Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor in Pojoaque Friday, December 19th. Come out and try some of our award winning spirits!
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Santa Fe Spirits Tasting at QB's Liquor Store Friday Dec. 12 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come by and check out our award winning spirits if your in the area!">
New York Times Mention | Santa Fe Spirits Blog11 Holiday Gifts for Alcohol Drinkers | Santa Fe Spirits BlogTasting at QB’s Packaged Liquor | Santa Fe Spirits Blog
QB's Packaged Liquor in Pojoaque today from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ">
Cocktails to Keep you Warm this Winter | Santa Fe Spirits Blog
Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy cocktails that are guaranteed to keep you warm this winter. ">
Santa Fe Reporter Pop Up Dinner | Santa Fe Spirits BlogThe Apple Brandy Story | Santa Fe Spirits Blog
Santa Fe Spirits as a company. Our company's owners, the Keegans, live in an amazingly beautiful part of Santa Fe called Tesuque. This valley houses the tesuque river and is by far one of the most luscious and vibrant parts of our desert city. Now, in Tesuque the Keegans own an apple orchard and several years ago they began inviting friends over to pick and press apples, sending all of them home with more apple juice than they could hold. The idea to make apple cider and then distill brandy was born from the great juice they could produce from the New Mexico apples. ">
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Santa Fe Spirits will be heading to Still on the Hill spirits festival in Breckenridge, Colorado next weekend! Make sure to come check it out and taste some great spirits from us as well as other Western micro-distilleries! ">
Get Into the Spirits - Local Flavor | Santa Fe Spirits BlogThe Local Flavor Buzz, October 2014 | Santa Fe Spirits BlogTours and Tastings | Santa Fe Spirits BlogBasil Old Fashioned - Weekly Cocktail | Santa Fe SpiritsThe Angel’s Get Their Share | Santa Fe Spirits BlogShow Your Spirit | Santa Fe Spirits BlogVerify Age
2019 Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Silver Medal American Craft Spirits Awards
Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Wins Silver Medal at American Craft Spirits Awards 2019
February 22, 2019
Awards season for spirits doesn’t get quite the fanfare as award season for movies, but there are some similarities; certainly “it’s an honor just to be nominated” and “this means so much coming from my peers” are feelings we can relate to. This means so much, as it’s coming from our peers, is exactly how we feel about Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Single Malt winning a silver medal at the American Craft Spirits Awards. Though we bask in the glory of all awards we win, the ACSA award holds a special place as it comes from an organization dedicated to small distillers.
This year our distillers Steffany and Mike joined Colin at the ACSA conference. Steffany reports “We had a great time at the ACSA convention in snowy Minneapolis. We took a lot of classes and learned so much from the presenters that will help us grow and improve over time. We got to meet with all of our vendors and possibly some future vendors as well as making connections with other distillers and distilleries from around the country. We also won a silver medal for our Apple Brandy Finished Colkegan! Everyone at ACSA loves our products and was very excited to try our seasonal release, which is our regular mesquite smoked single malt whiskey aged for 3-4 years and finished for a year in our Apple Brandy barrels. They are released as single barrels, so each is a little bit unique while still retaining the perfect balance of our Apple Brandy and our Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey. We only have a few cases left until next season, so if you would like to try our Silver Medal award winning Apple Brandy Finished Colkegan, you should come by one of our tasting rooms and get a sip before we run out!”
5280: Why Santa Fe Should Be Your Winter Road-Trip Destination
February 15, 2019
Shauna Farnell tells 5280 (a Denver magazine) readers why they should head south to Santa Fe for a winter get-away, and lists Santa Fe Spirits as one of her places not to miss. “There’s no shortage of places to booze in town… Popular all winter long, Santa Fe Spirits is a cozy spot to grab a night cap, specifically a Nut Job, made from founder Collin Keegan’s single malt whiskey and one-of-a-kind Atapino liqueur, which is distilled from local pine nuts.”
Distiller Magazine: United We Thrive
February 7, 2019
”In 2007, fifteen curious classmates with one shared goal — to learn the art of commercial craft distilling — attended the first American Distilling Institute (ADI) Hands-on Whiskey Distilling Workshop at Stillwater Spirits in Petaluma, California….Workshop graduates have gone on to found their own distilleries, for instance, Colin Keegan of Santa Fe Spirits, Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy, David Woods of Wiggly Bridge Distillery, Stephen Paul of Hamilton Distillers and Kirby Kallas-Lewis of OOLA Distillery.”
