Erin Adams’ Haute Cocktail Photography

Jan 28, 2019
Photographer Spotlight

Asheville-based photographer Erin Adams is the photo editor and sole photographer at Edible Asheville Magazine and has shot in some of the city's trendiest watering holes. Given Asheville's booming brewery and distillery scene — it ranks third among US cities in breweries per capita — Erin has become something of an expert in artisanal cocktail photography. She describes her process, and shares a few of her favorite images, below.

cocktail at the Nightbell in Asheville photographed by Erin Adams

The Nightbell

Glass can be tricky to photograph, so having an understanding of light and how reflections can be enhanced or reduced is a crucial part of the process. . . . A lot of my work is on location. I like to use available light and enhance with strobe when needed, so having the right things with me to be able to light in varying situations is key.

hot toddy at the Bull and Beggar in Asheville photographed by Erin Adams

The Bull and Beggar

There are many stylistic details to consider for each cocktail. Should the glass be sweating to give a sense of its being chilled? Should it be smoking to enhance the aroma of the rosemary, like the drink at The Nightbell, or steaming, like the hot toddy at The Bull and Beggar, to warm the viewer up? Capturing the essense of a cocktail can be challenging and rewarding when the final image portrays the experience of imbibing the actual drink.

cocktails at the Old Forge Distillery in Asheville photographed by Erin Adams

Old Forge Distillery

The shoots are always a collaboration of talents: bartenders making their recipe look the best that it can, stylists making details of each ingredient shine and embellishing or simplifying the environment to create a beautiful image. 

cocktails at the Chemist in Asheville photographed by Erin Adams

The Chemist

Local distilleries, like The Chemist, are featured on cocktail menus around town. Both distilleries and breweries support local farms and source seasonal ingredients as close to home as possible — something the Asheville food-and-beverage community is committed to. This creates interesting flavor profiles and exhibits the unique personalities of distillers, brewers, and mixologists, which I attempt to hightlight when photographing craft beverages.

cocktail at the Old Forge Distillery in Asheville photographed by Erin Adams

Old Forge Distillery

Taste is such a powerful sense. A cocktail can take you back to a time or place you've been before, or it can make you want to venture to new ones. Food and beverage photography is my tool to help folks get closer to where they want to be.

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