Frank Sinatra couldn't have spoke truer words when he said, “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.” So how do I embrace my enemy? Well, that is easy. I wander the streets at night looking for a bar top to rest my elbows. I'm thirsty, I get a craving for a delicious libation and believe me, having been the benefactor of many, the decision isn't easy.
Where to start, Asheville? The South Slope has been reborn; or maybe the West Side bar crawl? Wait a second, let's go Downtown… Yes, to where Asheville made its first impression.
Luckily, I know where to get that perfect cocktail...
Before I dive in, let me share a hint of my background. I am not a stranger to the food and drink scene. In fact, I've traveled the globe from the Middle East, Europe and the United Kingdom, to the East and West coasts of our nation. Experiencing some of the finest cities to the humblest beginnings. Knowing this, people often inquire of where to go and what to do. I could reel off umpteen places, naming several mixologists and culinary geniuses who will indeed provide you with a memorable experience.
But what are you looking for, Asheville? Music, cocktails, beer, wine, games, food or maybe a good mocktail? A carefully crafted beverage, minus the spirits and without the side effects? Alcohol isn't the only gig we have going on in this town. Let's talk about all-natural beverages like Devil's Foot, or what about Kombucha, Kava, and all of our tea shops? These too will be explored and shared with you in the weeks to come. But tell me what you are wanting first, then ask me where you need to go. It begins with you.
Enough with the prologue, let’s get tipsy. After crashing the craft cocktail scene in San Francisco and gallivanting around like a kid in a candy store, I found that Asheville was the first place to replicate my time in “Fog City.” Cocktail joints thoughtfully designed with an arsenal of bar tools and a meticulous assortment of bitters, tinctures and infusions to make your taste buds explode. Mixology was breaking the scene, and it happened one garnish at a time.
Sovereign Remedies was one of my first loves and had the perfect setting to imbibe in one of my favorite cocktails, a “Revolver.” This rye and coffee lovers delight created by John Santer in 2003 originally calls for Bulleit. However, I like to change up the base liquor creating a different flavor profile, and Templeton Rye happens to be one I lean on. Born from the prohibition era by a defiant group of Iowa farmers, this spirit is known for being in and out of trouble throughout its history. So for me, it is a perfect fit for the name. Toss in a slug of your favorite coffee liqueur, add a dash or two of orange bitters, zest from an orange, and you now have a mouthful of pure sin and enjoyment.
If you can beat the frenzy to the bar, I suggest sitting there. That is always my first choice. Watching all the mixologists feverishly crafting cocktails is such a sight and has played a large role in my nerdiness for mixology. Or rest back in the chic seating area and gaze out the windows at the bustling downtown scene. Their ambiance and prohibition-era look and feel works well when late night imbibing with friends. And did I mention the food? Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another time. Maybe Stu Helm could take you through that journey. Till then explore Asheville, open your palette, and enjoy our great city because, “No amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well-made cocktail.” - David Sedaris
Curious? Preview all of the best drink options from Sovereign Remedies by checking out their Dig Local Profile.
Be sure to also check out The Urban Gastronome on Dig Local.