Episode Guide for the Santa Fe episode of “Drinking Made Easy” • Recipes • Locations • Fun Facts •
At more than 7,000 feet above sea level, located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico is the highest state capital in the United States. Founded in 1607 by the Spanish, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Santa Fe is also the oldest state capital in the US. With its rich history of Spanish and Mexican influence, it’s also become a premier place for locally made booze. Statewide there are nearly two dozen breweries, almost 40 wineries, and spirits infused with indigenous foods like blue corn and chile. With close to 5,200 bars and restaurants, finding a place to drink, in “The Land of Enchantment,” has never been easier.
Santa Fe Brewing Company is New Mexico’s Oldest Microbrewery, distributing only 100% naturally conditioned beers. Opening its doors in 1988, they brew all of their beers on premise in Santa Fe including year-round favorites such as Santa Fe Pale Ale and Santa Fe Hefeweizen. One of their most notable brews is the high potency Chicken Killer Barley Wine, which is brewed with twice the ingredients of their other beers, with only half the usual amount of liquid extracted from these ingredients. At over 10% alcohol, the Chicken Killer label features a bandito dachshund, a cartoon likeness of a dog. The dog, Petey, went on a chicken killing spree when Santa Fe Brewing was still operating in the village of Galisteo. When he was done 22 chickens were dead and the brewery had the name for its new barley wine.
Santa Fe Brewing Co. | 35 Fire Place, Santa Fe, NM 87508 | (505) 424-3333
The largest brewery in New Mexico is the Rio Grande & Sierra Blanca Brewing Company. Brewmaster Rich Weber, who has a background in electrical engineering, uses his experience mechanical experience to create some unique beers like the Pancho Verde Chili Cerveza, which is brewed with roasted green chili’s and the Nut Brown Ale which is brewed with English Ale yeast and has flavors of coffee, nutmeg and chocolate. Established in 1997, Sierra Blanca merged with the Rio Grande Brewing Company in 2007 and has established itself as a worth competitor in the designer beer market. Today, they carry eight different brews under both names, including the top selling New Mexican beer, the Alien Amber Ale.
Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. | 1016 Industrial Ave E, Moriarty, NM 87035 | (505) 257-2337
New Mexico is actually home to quite a few microbreweries including Albuquerque breweriesChama River Brewing Co, which has won several awards at the Great American Beer Festival,Marble Brewery and Il Vicino Brewery. Just outside of Albuquerque is Turtle Mountain Brewing Company in Rio Rancho and if you head further south, you’ll find High Desert Brewing Company in Las Cruces.
Established in 2001, the Don Quixote Distillery & Winery specializes in premium spirits made from New Mexican agricultural products and port- and table-style wines. They make the world’s only Blue Corn Vodka and Gins made from local botanicals: including juniper, pinon, chamisa, sage, and rose hips. Husband and wife distilling team, Ron and Olha also produce high quality Brandy, Pisco and Grappa. The element that makes their products unique are their ingredients and distillation process. Because their facilities are located in the Jemez Mountains at 7,000 feet where alcohol boils at 180 F, their spirits cook off at a lower temperature, which can eliminate the “burnt” smell and taste found in most spirits. And their spirits are never colored, texturized or flavored.
Don Quixote Distillerty | 236 Rio Bravo, Los Alamos, NM 87544 | (505) 695-0817
Fall Out Shot
Combine 1 oz. of Gin,1/2 oz. Triple Sec, 1/2 oz. Grenadine
Slowly add a drop of Blue Curacao
Many people wonder how a higher altitude effects ones ability to process alcohol. The fact is that blood absorbs alcohol quickly, interfering with the absorption of oxygen by hemoglobin. This effect is magnified by high altitude. In other words, drinking alcohol at high altitudes reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain. It is estimated that one drink at high altitude will have the same effects on the body as three drinks taken at sea level. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, high altitude causes dehydration and dehydration dramatically increases when drinking alcohol in high altitudes.
MIX IT UP
Voted the city’s Best Happy Hour for several years, Q Bar is a sleek and sophisticated upscale hotspot. This multi-venue bar offers a piano lounge, media and billiards room, and an extensive wine list including local products like Gruet Vineyards and Casa Rondeña Winery.
At 4,300 feet Gruet Winery are some of the highest in the US. In 1984, Gilbert Gruet, who had been producing Champagne in Bethon, France since 1954 made the decision to plant some experimental vineyards, using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in the arid lands of New Mexico. The crop proved fruitful and today they have put New Mexicon on the map for wine, with their Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and several varieties of Sparkling Wine.
Another local winery is Casa Rodeña which produces handcrafted wines in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. Established in late 1995 by vintner John Calvin and his sons Ross and Clayton, this family run winery produces award winning wines like the Viogner, Spanish-style Clarion and the Meritage Red.
Q Bar Sparkling Wine Cocktail
Muddle sliced cucumber, a squeeze of lime and simple syrup
Add Pomegranate Liquer and Agave Nectar
Shake and strain, add Sparkling Wine and serve
Q Bar | 800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87104 (505) 222-8718
Another place that serves up local wines and unique drinks is Casa Vieja or “the old house,” which is one of the oldest buildings in Corrales, NM. Oral history dates the building to the early 1700s, near the time of the founding of Albuquerque. Over the years it has served as a stagecoach stop and been used as military headquarter for the Spanish. Today it has been a restaurant for nearly 30 years. The restaurant uses only fresh food from local sustainable farms and its menu consists of fresh and creative dishes. They infuse some of their spirits uniquely with their locally grown fruits and vegetables, like a sweet corn, lemongrass, onion, apple and spice and strawberry-taragon.
Garden in a Glass
Muddle ½ tomato, 3 pickled jalapenos, 5 cocktail onions
Add 1 ½ oz. sweet corn infused vodka, ½ oz of simple syrup and ice
Shake, strain and serve over ice with Basil garnish
Muddle 4 slices of cucumber and 1 ½ oz. of Lemon Juice
Add 1 ½ oz. Gin and1 egg white and ice
Shake, strain and serve over ice
Casa Vieja Restaurant | 4541 Corrales Rd, Corrales, NM 87048 | (505) 508-3244
Serving up over 160 “real” margarita’s ranging from $6 to $75 isMaria’s New Mexican Kitchen. “Real” refers to their commitment to only serving margaritas with real tequila (meaning that it has to be made in Mexico), real triple-sec (they use BOLS) and real freshly squeezed lemon juice. Most of their margaritas also incorporate Cointreau or Grand Marnier. The Maria’s tradition began in 1952 when Maria and Gilbert Lopez started a small take-out kitchen in the area that now houses the bar and kitchen. Laurie and Al Lucero took over ownership in 1985 and have continued the tradition of great food, drink, hospitality and ambience. Al is also the author of The Great Margarita Book (with a Foreword by Robert Redford).
Combine Tequila,Triple Sec, fresh lemon juice
Shake and serve over ice
Combine Paradiso Tequila, Grand Marnier 150, fresh lemon juice
Shake and serve over ice
Maria’s of Santa Fe | 555 West Cordova Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505 | (505) 983-7929
BIG AND SPICY
A local institution, the Horseman’s Haven Café has been a Sante Fe legend since debuting its high octane chile in 1981. A hole in the wall joint that serves up some of the best and hottest green chile in the state, they own their own hybrid green chile seed that is specially grown by 7 different farmers in the Hatch River Valley. Their fiery fare is the measuring stick of manhood, with chiles ranging from a level 1 to a level 4. Their level 5 chile is so hot, that it’s illegal to sell it.
Horseman’s Have Café | 4354 Cerrillos Rd. Santa Fe, NM, 87507 | (505) 471-5420
Some of New Mexico’s finest Southwestern cuisine can be found in the heart of Albuquerque at Celicia’s Café. Opened in 1999 by the restaurant’s namesake, Cecilia Baca, the café carries only authentic, traditional and “unanglosized” New Mexican cuisine. One of their popular items is the Fireman’s 10 lb Burrito, which consists of 10 eggs, 2 lbs of potatoes, ½ lb of bacon, ½ lb of sausage, ½ lb of chiccarones, 1 ½ lb of bean, ½ lb of red chile, ½ lb of green chile and ½ lb of cheese, takes three people to wrap it and as a part of the challenge, must be consumed in 90 minutes or less.
Cecilia’s Café | 230 6th Street SW Albuquerque, NM 87102 | (505) 243-7070
- Santa Fe means “Holy Faith” in Spanish.
- Another famous pup named Petey was the pit bull from “Our Gang.”
- 10 eggs contain approximately 900 calories and 70 grams of fat.
- Peppermint oil is said to help stomach aches caused by overeating.
- Chile peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC.
- The froth or foam created from sparkling wine bubbles are called the “mousse.”
- A typical cocktail onion is a pearl onion pickled in a brine with small amounts of turmeric and paprika.
- Los Alamos was founded as a secret planned community to provide housing for the employees of the Manhattan Project during World War II.
- Blue Corn is the sweetest of the four corns.
- Robert Redford lost his baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado because of his drunkenness.
- The traditional margarita glass is a variant of the classic champagne coupe.
- Grand Marnier is a blend of true cognacs and distilled essence of bitter orange that was created in 1880.
- The “heat” of a chile pepper is measured in Scoville units (SHU). The New Mexico variety of Anaheim Pepper (or green chiles) can reach 4,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, almost 10 times hotter then the average Anaheim Pepper.
- An empty beer keg weighs 29.7 lbs.