Sometimes it seems like Asheville’s all about the booze. We’re Beer City, USA, after all. But where to sip something special sans suds? Asheville has a large selection of drinkable treats that are alcohol-free.
Buchi Kombucha is a perfect example of how locally focused and healthy Asheville can be as a whole. The fermented-tea drink has numerous reported health benefits, but may be an acquired taste for some. That being said, Buchi’s kombucha is one of the best examples we’ve yet to try (if it’s around, be sure and try the Fire, brewed with cayenne and ginger). The freshest way to sample Buchi is on draft. It can be found on tap in many Asheville establishments, including Laughing Seed, Green Sage, Rosetta’s, Mamacita’s, Greenlife, Earth Fare and more. drinkbuchi.com.
Over Easy Café is known for an unpretentious breakfast made with excellent ingredients, and the juices and smoothies are no exception. We’re partial to The Morning After, a cocktail of carrot, orange, beet, lime and garlic spiked with jalapeño, guaranteed to fix the damage you did last night. Sound a bit out there? Go for the Raspberry Beret. With organic yogurt, fresh blueberries, raspberries and bananas blended with apple juice and honey, it’s a perfectly balanced way to start your day. 32 Broadway St. 236-3533 overeasyasheville.com.
If you think of crumpets when we say “tea-time,” we recommend that you head to Dobrá Tea on Lexington Avenue for a full-on tea experience. Owner Andrew Snavely travels the world to bring high-quality whole-leaf teas to Asheville, as well as traditional tea accoutrements that make this tea house more like a temple. Sip the fragrant Lapsang Souchong, a Chinese black tea smoked over pine branches, for something truly unique. 78 N. Lexington Ave. 575-2424 dobratea.com.
For a decadent and sexy treat, head to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for one of the drinking chocolates. The hot liquid truffles are made with a ganache base in flavors like cayenne and cinnamon, Indian kulfi — or just deep, dark chocolate. Too steamy outside for a hot drink? Try the cold sipping chocolates, made with coconut milk and shaken with ice. The FBCL calls it pure, chilled decadence — and we’re inclined to agree. 10 S. Lexington Ave. 252-4181 frenchbroadchocolates.com.
Looking for an alcohol-free, calming buzz — that’s totally legal? Try the Vanuatu Kava Bar on Lexington Ave. Kava is said to relieve stress and anxiety, reduce muscle tightness and more. And if that doesn’t take the edge off, head to the tiki-torch lit patio and enjoy some light fare to the sounds of the live music frequently featured at this unique watering hole. 151 S. Lexington Ave. 505-8118 vanuatukavabar.com.
Are you a coffee purist? West Asheville’s Waking Life Espresso may be the place for you. When the coffee bar opened, the buzz about town was that owner Jared Rutledge had ruined many people for other espresso bars with his strictly controlled, expert pours and expansive knowledge of the bean. That hasn’t changed. What’s more, all of the flavored drinks are mixed with housemade syrups. Try Quetzalcoatl’s Tears, a mocha with cayenne, cinnamon, fresh ginger and sea salt. 976 Haywood Road 505-3240 wakinglifeespresso.com.