Local Flavor: Apres Slope
January 17, 2019
In the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Local Flavor Magazine Melyssa Holik rounds up the best apres-ski spots in Santa Fe “where you can defrost your body and restore your soul.” Santa Fe Spirits’ “snug and intimate” tasting room is on the list.
Paul Flint, our distributor in Japan, forwarded us this review of Colkegan in Whisky Galore Magazine. We’re still waiting on the translation, but the 87 leads us to believe that they are saying good things about us!
AustinWhiskyVault.com Colkegan Trifecta review
November 6, 2018
These fellows are entertaining and they know their stuff! Hard to argue with a review that starts off calling Colkegan “one of the greatest smoked single malts” and goes onto say “anyone who likes smokey Scotches, do yourself a favor ... and try some Colkegan.” The whole video is worth your time, but if you want to jump right to the Colkegan part of the episode, it starts at 7:11.
The Whiskey Wash: Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan American Single Malt Gets Brandy Cask Finish
When one looks across the ever increasing world of American single malt whiskeys, a standout in the crowd is easily the Colkegan from New Mexico-based Santa Fe Spirits. This mesquite-smoked malted barley expression gives a decidedly domestic spin on the classic peat smoked style from Scotland, which we were quite impressed with some years ago when we reviewed it. The distillery does some variants on this offering, such as the new 2018 release of an apple brandy cask finished bottling.
Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Single Malt, according to those behind it, starts as the more typical Colkegan expression that’s been aging “in both new and used 53 gallon oak barrels for a minimum of two years in Santa Fe Spirits’ climate controlled barrel aging rooms.” As co-distillers Steffany Landers and Mike Kelley taste through these barrels, they set some aside as possibilities for the finishing process. It is said these “are usually older barrels (four to five years) in which the flavor profile stands out too prominently to fit in a blend of Colkegan, perhaps oakier or smokier than the rest of the barrels in the blend.”
From there, the team then adds the tagged Colkegan to still wet barrels of its apple brandy, after the latter has been dumped from barrel to tank in preparation for bottling. A rather fascinating transition, noted the distillers, occurs here in that they use “25 gallon barrels for [the] Apple Brandy and 53 gallon barrels for Colkegan, [so that] one barrel of Colkegan will go into two separate used Apple Brandy barrels, therefore changing the end flavor of even one barrel of Colkegan after it spends a year aging in its new barrels.”
Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Single Malt is noted as being a once a year release, happening each fall. It is thus out pretty much now, with a price point looking at around $60 per 750 ml bottle.
There are many factors that determine the flavor of a whiskey: choice of grain and how it’s malted, through choice of barrel and barrel storage, all have a hand in what ends up in the bottle. These factors are all magnified when it comes to small batch, craft distilling. A distiller can start with the same ingredients each time and end up with different results. A lot of that has to do with the type of barrel and length of time and conditions of aging. Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Single Malt starts off as Colkegan Single Malt, aging in both new and used 53 gallon oak barrels for a minimum of two years in Santa Fe Spirits’ climate controlled barrel aging rooms. As distillers Steffany Landers and Mike Kelley taste barrels to make a blend of Colkegan they tag some barrels that will become Apple Brandy Cask Finished Colkegan. These are usually older barrels (four to five years) in which the flavor profile stands out too prominently to fit in a blend of Colkegan, perhaps oakier or smokier than the rest of the barrels in the blend.
When the Santa Fe Apple Brandy has finished aging and has been dumped from barrel to tank in preparation for bottling, the tagged Colkegan barrels are poured into the still wet Apple Brandy barrels. As Santa Fe Spirits uses 25 gallon barrels for its Apple Brandy and 53 gallon barrels for Colkegan, one barrel of Colkegan will go into two separate used Apple Brandy barrels, therefore changing the end flavor of even one barrel of Colkegan after it spends a year aging in its new barrels. The result? “They’re all original,” says Steffany of the Apple Brandy Cask Finished Colkegan batches.
With so much depending on the barrel it’s important to understand how a barrel is made. Kelvin Cooperage has been making wine and bourbon barrels in Louisville since 1991, when the company relocated from Scotland where they started out repairing used bourbon barrels for scotch houses. According to Britney Wimsatt, Kelvin specializes in making bourbon barrels for the craft spirits industry: “it’s our niche, and it sets us apart from larger, mass produced, barrels.” She says the craftsmanship of Kelvin’s barrels is akin to the craft spirits that go into the barrels, all hand-produced by people doing the work because they have a passion for what they do.
