Just in time for the chill of fall, The Bull and Beggar has opened its doors for the revival of Charlie Hodge’s Recession Proof Mixology, or RPM. He began the project at Chestnut before bringing the program of affordable cocktails and bar food to the River Arts District for the first time last Monday night.
“We had people who have never had craft cocktails at this level enjoying the atmosphere and sitting right next to some of the bartenders from the best cocktail bars in town,” Hodge says, describing the night. Chefs, servers and bartenders rubbed shoulders, raised glasses and sampled cocktails and bar bites.
Hodge is no stranger to the cocktail game, having helped open the prestigious http://www.clydecommon.com/Clyde Common in Portland, Ore. with cocktail god Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Arriving in Asheville and not finding a developed craft cocktail scene, Hodge set about to develop his own, taking the helm at Chestnut and launching Recession Proof Cocktails in December of 2012.
“Its about taking a night where The Bull and Beggar would normally be closed and nerding out about cocktails in a way that a lot of people can enjoy,” he explained. “It’s about forgotten cocktails, and all the elements of making and crafting a great drink and directly delivering it to people in a way that is comfortable for everyone.”
The debut of RPM was themed around gentian, the root of a flowering plant that has been used for centuries to make tonics and liqueurs. It is most familiar in libations such as Aperol or Fernet Branca. “There were so many cool things I learned about gentian just preparing for it,” added Hodge.
The menu for the night included a house-made tonic featuring gentian instead of quinine, as well as a Fernet Branca jello shot just for fun. The food menu is brief and too the point: clams casino and oysters sit next to burgers and fried chicken sandwiches.
RPM will take place every Monday night and will revolve around a rotating, themed menu of both classic and new cocktails. The concept for the next one will be “Made by Monks.” Hodge says, “It’s going to explore the history of monks and spirits. You have stuff that is still made by monks today and stuff that was brought out of the monastery and into the main public because monks were the people that kept up with all that knowledge; they were the healers.”
You can taste Hodge’s wares 5-10 p.m. Mondays at the The Bull and Beggar, Suite 7, 37 Payne’s Way, Asheville. Be sure and enter from the side door, as the front door will be locked, in keeping with RPM’s speakeasy style.