North to south and east to west, the number of distilleries in New Mexico is growing. In the early months of quarantine, these distilleries answered the call when the state asked them switch production from spirits to hand sanitizer for their communities. As the holidays approach and you are looking to celebrate with friends and family, or you are looking to buy gifts for that special someone, consider supporting these businesses, not only because they are local and helped us when we were in need, but because these liquid artists are making quality products that are, above all, absolutely delicious.
Little Toad Creek is a popular Las Cruces downtown hangout with origins in Silver City. Owners Teresa Dahl-Bredine and David Crosley have found success with the relaxed atmosphere of their venues and persistent improvement and evolution of their products. Their Mixed-Up Mule line of canned cocktails is on the shelves at Whole Food Markets, and will no doubt be popular because of the all-natural, not-from-concentrate juices and delicious flavor combinations.
Locations: 119 N. Main St., Las Cruces, and 200 N. Bullard St., Silver City
Dry Point Distillers is the lone distillery that manufactures spirits in Las Cruces (Little Toad Creek’s are crafted in Silver City). Owner and head distiller Chris Schaefer has literally bottled the spirit of Las Cruces with his Pistol Pete’s Six-Shooter rye whiskey, the official whiskey of NMSU Athletics. Enjoy a view of the stills and service from the friendly staff, anchored by bar manager/mixologist Tammy Mendes, as you sip a cocktail in Dry Point’s tasting room.
Location: 1680 Calle de Alvarez, Las Cruces
Safe House Distilling Co. is a unique venue located in a former bank in the heart of downtown Albuquerque. The bank theme goes a long way in providing an interesting atmosphere for guests to enjoy, and the theme is even imprinted on the branding of the Safe House’s product line. Distiller Chris Leurig “opened the vault” in 2019, wanting to make quality spirits that are creative, innovative, and visually stimulating, and a product New Mexicans can be proud to enjoy every day. Their tasting room has an excellent staff that makes craft cocktails using a variety of flavors and techniques.
Location: 616 Gold Ave. SW, Albuquerque
Hollow Spirits has a modern, wide-open restaurant and bar, just minutes away from downtown Albuquerque. Frank Holloway founded Hollow Spirits in 2018 with his mother and hired his lifelong friend Tristin Rogers as his executive chef. Tristin has created a fresh and exciting menu, and the bar staff rocks and rolls both creative and classic craft cocktails with passion and joy. Hollow Spirits is involved in many community outreach programs that help residents of Albuquerque.
Location: 1324 1st St. NW, Albuquerque
Left Turn Distillery was Albuquerque’s first distillery, founded by Brian Langwell, who owned a machine shop and got his start years ago making small batches of moonshine for his own consumption. Eventually, he sold the machine shop and opened the doors to Left Turn in 2012. His creativity is seen in both his hand-crafted distillation equipment and distilled spirits. Chris Medina is now the distiller at Left Turn, and every year their team comes up with fascinating products that show off New Mexico culture. They have recently opened a taproom in Old Town Albuquerque alongside their brewing partner
Locations: 2924 Girard Blvd. NE, Albuquerque and 524 Romero St. NW, Albuquerque
Albuquerque Distilling is the outcome of two lifelong friends turning a childhood dream into reality. Albuquerque Distilling obviously has fun naming their spirits with monikers like Chupacabra Moonshine, and taps into Burque history, too, by naming their whiskey 1706 for the year the city was founded.
Location: 5001 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque
Vara Winery & Distillery celebrates the historical relationship that exists between New Mexico and Spain. Founded by Xavier Zamarripa and Doug Diefenthaler, the wines and spirits they create embody flavors that embrace the past while delighting the taste buds of modern consumers.
Location: 315 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque
Taylor Garrett Spirits has a partnership with Vara Winery and Distillery but focuses on high-quality whiskeys. Founder Scott Feuille is a retired naval aviator who through his travels developed a love and taste for fine spirits. Scott has a passion for quality distillation and straightforward whiskey made for whiskey lovers. His love of family is reflected in the name of the company — Taylor and Garrett are his two young children.
Location: 315 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque
La Reforma Taqueria, Brewery, and Distillery is in the heart of New Mexico and recalls the culture and style of Old Mexico with their food, beer, and distilled spirits. The featured cocktails on their menu are refreshing and the perfect balance to the street taco cuisine.
Location: 8900 San Mateo Blvd. NE, Suite I, Albuquerque
Happy Accidents is the career-long pursuit and execution of world-renowned barsmith Kate Gerwin and her amazing band of misfits. They have created an experience unlike any other in New Mexico. There is a row of 50 taps containing the liquid part of the magic, then the hustling bartenders finish off your cocktail with a dash of pixie dust and a bubble of magical smoke. This is a place unlike any other.
