Since 2009 the Asheville Wine &Food Festival has been introducing us to new chefs and flavors from Western North Carolina.  This year it’s back, bigger and better than ever.


James, Sarah and I were fortunate enough to secure tickets to Cocktail Theater, the first event of Asheville Cocktail Week and Molecular Mixologist Rob Floyd’s traveling cocktail show.  So yesterday we walked from the Carolina Bed & Breakfast over to the S&W Building in downtown Asheville to find out what it was all about.  The wonderful Art Deco Building was filled with members of Asheville’s bartending and hospitality trade along with cocktail lovers of all types, each of us eager to see what was in store.


After enjoying a welcoming Vodka Gimlet Cocktail we entered the room where the show was to take place. 


A new cocktail, a mango spiced rum punch, waited for us on our tables and a lovely spread of small bites was on offer at a buffet table in the corner.


And then the show began.


Rob Floyd has designed cocktails for numerous awards shows, including the Oscars, and worked with major chefs.  Tonight he was designing for Asheville. His show was a mix of kitchy cameos from a supporting staff of Playboy bunnies, gorilla and Elvis impersonators interspersed with stories and commentary about the drinks created for our pleasure.

As mentioned, the first drink featured Mango Spiced Rum and was call “Pirates and You”.  A lively story about Edward Teach (AKA Blackbeard) educated and entertained the audience as they sipped the smooth mango punch. Audience participation games filled the interval between drinks .


“Oh For the Love of Gin!” with pink gin and grape ver juice was a refreshing play on a gin sour, and the accompanying tale of prohibition and bootleggers an amusing blend of fact and fiction.


And so it went through the evening:  “Moscow Bull” was paired with stories of Chicago, The Red Scare of the 50’s and the first polaroid cameras; The King of Cocktails featured the previously mentioned Elvis impersonator as well as a stream of liquid nitrogen poured from the balcony above us to the stage below; and the finale was a Rhubarb Infused OId Fashioned along with a touchingly personal story of Rob’s family and childhood.


Cocktail Theater is just the first of a series of events in  Asheville Cocktail Week, taking place this week at numerous locations around town.  From book signings to cocktail tours, and from brunch to dinner there is something to interest almost anyone.  And if last night’s entertainment is an indication of the quality of the events you will have something to talk about for weeks to come!


For more pictures see our Photo Gallery 


2016 by Susan Murray of Carolina B&B