A few spots around town go above and be­yond a stan­dard cock­tail menu, cre­at­ing thought­ful, imag­i­na­tive, well-crafted drinks, of­ten uti­liz­ing lo­cally dis­tilled spir­its.

Pasatiempo - - RESTAURANT REVIEW - Travel + Leisure

113 Wash­ing­ton Ave., 505-988-3236 www.rose­wood­ho­tels.com/en/inn-of-the-anasazi-santa-fe din­ing/Anasazi-Bar-and-Lounge 309 W. San Fran­cisco St.5, 05-995-4530 www.el­do­rado­ho­tel.com/din­ing-nightlife­cava-santa-fe-lounge 132 W Wa­ter St., 505-983-1615 www.coy­ote­cafe.com

you go out for cock­tails in the first place,” my drink­ing com­pan­ion said, smoothly piv­ot­ing his glass from the bar to his lips. The weather out­side wasn’t ex­actly fright­ful, but the wind was gust­ing and the roads and side­walks were patched with ice, so we had stepped in out of the cold into the warm, golden-lit in­te­rior of Geron­imo and se­cured two cov­eted seats at the tiny bar.

The drink in ques­tion was the Green Lo­tus, which com­bines cu­cum­ber, soju, and yuzu in an in­trigu­ing, as­tutely bal­anced cock­tail — tart, sweet, and veg­e­tal. With its salted rim, it could’ve been mis­taken for the Norteño mar­garita, which aug­ments the clas­sic swee­tand-sour elixir with the dis­tinct fla­vor and mild heat of Romero Farms’ Al­calde Im­proved green chile, with which silver te­quila had been in­fused.

As a top va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion, Santa Fe of­fers per­haps more than its fair share of wa­ter­ing holes where tourists and lo­cals can un­wind with their bev­er­age of choice. In the wake of the re­cent “cock­tail re­nais­sance,” these days you’ll find at least a short list of clas­sic cock­tails, spe­cialty drinks, or sig­na­ture mar­gar­i­tas at almost any ho­tel or restau­rant bar — the Staab House at La Posada, Low ’n Slow at the Ho­tel Chi­mayó, La Fi­esta Lounge at La Fonda, Rio Chama, Pranzo, and even the Dragon Room at the Pink Adobe. A few spots around town, though, go above and be­yond, cre­at­ing thought­ful, imag­i­na­tive, well-crafted drinks, of­ten uti­liz­ing lo­cally dis­tilled spir­its.

At Se­creto Lounge at the Ho­tel St. Fran­cis, mixol­o­gist Chris Mil­li­gan spear­headed the lo­cal cock­tail resur­gence. If you step in the doors of the ho­tel on a night when the bar is busy, you’ll de­tect the dis­tinc­tive aroma of their sig­na­ture drink, the Smoked Sage Mar­garita. The hot but­tered rum, made with Mil­li­gan’s spe­cial “bat­ter,” is par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar this time of year. At De­railed at the Sage Inn, cock­tail-world vet­eran and “gar­den-to-glass” in­no­va­tor Natalie Bo­vis (also known as the Liq­uid Muse) col­lab­o­rated on a cre­ative list of cock­tails, uti­liz­ing such lo­cal spir­its as Ex­pe­di­tion Vodka and Wheeler’s Gin from Santa Fe Spir­its. And at Coy­ote Café, Quinn Stephen­son and his team of­fer an in­trigu­ing list, in­clud­ing the Sa­mu­rai — flam­ing cin­na­mon “ex­tin­guished” with Man­darin vodka and blood-orange juice — and an­other it­er­a­tion of the green-chile-in­fused Norteño mar­garita.

At Sazón, Fer­nando Olea has as­sem­bled an eye­pop­ping list of mez­cals — in­clud­ing sev­eral from Del Maguey, founded by Taos res­i­dent Ron Cooper, who is widely lauded for sup­port­ing Mex­i­can pro­duc­ers and bring­ing their cel­e­brated spirit to the global mar­ket. Sazón even in­cor­po­rates mez­cal into their house mar­garita (the Sa­zon­rita), af­ford­ing those less fa­mil­iar a chance to ac­quaint them­selves with its dis­tinc­tively smoky fla­vor.

New Mex­ico is cur­rently home to at least seven dis­til­leries, and Santa Fe Spir­its is the leader among them. At their two tast­ing rooms — one down­town, one on the South­side — you can sam­ple their prod­ucts straight or in an ar­ray of cock­tails. Es­pe­cially wor­thy of note are the Colkegan whiskey, made with mesquite-smoked malt; the easy­go­ing Ex­pe­di­tion vodka; the lovely ap­ple brandy; and the unique Atapiño liqueur, which

sin­gled out as the best lo­cally made gift in New Mex­ico for this hol­i­day sea­son.

Out­side of tast­ing rooms, lo­cal spir­its are some­what un­evenly rep­re­sented on menus around town. Sazón’s list cur­rently in­cludes the Cidra del Sud, which blends Rojo Piñon Rum from Al­bu­querque’s Left Turn Dis­till­ing with ap­ple cider, gin­ger liqueur, and lemon. The Inn of the Anasazi uses lo­cal spir­its to ex­cel­lent, note­wor­thy ef­fect in two spins on clas­sic cock­tails: the Anasazi Man­hat­tan, given a smoky lift from Colkegan, and the Santa Fe 66, a nod to the French 75 that in­cor­po­rates Santa Fe Spir­its’ ap­ple brandy as well as Gruet sparkling wine.

In the dark, cozy Liv­ing Room at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, the Sloe Sage Fizz is made with Wheeler’s Gin, though on the night we stopped in, it had been eighty-sixed due to lack of in­gre­di­ents. KGB Spir­its’ Taos Light­ning and Tur­ley Mill ryes as well as Santa Fe Spir­its’ Silver Coy­ote and Colkegan whiskeys make ap­pear­ances at brown-liquor-cen­tric Radish & Rye, although the bour­bon-based house cock­tails are made us­ing Buf­falo Trace from Ken­tucky. The Cava bar at the Ho­tel Eldorado serves the Blood & Sand cock­tail — made with Colkegan, blood-orange juice, cherry liqueur, and ver­mouth — but the spa­cious, well-out­fit­ted Agave Lounge doesn’t in­clude a sin­gle lo­cal spirit in their list of sig­na­ture drinks (we sam­pled the Christ­mas mar­garita, which, while cheer­fully col­or­ful and sea­son­ally ap­pro­pri­ate, was cloy­ing and needed more lime for bal­ance).

The hol­i­days are a time when we un­wind and cel­e­brate a lit­tle more than usual. But let’s make merry in­tel­li­gently: Walk, choose a des­ig­nated driver, call a cab, or hire an Über. From 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fri­days and Satur­days, Cap­i­tal City Cab of­fers $5 rides from bars or par­ties to res­i­dences within the city lim­its (the fare for three or more pas­sen­gers is $10). Über sug­gests that you check their app for ideal travel times, since fares and de­mand may be higher be­tween mid­night and 3 a.m. Mean­while, take a cup of kind­ness and say cheers to a new year!

10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily 5-10 p.m. Wed­nes­days-Satur­days, closed Sun­days-Tues­days 5:30 p.m.-clos­ing nightly

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