Location: 3225 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque
Nikle Co. spirits founder and CEO Nicole Kapnison was particularly precise when she developed her sugar- and additive-free spirits. Launched amidst the pandemic, Nikle Co. vodka and gin honor the pure and clean nature of New Mexico and pay tribute to women distillers with every smooth and tasty sip. Ask for Nikle products at liquor stores and bars around the state.
Still Spirits is a unique brand with a laid-back attitude and a cool place to hang out. Locals love the atmosphere and craft cocktails that are whipped up by their creative staff. If you are visiting from out of town, head down to Marble Avenue to see why Albuquerque loves them so much.
Location: 120 Marble Ave. NW, Albuquerque
Tractor Brewing Company has been a staple of the Albuquerque beer scene for many years, but in 2017, they started distilling spirits under the brand Troubled Minds Spirits. Tractor Brewing has multiple locations in Albuquerque and Los Lunas. The company’s leaders believe in community outreach, and through their Beer for a Better Burque (BBB) program, they have helped numerous community members and nonprofit organizations.
Locations: Nob Hill: 118 Tulane Dr. SE, Albuquerque; Westside: 5720 McMahon Blvd. NW, Albuquerque; Wells Park: 1800 4th St. NW, Albuquerque; 470 Sandsage St., Los Lunas
505 Spirits stands alone in the New Mexico spirits world because 505’s product line focuses on the modifiers for cocktails rather than the spirits. 505 Spirits does have a fantastic brandy, and founder and distiller Robert Houston created products like Purple People Eater, a prickly pear liqueur, as well as both dry and sweet vermouths. 505’s line of libations is like no other in the industry and will surely give inspiration when in the hands of any home or professional bartender.
Location: 12 Llano del Norte, Placitas
Algodones Distillery is a boutique distillery in the small town of Algodones, which has a population of fewer than 1,000. Algodones’ spirits are all small batch from a copper still with locally sourced ingredients. The selection is interesting and inherently New Mexico-influenced. Algodones Distillery offers tours of their facility and is just a short drive from Albuquerque.
Location: 15 Calle Alfredo, Algodones
Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery has been a passion project for owners Jason Fitzpatrick and Jason Kirkman, as well as lead brewer Andrew Lane, since they opened their doors in 2018. Tumbleroot has an extensive line of beer, spirits, liqueurs, bitters, and canned cocktails. All their spirits are made with 100 percent organic ingredients and have received several awards. The Bisbee Court location has a small tasting room and is where production takes place. The Agua Fria Street location is full of energy and hosts events at which guests are sure to have an enjoyable time while sampling the cocktails and brews.
Location: 32 Bisbee Ct. and 2791 Agua Fria St., Santa Fe
Santa Fe Spirits was founded in 2010 by Colin Keegan and is the oldest distillery in New Mexico. Santa Fe Spirits is known statewide for exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles. With a tremendous staff and gorgeous tasting room, their range of spirits is superb. With the recent addition of Lead Distiller Natalie Dale, who previously worked for the Coppola winery and distillery, the future looks better than ever.
Location: 7505 Mallard Way Suite 1, Santa Fe
Rolling Still Distillery is an effort of love in more ways than one. Dan and Liza Irion and Scott and Nicole Barady wanted to create a clean, pure spirit with fresh, natural, native ingredients for their vodkas and whiskey. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 9,200 feet above sea level, provide the distillers with an artesian water source that is perfect for distilled spirits. The Lounge in downtown Taos is where their tasting room is located, and it has a creative bar team that includes Chris Milligan, who is a contributor to the United States Bartenders Guild Master Accreditation qualification course.
Location: 110 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Suite D, Taos
Three Rivers Brewstillery is an award-winning distillery that has created an environment for its guests that is a throwback to a simpler time, when society was actually social and not determined by emojis and likes. They are on Main Street, but it should be called Memory Lane, because of the feeling you have when you walk in. The brewery has been open since 1997, and in 2015, they started distilling their own spirits.
Location: 101 E. Main St., Farmington
Red River Brewing Company and Distillery opened in 2018 and this gorgeous facility has a wide-open design that creates a friendly community experience for locals and visitors alike. Owner Michael Calhoun follows in the footsteps of generations of his family that fell in love with the people and scenery of Red River, and he is happy to share the spirit, one glass at a time.
Location: 217 West Main St., Red River
Written by Daniel Gonzales | Photography by Amanda Gonzales
Additional photos courtesy distillers
Originally published in Neighbors magazineThis article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead