Cocktails and Good Times in Asheville, NC

Over the past few week we have been visiting family in North Carolina and our trip just happen to coincide with the annual Asheville Cocktail Week festivities, so between family visits we made our way into Asheville to check out a few of the activities they had going on.

The first evening we attended an amazing Second in Command dinner at Ambrozia Bar & Bistro hosted by Knob Creek. The venue was actually closed down to the public and the regular chef Eli Harris was joined by Dan Silo from Buxton Hall and Joe Fahey of Local Provisions. These 3 talented local chefs put together a woodland themed 3 course meal with a strong focus on meat. I couldn’t imagine picking a favorite, as every dish was so full of flavor and they always found a way to work in one of the Knob Creek whiskey varietals. To finish the evening, the team called on the wonderful Maddy Battles to serve up delicious sweets from French Broad Chocolates.

Next up was a really fun event, The Art of Auchentoshan where we met with some Asheville hospitality locals and national booze reps at Smoky Park Supper Club and got our hands dirty with some arts and crafts. Of course the Auchentoshan team were there slinging some delicious batched cocktails to get the creative juices flowing. We screen-printed some t-shirts; custom spray painted Auchentoshan bottles and made post cards to send to friends and family. The afternoon was a fun, relaxing change to the usual booze events we attend and the food coming from the kitchen was delicious.

On Thursday evening we spent a few hours wandering the halls of The Grove Arcade exploring local North Carolina products; from spirits and liqueurs to amazing cheeses and charcuterie by Foothills Local Meats. The Elixir event does a great job of bringing local bartenders together with spirit specialists from all around to collaborate on cocktails and compete for the top prize. Our favorite cocktail of the evening was the punch made by the staff from one of our favorite bars in town MG Road in collaboration with the Fair Game Beverage Co. using their delicious apple brandy.

Friday morning happened to be Cinco de Mayo and we started in great fashion with a tequila tasting at Sovereign Remedies with the master distiller of Casa Sauza. Fernando took us through a sampling of the different expressions from the different Sauza lines and shared some great stories with the local hospitality staff over breakfast.

Later in the evening we met up again at a dinner setting to go through them again but this time the expressions were paired perfectly with delicious ceviche at Mamacitas Taco Temple. A Mexican pairing was perfect and I do not know why I had not thought of ceviche before when tasting tequila but it was amazing. The tasting was done without guidance as Fernando wanted us to taste the tequilas and ceviches separately and guess which paired best. Once we had tasted each he went through the entire process of flavor profile matching between all of them and explained which tequilas were best with the associated ceviches and why.

The following week we returned to Asheville again to check out the up and coming River Arts District so keep an eye on this spot for the next article and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for all of our latest shenanigans.

About the Author

Founder and creator of the cocktail website and blog Beautiful Booze. Natalie is a mixologist, cocktail stylist, photographer, recipe developer, and social media guru. Beautiful Booze the website features over 400 original recipes and photography that celebrate cocktails. From "DIY" bourbon tastings to simple 2-ingredient cocktails Beautiful Booze has something special shaking for everyone. Beautiful Booze has been named one of the top 5 cocktail Instagram accounts to follow and Natalie has a passion for Instagram and social media. Natalie is a regular contributor to Foodable WebTV, Drinkwire, Vinepair, and Delish. Her recipes have been featured on Liquor.com, Huffington Post, Fox News Magazine, Today Show, Latin Kitchen, Cosmopolitan, Pop Sugar, Country Living and many more.