Drink Outside the Box
going wild in Asheville
What do you get when you mix a mythic mycologist with a master mixologist? You get the first u-pick forage-to-bar experience in the country. In Asheville, it’s BYOB — Bring Your Own Booty — as courageous consumers try something wildly different: hunting and gathering their next cocktail. Raising the bar on Survivor+Iron Chef, celebrated chef Katie Button and famed forager Alan Muskat offer a new way to “take in the landscape.”
In 1995, Muskat founded the ecotour company, No Taste Like Home. For over twenty years, he’s been leading “hunger games” — ones in which contestants not only survive but thrive. With over 300 wild edibles, the Asheville area boasts over 60 imbibable ingredients, including two mushrooms and one insect. Most of these curious components have likely never been served in any restaurant, at least in the past century.
Enter Katie Button. In 2014, the four-time James Beard nominee followed her Curaté debut with Nightbell, showcasing hyperlocal ingredients. Raising the bar on forage-to-table, Muskat partnered with Nightbell in 2016, where mixologist Phoebe Esmon now regularly serves grass-to-glass. Chaga Black Russian, Honey Locust Margarita, Wild Carrot Daiquiri… it all depends on what patrons bring in. The experience has been featured in Food & Wine, Microshiner, Beautiful Booze, and MAXIM.
As always, Asheville is on the cutting edge of a worldwide trend. Recent books on dirt-to-drink include Forager’s Cocktails, Wild Cocktails, Wild Drinks, Wild Mixology, The Wildcrafted Cocktail, and Wild Cocktails (due in 2018). Still, Asheville offers the only guided DIYld experience in the country. Such extreme cuisine is no surprise in what may be the most progressive city in the South. But what makes Asheville an acclaimed destination has been true for millenia: it’s only natural.
So drink different. Ready to put your catch down the hatch? Come to Asheville and go wild. Here’s to mud in your eye!