Above: GlenWillis American single-malt whiskey makes a fine old-fashioned. Photograph courtesy of Glencoe Distillery.
I had no idea what to order, so Sherry Barrow, co-owner of Glencoe Distillery, enthusiastically suggested a peach flip. Minutes later, it arrived in a martini glass, a sprig of rosemary tucked into the egg-white foam. My first peach flip, made with their GinWillis Gin, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and rosemary-clove simple syrup, was the best peach flip.
Barrow and her husband, Glen, opened the distillery in Glencoe, northeast of Ruidoso, with their close friends Will and Rebecca Ponder in early 2018. “It was sort of like having our own kitchen open to the world,” Barrow says.
A seat at the bar offers a good perspective. In front, the bartenders are lighting drinks on fire, squeezing citrus, and shaking shakers. Just past them is the distillery, where Ponder crafts spirits in shiny oversize machinery. Swiveling around gives a view to the tasting room, filled with locals, and the beautiful woodwork of Glen Barrows, who also owns the business next door, Woodswan. One of the Ponders’ other enterprises is Ruidoso’s Sacred Grounds Coffee, which provides the signature ingredients in Glencoe’s coffee liqueurs. Their other spirits include gin, American single-malt whiskey, agave spirits, and an orange liqueur called Oranjito. The Hondo Valley’s orchards and farms provide the bounty of fruit that goes into each of the unique cocktails, Barrow says, which are also adorned with organic herbs, cut from her garden out back.
Their drinks and their service are absolutely worth the stop. Not only that, but the team of owners offer a template for how local businesses can thrive when they lean into their communities, and on one another.