What’s new in food: Sipping and savoring with award-winning mixologist Danny Childs

SLOW BURN: Danny Childs, author of 2024 James Beard Award-winning book Slow Drinks, will be in Asheville Saturday, June 29-Tuesday, July 2, for a whirlwind of events. Photo by Katie Childs

When Danny Childs heard the June 8 announcement that his book, Slow Drinks: A Field Guide to Foraging and Fermenting Seasonal Sodas, Botanical Cocktails, Homemade Wines, and More, had won a 2024 James Beard Foundation Media Award in the Beverage with Recipes category, the words seemed  to come out of the presenter’s mouth in slow motion. “I kissed my wife, Katie, and we went to the stage together,” he told Xpress two days after the ceremony was held in Chicago. “It’s her award too. She photographed the whole book; she was the sounding board for every decision.”

In a jam-packed long weekend of events, Saturday, June 29-Tuesday, July 2, Western North Carolina residents will have multiple opportunities to congratulate the author in person, taste cocktails from his book, go foraging and experience the intersection of slow drinks and the Slow Food movement at a five-course Slow Drinks Foraged Dinner at Gemelli restaurant.

Childs is from New Jersey but is a regular visitor to Asheville — he and Katie even got engaged on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 420. His uncle, Craig Childs, an Asheville resident and regular customer at Gemelli and Strada Italiano, informed their owner, chef Anthony Cerrato, that the Slow Drinks book tour would pass through the area.

“We came up with the idea of a foraged dinner as a way to unify the slow drinks and slow food ethos,” Cerrato explains, noting that the Slow Food movement, which promotes local food and traditional cooking, originated in Italy.

“Slow” describes the path from his book’s conception to its publication, recalls Childs, who during college trained as a field anthropologist and ethnobotanist in locales including the Peruvian Amazon, Patagonia and Chile. Back in the States, he and Katie settled onto a farm in New Jersey, which led circuitously to a job in 2014 at The Farm and Fisherman Tavern in Cherry Hill, N.J., where he mined his experience in the wild to build a beverage program reliant on foraged and farmed ingredients.

Childs began pitching the idea for a book in 2017 and finally signed a contract with Hardie Grant North America in fall 2021; Slow Drinks was published in 2023. Arranged by season, the book includes recipes, tips, instructions on fermenting and a guide to foraging.

Childs’ Asheville events kick off Saturday, June 29, 6-9 p.m., with Amaro Adventure at Wrong Way Lodge & Cabins, a foraging trek along the French Broad River that will end with participants crafting their own amaro by campfire with snacks from New Stock Pantry. Tickets are $65. Wrong Way Lodge & Cabins is at 9 Midnight Drive. For tickets and details, visit avl.mx/dso.

On Sunday, June 30, 6-9 p.m. at Gemelli, Cerrato plus Gemelli chefs Gabe Ceratto and Vladimir Martino and Strada’s Luke Lavenski will collaborate for a five-course dinner paired with Slow Drinks beverages. Tickets are $175 per person. Gemelli is at 70 Westgate Parkway. For tickets and details, visit avl.mx/dsp.

On Monday July 1, Childs will take over the MG Mini mezzanine bar at the new Chai Pani location to prepare Slow Drinks specials. Chai Pani is at 32 Banks Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/dsq.

Finally, from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, Eda Rhyne Distilling Co. co-owner Chris Bower will host a cocktail lab with Childs at Eda Rhyne’s Biltmore Village facility. Tickets are $40 per person and include one spirit flight. Eda Rhyne Distilling Co. is at 101 Fairview Road. For tickets and details, visit avl.mx/dsm.

For more information on Slow Drinks, visit avl.mx/dsn.

Eda Rhyne releases new aperitivo

Asheville-based Eda Rhyne Distilling Co. has added Bitter Tooth, a woodland aperitivo, to its succinct and select repertoire of small-batch spirits. A combination of fresh citrus and forest plants including yarrow, chicory, angelica and spice bush, Eda Rhyne’s take on the classic Italian red bitter is the brainchild of co-owners Chris Bower and Rett Murphy.

They developed it over the course of more than six years with the help of lead distiller Rider Burton, says Eda Rhyne marketing and media manager Savannah Gibson. “It can be used in place of Campari in any cocktail. A few of our favorites are the Negroni paired with our Pinnix gin, the Garibaldi and the Spritz, a classic summer cocktail.”

