The weather outside is frightful…but know what makes a cozy fire even more delightful? One of winter's warming cocktails, perfect for a long day spent skiing—or, if you don't swing that way, a long day spent huddling under the covers, watching movies and stirring only to refill the woodstove.
Whatever your pleasure, Santa Fe has as many drink options suited to cold weather as to warm. Here, SFR offers a (by no means comprehensive) list of where to find liquid warmth on those frigid January nights.
Kakawa Chocolate House
Kakawa doesn’t serve alcohol, but anecdotal evidence from experienced drinkers puts its main drink offering—molasses-thick, delectable, often spicy doses of drinking chocolate—squarely in the knock-you-on-your-ass category.
You’ve heard the now familiar adage that a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away (and makes you skinny and French)? Well, Kakawa has its own take on health benefits. According to a handout available at the store, those include anandamide—“a lipoprotein chemical named the ‘bliss’ molecule”—caffeine, antioxidants and vitamins A through E. The chocolates themselves range from the delicately floral Marie Antoinette—chocolate, almond milk, orange blossom water and Mexican vanilla—to the fiery atole, which tastes like a chocolatey version of The Shed’s red chile. And if you must, you can always add your own Kahlúa.
Drink Me: Modern Mexican, $3.50 (3-oz size)
1050 E. Paseo de Peralta
Have A Beer
Marble Brewery Tap Room
Santa Fe, somewhat surprisingly, is beer heaven. In summer, there’s a running list of live music shows at The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company, where the patrons are always upbeat and, should you need to leave, the kegs are cheap. Second Street Brewery, another local favorite, doubles as a similarly great music venue and patio place.
But, in winter, Marble is the place to be. The Albuquerque-based microbrewery opened its first Santa Fe location on the Plaza in 2009 and, just recently, expanded into a back room that is everything a winter beer spot should be: warm (there's a gas fireplace), cozy (think leather armchairs) and fun (think packed with football fans on Sundays).
Stubborn masochists are welcome to suffer through the outside balcony overlooking the Plaza, too.
Drink Me: Double IPA or Oatmeal Stout, $4 (pint)
60 E. San Francisco St.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Jesse’s Lounge at Hotel Plaza Real
If you’re not yet privy to Santa Fe’s quiet cocktail revolution, it may be because your office isn’t located around the corner from Hotel Plaza Real. SFR’s, however, is—and we consider ourselves lucky to be in close quarters with some of the most inventive drink-mixing around. Jesse’s Lounge, the hotel’s modest bar, doesn’t have a cocktail menu; instead, mixologist Alex Velez encourages patrons to pick a type of alcohol and tell him what kinds of flavors they like.
If you’re not afraid of a little experimentation, you’ll learn there’s a much better margarita to be made with the socially conscious maguey mezcal, Velez’ homemade sour mix (19 types of citrus!) and organic orange cura%uFFFDao. Jesse’s also has all the old favorites, but with a pleasant twist.
Drink Me: hot toddy with spiced rum, $8
125 Washington Ave.
Dress It Up
La Fiesta Lounge at La Fonda
La Fonda, located at the heart of Santa Fe beginning in the 19th century, has probably been serving what John the bartender calls “the best margaritas in Santa Fe” since margaritas were born.
That said, the bar here is as versatile as it is traditional and, as long as you know how to ask for what you want, you’ll get it. Case in point: the newly christened “Streetfight in New York,” made with Irish whiskey, Frangelico, coffee, whipped cream and a floater of Kahlúa. It’s like bringing a girly drink to a knife fight.
Drink Me: Streetfight in New York, $7
100 E. San Francisco St.
*This article originally contained a section about cocktails at the Pink Adobe's infamous Dragon Room. After print deadlines, SFR learned that the Pink Adobe has closed for the time being.