Need to stock up? Want to show off when friends come to town? Here's a short list of some of the most awesome beers, wines and spirits that you can pour with confidence.
Algodones Claro Clear Diamond Vodka
It's quintuple-distilled from corn and it's made, yes, in Algodones, between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. "It's like silk!" says Denisio, the beverage director at Rancho Viejo Village Market (55 Canada del Rancho, 474-2828). Also try Broken Trail Holy Ghost Vodka, made entirely with New Mexico-grown corn.
Santa Fe Spirits Wheeler's Western Dry Gin
Don't be weirded out when we tell you it's made with locally collected hop flowers, osha root and cactus blossoms as well as the traditional juniper. The result is unlike any gin you've had before but in a subtle, pleasant way. It really does taste like Santa Fe. Also try the Algodones Ginebra, which is also made with local botanicals, including piñon.
Single Malt Whiskey
Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan
It's not labeled Scotch because it's made in Santa Fe (not Scotland), but this single malt has a unique peat-smoked character, a complex flavor profile and a smooth finish. Colkegan is served at restaurants all over town, but you can also buy it straight from the distillery (7505 Mallard Way, 467-8892).
Broken Trail Horsethief Rum
This thoroughly delightful, mellow spiced rum is delish for drinking straight or mixing. Also try Broken Trail's de Pacana Rum that's steeped in shelled pecans. Sounds sweet and gross—tastes mellow and amazing. SFR loves it for hot buttered rum.
La Cumbre Elevated IPA, Bosque Brewing IPA and Santa Fe Brewing's Happy Camper IPA—and more
There are sooooo many killer local beers right now, but the vast majority are only available at the breweries. See what you like and take home a growler! But there are many good choices in cans and bottles. What's insanely popular (still) is IPA. La Cumbre's Elevated IPA is on restaurant menus all over—and it is the best-selling drink of any kind at Susan's Fine Wine and Spirits (1005 S St. Francis Drive, 984-1582).
Bosque's distinctive black cans of Riverwalker IPA and Santa Fe Brewing's iconic Zia-emblazoned cans are also chilling in fridges all over the capital. Also check out Il Vicino's Canteen IPA, which is the most popular IPA at Kaune's Neighborhood Market (511 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-2629). They are all crowd-pleasers. Beyond IPA, try Bosque's malty Scotia Scotch Ale, Marble Brewery's Belgian-inspired Double White, Tractor Brewing's Farmer's Tan Red Ale, Santa Fe Brewing's Freestyle Pilsner and La Cumbre's Malpais Stout.
Gruet Blanc de Noirs
If you have only one chance to impress visitors with a locally made wine, pour them some of this (or the similarly-priced Blanc de Blancs)—and tell them exactly how much you paid for it. You can't do better than this for $14 here (or in many other places, for that matter). But do try to expand beyond that old favorite by tasting around the portfolio at the Gruet Tasting Room (210 Don Gaspar Ave., 989-9463). The Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Red Blend are all worth taking home. If you're at the farmers market, try an Aglianico or Syrah from Vivac (2075 Hwy. 68, Dixon, 579-4441). In wine shops look for a bottle of Milagro Corrales Red Blend or St. Clair DH Lescombes Petit Verdot.