Upon founding in 2017, Eda Rhyne staked an early claim within the growing popularity of bitter liqueurs, particularly among distillers of fernet — a traditional Italian amaro — who were mostly in cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, Maine. Eda Rhyne  claimed its place in that world with the 2018 introduction of its Appalachian Fernet and continued to mine Appalachian heritage, folk knowledge and regional medicinals to produce other spirits, including Amaro Flora herbal liqueur, Rustic Nocino black walnut liqueur and Amaro Oscura liqueur.

Bitter Tooth is available in cocktails or by the bottle at the Eda Rhyne’s Biltmore Village tasting room at 101 Fairview Road and Eda’s Hide-A-Way in Weaverville, 1098 New Stock Road.

For more on Eda Rhyne, visit avl.mx/ds0.

Burial Beer opens new rooftop bar at Eulogy

In an area known as Land of the Sky, there can never be enough rooftop bars. Earlier this month, just in time for summer’s blue skies and fiery sunsets, Burial Beer opened VISUALS  Wine & Cocktail Bar atop its Eulogy music hall on the South Slope.

Founded in 2013 by friends Tim Gormley and Jess and Doug Reiser, Burial’s original brewery and taproom on Collier Avenue has gradually grown its downtown compound with a bottle shop, Eulogy, Asheigh Shanti’s Good Hot Fish restaurant and now VISUALS. The home of Burial’s production brewery and VISUALS winery operations, Forestry Camp, opened in 2019 on the grounds of a former Civilian Conservation Corps property near Biltmore Village.

The partially covered and canopied roof at the new VISUALS location has a bar, tables and a lounge seating area. Along with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the bar serves VISUALS natural wines, ciders, aperitifs, wine flights and cocktails crafted with VISUALS products, plus a small food menu of cheese, cured meats, tinned fish and sweets.

VISUALS Wine & Cocktail Bar is at 10 Buxton Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/ds2.

10th Muse Too launches in East Asheville

After a runaway vehicle drove into his West Asheville drive-thru ice cream shop, 10th Muse Comfort Food, it took tasty-treat entrepreneur Christian Watts six months to reopen the business on May 10.

After that relaunch, it took him less than a month to open a second location — 10th Muse Too — on Tunnel Road in East Asheville. The new shop occupies the former Jack the Dipper storefront at the Asheville Market shopping center anchored by Whole Foods, with indoor seating space for 30.

Having launched the West Asheville 10th Muse in 2020 during COVID-19, then having it demolished by a car three years later, “Opening a second place in a week was a piece of cake compared with those,” Watts says.

Cake is not on the menu at 10th Too, and neither is the soft serve ice cream or deep-fried treats for which Watts is famous. “We have 32 flavors of Hershey’s hard-scoop [three are vegan] and will be making the waffle cones people loved at Jack the Dipper. We’ll have sundaes, milkshakes and coffee drinks,” he says.

10th Muse Too is open noon-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and noon-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 4 S. Tunnel Road, Suite 500. Find the business on Instagram at avl.mx/dsd.

Food, drink fundraisers for Bountiful Cities

Botiwalla restaurant and Urban Orchard Cider Co. are making the month that kicks off summer better with two ways to give back to community. Through the end of June, order the bhel puri snack at Botiwalla or the Sunglasses at Night strawberry basil cider at Urban Orchard, and $1 of the purchase will go to support local nonprofit Bountiful Cities’ urban gardening and longterm food-security programs.

Botiwalla is at 697 Haywood Road. Urban Orchard is at 24 Buxton Ave.

New summer gelato flavor at Sugar & Snow

Sugar & Snow Gelato has added a summer flavor to its gelato case. Strawberry Sweet Tart is a pretty-in-pink blend of sweet local strawberries with a splash of tart buttermilk.

In addition to that creamy Italian treat, Sugar & Snow scoops house-made nondairy sorbets and serves sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, smoothies and coffee drinks at its café along the Wilma Dykeman Greenway in the River Arts District.

Sugar & Snow is inside Second Gear at 99 Riverside Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/ds4.

Pasta-making class at Bargello

Get your hands on the dough at Bargello’s immersive pasta-making class on Wednesday, June 26, 2-4 p.m. Led by the restaurant’s chefs, the workshop will allow participants to observe and learn the art of creating various pasta shapes such as ravioli, agnolotti and tortellini, plus pick up expert tips and techniques. After mastering the art of flavoring and coloring dough and stuffing and shaping the pasta, it’s time for participants to mangia what they’ve made. Cost is $85 per person.

Bargello is at 7 Patton Ave. To register, visit avl.mx/ds3


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About Kay West
Kay West began her writing career in NYC, then was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, including contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. In 2019 she moved to Asheville and continued writing (minus Red Carpet coverage) with a focus on food, farming and hospitality. She is a die-hard NY Yankees fan.

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