pear, Jalapeno and Ginger to name a few.
Before I begin my culinary adventure, I’m greeted by a knowledgeable bartender full of ideas for the next season of infused concoctions. The Rumor Mill is locally owned and operated by couple Chef Matthew and Lexi Milani. Celebrating 7 years, the Rumor Mill has an innumerable amount of combinations and permutations of up to 60 infused vodkas at a time along with a tapas menu that changes seasonally. However, some have remained staples.
I was welcomed by a Signature Blood Orange Blossom cocktail that is infused with fresh fruit puree. A light libation that tingles and relaxes the tongue.
This is paired with roasted brussel sprouts, almonds and reduced balsamic vinaigrette.
While the vodka assortments are plentiful, the wine list is also robust. The next round consists of a beautiful red Shiraz paired with a signature beef lion that is souvide (which means marinated and sealed slowly cooked in a water bath to intensify the flavors) with sliced cucumbers and cilantro oil.
This is followed by, the New York Sour - this one’s a beauty: rye whiskey, lemon & simple syrup shaken & poured over ice, topped with a floater of Snoqualmie syrah. This comes out with a seasonally grilled swordfish, with fresh haricovert, pan roasted baby potatoes with a mustard tarragon sauce.
Next a conversation piece entices a FAQ between customers and bartenders. A precarious small batch oak barrel sits behind the bar and an inquisitive bar audience engages the staff and chef who are all too eager to showcase their latest barrel aged infusion.
The oak has previously been smoked creating a significant flavor profile that will begin to change over time with each batch. Although only aged 2 weeks, we sample the barreled aged vodka that has a smoky flavor with hints of sweet cherry and honey beginning to develop.
The meal is finished with banana wontons & kahlua espresso ice cream - sweet bananas wrapped with dark chocolate in wonton skins, quickly fried & served with a scoop of kahlua espresso chocolate chip ice cream. Each taste is equally delicious.
Who’s behind the delicious varieties of vodka and tasty tapas? Chef Matthew Milani was born into the industry working at the age of 15 immediately realized his passion with a decorated background as a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute a Cordon Blue Institute along with hotel and restaurant management experience as well as a sommelier certificate.
His wife Lexi, a communications master runs the rest of the operation smoothly coordinating the front-of-house, events and parties.
A perfectly passionate duo that collaborates with their ingenuous staff that continuously evolve The Rumor Mill.
Among Chef Milani’s accolades is Maryland’s Restaurateur of the year in 2012 awarded by the Restaurant Association.
This restaurant will also specifically cater towards anyone with unique food allergies as Chef Milani experiences his own; he understands the importance of catering to all customers and is knowledgeable on pleasing palates of any need without sacrificing an experience or flavor.
For More Information Contact:
The Rumor Mill
8069 Tiber Alley Ellicott City, MD 20143
Hours of Operation:
• Monday: Closed
• Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
• Friday: 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM
• Saturday: 4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
• Sunday: 4:00 PM - 09:00 PM