Snake down the knobby Appalachian hills of the Blue Ridge Parkway into the city of Asheville, detour toward the historic Biltmore Village, and you might just find yourself at the warehouse-like distillery of Eda Rhyne. Inside you’ll see a giant mural from local artist Hannah Dansie depicting the distillery’s namesake: a woman from an old ghost story that takes place in neighboring Haywood County. Rest your bones on a vintage bubblegum pink sofa and toss back a $6 cocktail fueled by earthy amari. If you experience the drink the way Eda Rhyne hopes you will, a few sips could send you right back to the fragrant forests and fields of wildflowers in those loamy hills above, whose blue-tinged silhouettes now curve across the horizon.
Asheville is a forward-thinking mountain town in western North Carolina that thrives on both defying Appalachian stereotypes and holding them up to a mirror. At Eda Rhyne that means confronting Appalachia’s notorious history of illicit distilleries, which pump out high-proof moonshine for humble but proud mountain folk. What’s far less known, yet no less significant, is that some of that same liquor was traditionally syphoned off for a local medicine maker. Each hollow would have one, and they’d build up a rainbow of medicinal spirits by macerating local flora in alcohol to extract its remedial properties… (continue reading at Bon Appétit)