If you read this column, it’s safe to assume you enjoy making and sipping cocktails, in which case, you probably want to know about New Mexico Cocktails & Culture (June 3-6), an event I launched last year to support our local cocktail and culinary communities, with mixology seminars taught by global spirits experts and fun parties celebrating all things food and drink.
This year, you can also catch Santa Fe Cocktail Week as a lead-in to the four-day festival. Nearly 30 bars and restaurants registered as official participants and are eligible for the Liquid Muse Bar Awards. You choose the winners by visiting their venues and tasting their featured cocktails, then voting for your favorites online before June 5 at NMCocktailCulture.com. The winners of each category will be announced at the awards party on Monday, June 6, from 5:30-8 pm at La Fonda Hotel (100 E San Francisco St., 982-5511). You can also enter the Instagram cocktail photo contest by following @SimplySantaFe and @NMcocktails; use the same hashtags to win two tickets to the awards party and a $50 restaurant gift certificate. Awards tickets are $20 and include food and drink samples as well as a performance from the Sean Healen Band.
The festival supports New Mexico businesses by opening with the free Cowboy Boots & Cocktails welcome party on Friday, June 3, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Inn at Loretto (211 Old Santa Fe Trail, 988-5531). Taste spirits, hard cider and other treats all made right here in New Mexico, and don't forget to dig out your best boots for the cameras.
The Celebrity Chef & Shaker Challenge is set to feature eight of Santa Fe's most revered chefs pairing food with cocktails on Saturday, June 4, 6-9 pm at the Scottish Rite Temple (463 Paseo de Peralta, 982-4414). Attendees can vote for their favorite pairing, and the winning chef receives a $500 donation to a local charity. Additionally, a stunning painting by famed saloon artist Jill DeGroff (wife of James Beard Award-winning drinks master Dale DeGroff) will be auctioned by renowned modern mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim; 100 percent of those proceeds go to his charity supporting bartenders battling breast cancer, plus a portion of your $55 event ticket goes to Cooking with Kids, a local nonprofit that teaches kids how to prepare healthy food.
Keeping balance between work and self-care is challenging for everyone. So the national Mind Body Spirit hospitality wellness program returns on Monday, June 6, 10:30-11:45 am at Hotel St. Francis (210 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-5700). The interactive workshop includes a free yoga mat, fruit smoothies, 30 minutes of gentle movement and presentations on inner health. It's free for anyone with a New Mexico servers license, $15 to the public. Space is limited, so it's a good plan to RSVP.
Free printed festival programs are available at participating hotels, restaurants and bars and include the Santa Fe Cocktail Week Official Participants map, info about the celebrity chefs in the Shaker Challenge and the schedule of seminars and parties.
Editor's note: This is the final installment of "Kiss My Glass." Fare thee well, Muse.