“Cocktail Service” is author Tom Collins last story. He shared this story with me in draft form just before his death on August 29, 2023 at the age of 82. Tom, is my beloved father as friends of The Applewood Manor know well. His many books can be found in all our guest rooms and throughout the house including a compilation work “Stories From The Applewood Manor” which is only available at Applewood Manor and its alternate title “Exploring Asheville: Its History, Attractions, Mysteries, Ghosts, and Tall Tales.” My wife Robin and I are forever grateful for all the wonderful stories he researched and created for us and our guests about The Applewood Manor and Asheville. Godspeed Dad. Rest in peace.
—– Stephen R. Collins, Owner
Applewood Manor has always been known for serving impeccable wines. Owner Stephen Collins ensures that prestige by visiting vineyards and winemakers in France, Italy, and Spain as well as California and other domestic wine regions. and personally, selecting wines that make it to Applewood’s table. The same kind of attention goes into the Manor’s cocktail service. Nothing is ever typical at Applewood Manor. Every cocktail on the menu has been curated by Stephen ensuring that each is crafted according to its original recipe. Stephen’s objective is to give Applewood guests the opportunity to explore classic cocktails just as they were meant to be. For the recipes, he turned a family heirloom handed down from father to son—the wood-covered 1941 book by celebrated mixologist and bartender, W. C. Withfield.
As a mixologist, Whitfield studied the history of mixed drinks and cocktails. He learned the significance behind each ingredient in a drink and understood the impact of each mixing technique. His book, HERE’S HOW: MIXED DRINK, published by Three Mountaineers, Inc., a small quaint woodshop in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most authoritative reference sources for classic cocktails of the Gay Nineties.
In the Gay Nineties, the American bartender was considered an institution—his fame spread across the globe and, according to Whitfield, visitors to America “bowed before his skill in concocting tempting mixtures.” As he put it, “We may go to Europe for our chefs, but Europe comes to us for our bartenders.”
W. C. Whitfield, an author as well as a noted bartender, was born in 1879. His work as an author included two fully-illustrated books preserving the recipes of classic America’s mixed drinks & cocktails—Just Cocktails (published in 1939) and Here’s How: Mixed Drinks (1941).
While the Bar’s choice may change from time to time, here are a few of the select cocktails Applewood Manor will initially be serving:
- Classic gin or vodka martini
- Old Fashioned
- Bloody Mary (only on weekends at breakfast)
- And, of course, a Tom Collins!