There’s an art to being a good bartender. Not just anybody can pick up some ice, put it together with some booze, a little mixer and call it good. How many times have you been in a bar and ordered a drink, only to get something like Satan cooled-down, with a short and curly garnish? Maybe I’m going to the wrong bars.

I had only been in town a month as culture editor, and the SFR staff took me out to make sure the new guy had a good time. And a good time was had. Perhaps, I had too good of a time. So much of a good time, in fact, that all of the next day had to pay for that good time with a bad time. Why is it that the bad time is disproportionate to the good time? Science may never know the answer to this question.

Santa Fe is an art town, and it brings that same verve to the spirited arts as it does to the visual. There's a certain je ne sais quoi to the way we approach cocktails, beer and coffee in this municipality, from the small winery to the independent coffee roaster. There's a little bit of love (or hate, depending on what drink you get, but as Levar Burton of Reading Rainbow says, "You don't have to take my word for it") in everything that we drink that's local. It goes way beyond the ubiquitous margarita, but our regular drinks columnist Natalie Bovis took on those. There's so much that we didn't cover, but that's part of the fun. It'd be impossible to track down every good gin joint in this burg, every last unknown cocktail. That part is left up to you, dear reader. We're confident that your perfect drink is out there, somewhere, in the neon-colored night or in some unknown desert redoubt. We've drawn the outlines of the map, using a little bit of cocktail cartography. Fill the rest in yourself.

The research was painstaking and may have been dangerous at times, but we're sure that you'll enjoy the fruits of our labors. We certainly did.

-Ben Kendall