By Chris Heagney
If you’re pining for a cocktail, there are a number of options in our fair city. From Sovereign Remedies to Little Jumbo, there are a number of cocktail bars at your disposal that specialize in whipping up excellent mixed drinks. Several local restaurants, such as Rhubarb and The Admiral, have also developed impressive cocktail programs where you can get your fix. A final, and perhaps less explored option, is to make one yourself. This strategy is a little more involved, as you’ll likely have to make a few stops: an ABC store for liquor, a grocery store for additional ingredients and then maybe a third store to purchase a shaker or any other specialized tools you might need.
Cultivated Cocktails, a local distillery, aims to offer a different experience than your traditional bar or store. “We provide a grain-to-garnish experience,” says Leah Howard. While enjoying the store’s free tastings, you can learn about how each spirit is made and how to craft cocktails with them. “Our knowledgeable staff will walk you through the process and the ingredients that you need to curate those cocktails in your own home,” says Howard. “We carry many of the products that you would need to mix, shake, present and garnish. We also have other local products, so there are options for all tastes. You can stop in and grab a bottle, all your mixers and even your wine and beer.”
Cultivated Cocktails, formally known as H&H, is a family owned and operated distillery founded in 2012 by Asheville natives Taylor and Wendell Howard. For the Howards, consistency and quality were key, so they debuted their company with a rum after finding Caribbean molasses to be a reliable ingredient. After that, they landed on a gin after two years of recipe development. “The botanicals are citrus and floral,” says Howard, “and the flavor profile is simply irresistible.” Lastly, their Asheville Coffee Liqueur has proven to be a stand-out product and a fan favorite across the state. Although it seems like a modern beverage, it is a recipe handed down directly from Taylor’s grandmother.
If you’d like to try the company’s spirits or meet the folks behind the still, you can visit the taproom on Page Avenue in downtown Asheville. “It’s great to share our knowledge and love of our craft,” says Howard. “If you are looking to learn more about quality spirits and how to use them, Cultivated Cocktails is absolutely your place.”
Cultivated Cocktails is located at 29 Page Avenue in Asheville. Christopher Heagney is the owner of Daidala Ciders, located in Asheville at The Cotton Mill Studios on 122 Riverside Drive.