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Craft beer is popular, so why not craft mixed drinks?

For those that aren’t regularly liquor drinkers, here’s a fascinating article in the Asheville Citizen-Times on that city’s growing craft mixed drink scene. A key point: better times mean that people buy better quality liquor:

[Asheville ABC] System head Mark Combs said sales, which were $23.7 million in 2012-13, are growing not because people are drinking more but because they are drinking better. The volume of liquor sold has been relatively flat, he said.

“My customers are buying up. … They’re not buying a $10 bottle of vodka, they’re buying a $20 bottle of vodka,” he said. “We sell about the same number of bottles.”

And there’s also an increase in bars offering pricey craft cocktails:

But local bartender Jasper Adams said the city’s cocktail scene is changing rapidly. About half a dozen bars have significant craft cocktail offerings, he said.

“There are … more bars that are specializing in harder-to-find and premium spirits. There’s still plenty of room to grow, but there’s a growing number of bartenders who know how to use them,” he said.

Adams works at The Imperial Life, above Table restaurant on College Street.

Bartenders there sit down weekly to discuss what ingredients are available and plan the bar’s cocktail offerings accordingly. Some syrups or other components may require several days of preparation before they are ready for use in a mixed drink.

“The challenge with doing something like this is to make sure we’re making a delicious, premium product but also make sure we’re not in some unobtainable price range,” Adams said.

Craft cocktails, he said, typically run $8 to $13 in Asheville. That might be more expensive than some customers are accustomed, but Adams said they keep coming back.

One Response to “Craft beer is popular, so why not craft mixed drinks?”

  • Jan
    29
    2014

    I can personally vouch for the quality of cocktails at The Imperial Life. My wife asked for a whiskey sour and with some persistent coaxing the bartender convinced her to allow him to use egg white in it. She is now a convert to having her sours mixed up in this Trad method.

    When he then asked what I wanted, I decided to challenge him with an order for a mint julep. Well. He chipped and crushed the ice off a block, used a massive amount of fresh mint, and magically made a Jefferson cup appear from behind the draft tap. But the true topper was his perfectly folding and knotting a linen napkin around the cup. Well played.

October 2014
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