Finding the perfect holiday spirit is easy with these local distilleries. Photograph by Douglas Merriam.
COLIN KEEGAN STARTED Santa Fe Spirits in 2010 to turn his apple crop into a smooth and hearty brandy. He now offers several distinctive spirits, including two of my favorites for cooking (when not sipping): the Apple Brandy and Atapiño, a luscious piñon liqueur. Whiskey fans will love the mesquite-smoked Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey, with a hint of woodsmoke in the finish.
In an Albuquerque warehouse district, Brian Lang-well of Left Turn Distilling brews up a quartet of extremely drinkable elixirs, including my favorite, the Rojo Piñon Rum, which boasts a hint of piloncillo alongside a molasses twist. This winter, watch for the launch of a new green chile vodka. (Think Bloody Marys for New Year’s Day hangovers.)
In Las Cruces, father-and-son distillers Stefan and Chris Schaefer have built a loyal following with trios of both spirits and immature brandies at Dry Point Distillers. Their Monsoon Gin, cleverly adorned with a jackrabbit logo, offers a touch of coriander and rosemary. An extremely dry Monsoon martini should keep the rosiness in Santa’s cheeks!