Nicole Anhalt Combines Classic Culinary Skill with Precision Cocktail Production

Classically trained as a pastry chef, Nicole Anhalt knew that the food and beverage industry was just the place she wanted to call home. Keen on increasing her knowledge base out of school in Charleston, South Carolina, she headed to Belgium to study chocolate.

From sourcing to production, she was completely taken with the meticulous art and vast realm of possibility for creativity. The careful calculations, emphasis on precision, and unique sense for subtleties in flavor profiles, the captivating craft just couldn’t satisfy Nicole’s greatest desire: To connect with the people she was working tirelessly for. She missed the front-of-house, human interaction.

After meeting with Nicole, there’s no question that her bubbly personality and genuine care for humanity belongs in arms reach of the consumer. Equipped with a solid culinary foundation and eager to find her fit in the industry, Anhalt moved from her hometown in South Carolina to the crunchy little mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina.

Nicole Anhalt and the Melondramatic Cocktail
The Asheville Era:
Doubly exciting for Anhalt was the opportunity to indulge her favorite pastime of rock climbing and the opportunity to work for the handcrafted cocktail lounge, Top of the Monk. To say the position was a perfect fit is almost an understatement. The emphasis on pre-prohibition era cocktails allowed her to put her precise ingredient manipulation bakery background to work all the while interacting with passionate, cocktail-loving clientele.

Inspired by her new art from, Nicole entered her favorite sidecar cocktail recipe in competition and ultimately had the opportunity to compete at the prestigious Tales of the Tail conference in New Orleans. The only small-town competitor in the bunch, she remembers being a bit star struck amongst some of the celebrities competing. Though her cocktail was beat out by another from Manhattan, she walked away with a reassured passion for the industry.

The Next Step:
If you’re looking for Nicole behind the bar at Top of the Monk you may be disappointed. She’s headed back toward her hometown with excitement for the passionate food scene that has developed in her absence. Thrilled to continue her journey in the food and drink industry, she’s certainly one to keep an eye out for. And if you just can’t wait to find out where she ends up, you can try this custom cocktail recipe that she crafted just for KaTom. Let me introduce you to the KaTom Sling.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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