There are countless exciting things to eat and drink in the AVL. So for me, diving into the craft beverage scene was a seamless transition from my hobby to what is now a career. Besides, who doesn’t want to taste all of these fantastic beverages that Asheville offers?
As stated in my last article, I wander the streets thirsting for a good libation. However, flavor isn't the only important thing; it's the story and the tools needed to make it a memorable experience. One place that comes to mind is a locally owned distillery: Cultivated Cocktails. Recently they had a re-branding from their old name, H&H Distillery. The Howard's (Wendell, Taylor, and Leah) have been crafting spirits here locally for four years and are the most down to earth, amazing people. Not only do they offer an array of tasty North Carolina spirits, but they also have a new retail location downtown that will blow your mind.
Cultivated Cocktails is ideal for the cocktail enthusiast (like myself), and it is the one-stop shop for all of your party needs. When you first walk in, your breath is taken away by the beautifully decorated shop. The walls and counters provide everything you need to set up your bar at home–spirits, copper bar tools, glassware, local bitters, and mixers. There is even an area with fresh herbs for muddling and garnishes. Everything imaginable is right there at your fingertips. They've also partnered with several other local businesses to house locally sourced ingredients; Rayburn Farms, Asheville Bee Charmer Honey, Devil's Foot, and Luscious Liquor Ice Cream to name a few.
Best of all, you can sample all of their products for free! Who wouldn't want to try before you buy? If you need assistance, make sure you ask for Kelsey. Oh, and don't let her easy-going personality fool you; Kelsey is exceptionally knowledgeable as she guides you through tastings and stories of their humble beginnings.
Currently, Cultivated has four different liquors:
Shades of Rosé Gin
Hwy 9 Gin
Hazel 63 Rum
Asheville Coffee Liqueur
In the fall, they have a surprise for all of us. Sorry everyone, I'm not here to spoil the secret!
Cultivated Cocktail's distiller, Reel Adams, is the key to their award-winning spirits. Reel graduated from AB Tech in brewing, distillation, and fermentation. I recently spoke to Jeff "Puff" Irvin, the Director of the Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast. Irvin states that Adams is one of the smartest and most creative students to ever go through the program.
Drop the mic.
So, let's finally get to what you want: a drink. Plus, I have a treat for you! Not only can you go downtown to Cultivated Cocktails after September 1st and try this concoction, but I am also going to give you the recipe to make at home!
The Pink Lady
2.0 ounces of Shades of Rosé Gin
0.5 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.25 ounces of rosemary simple syrup
0.25 ounces of raspberry simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice
Stir liberally for 15 to 20 seconds
Strain into a coupe glass
Add a spritz of rosemary tincture
Garnish with a floating raspberry dusted with confectioners sugar
Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more on how to make these syrups, bitters, and tinctures. Or you can purchase recipe books at their shop. It's really easy and will step up your cocktail game while impressing your guests.
The production facility is located just outside of town on Charlotte Highway, while the retail location is across from the Grove Arcade at 29 Page Avenue. When you visit, remember to tell them I sent you. Be sure to also check out all of the delicious beverages and specials that Cultivated Cocktails has to offer on their Dig Local profile.
In closing, I want to thank everyone who reached out after the launch of the first column. I appreciate your support and kindness. Thank you, Asheville!
Until we drink again. Cheers!
(Be sure to check out The Urban Gastronome's Dig Local profile for his upcoming hosted events and more info.)