All of Kelvin’s barrels are handmade. Kelvin purchases staves from several local stave mills, which they then sand, plane and joint before the staves are ready for use. Once the barrels are assembled they are toasted and then charred over natural oak burning fires. Unlike most cooperages, who only toast wine barrels, Kelvin toasts all of its barrels. What’s the difference between toast and char? “Think about toasting a marshmallow,” Britney says, if you hold it further away from the fire it gets a nice, brown, toasty outside, but it’s not blackened. Char leaves the wood blackened and, well, charred. Britney further explains that toast is where flavor comes from whereas char is what affects color. Kelvin offers char levels of one to four, with four being the heaviest, resulting in the darkest spirits.
The charring at Kelvin is what they are most proud of; barrels are charred in batches of nine outside over natural oak fires, and done entirely by sight and smell. While all coopering is a skilled craft, the making of “tight” barrels (which hold liquids, as opposed to “slack” barrels which hold dry goods) is the most skilled, and charring by sight and smell alone over open fires is very specialized and precise. On a good day Kelvin produces 450 barrels.
In his 1910 book Practice and Methods; From the Tree to the Finished Article, J. B. Wagner (not one to be succinct) waxes on for several pages about “The Waste Problem” in manufacturing cooperage stock, saying at one point that “much of this lack of utilization cannot very well be prevented, yet there are possibilities of much more economy than is generally practiced.” Kelvin uses any oak waste or by-product for its fires, thereby having little wood that actually goes to waste.
In 2013, when many craft distilleries were starting out, there was a barrel shortage panic. This wasn’t, as many thought, because there was a lack of oak trees, but rather because many loggers went on strike because demand for American Oak was high and they weren’t seeing the results of the boom in their pay packets. Kelvin remained unaffected by this due to close relationships with several local mills. Kelvin is also involved in the White Oak Sustainability Project to ensure future availability of White Oak, as well as mindful lumber practices.
Bourbon barrels differ from wine barrels in size, (wine barrels usually being 59 or 60 gallons), the addition of char, and steel hoops rather than galvanized. Wine barrels use galvanized hoops to eliminate rust, but that’s largely for aesthetic reasons.
The shape of the barrel hasn’t changed in thousands of years, and while there are now factories that mass produce barrels, the art of hand making barrels also remains largely unchanged. The origin of the barrel isn’t known. According to Wagner “more than eighteen hundred years ago Pliny, an original investigator … endeavored to trace to its origin an industry that was even then ancient and honorable.” Britney adds that until the mid nineteenth century it was common for ships to have a cooper on board – they would spend the outbound voyage making barrels in which to put goods on the return journey.
The life span of a barrel varies greatly depending on its use. Bourbon is required to be aged in new barrels. At Santa Fe Spirits new barrels are generally used two or three times, while the used bourbon barrels are used once. The Apple Brandy barrels will be used twice, then repurposed for the Apple Brandy Cask Finished Colkegan or experimenting with other projects. Many barrels that Santa Fe Spirits can no longer used are purchased by local breweries and go on to have beer aged in them. Kelvin will sometimes take used barrels and rejuvenate them with fresh char, but the cost to ship barrels doesn’t make this a viable option for distilleries not near Louisville. Santa Fe Spirits also uses up spent barrels by making displays for stores who carry Colkegan, and have turned some into tables for their distillery tasting room. Many barrels that are no longer sound are sold to enterprising people who use them as planters, home bars, chairs, or who take them apart to use the staves in various projects. Britney says she has heard of some Canadian Whiskey in 60 to 80 year old barrels. However she has never heard of anyone using barrels to store monkeys.
So, what happens to Colkegan in a used Apple Brandy barrel? “It mellows and sweetens” says Steffany, “because there’s no smokiness in the Apple Brandy.” “More depth and body, smoother,” adds Mike. Santa Fe Spirits bottles all of its Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished from single barrels, so each batch will have its own unique flavor. With the Apple Brandy Cask Finished “we like to maintain the differences,” explains Steffany. She suggests buying bottles from several different stores and the distillery in order to taste all the batches and see the differences for yourself. “They’re all good.”
Currently Santa Fe Spirits releases Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished only once a year, in the fall.
Whisky Advocate: Buying Guide Fall 2018
90 Colkegan Cask Strength Single Malt: Mesquite-smoked New Mexico single malt. Rich and beefy on the nose: charred brisket, slated meat, tangerines, dark wood, brine, and white smoke. The palate is powerful, oak-forward without being astringent, and very spicy. Walnut, cayenne pepper, and grilled citrus balance out the meaty, oaky flavors. Saddle leather, cherries, and even more smoke on the finish. Tangy, salty, spicy, and malty. A truly compelling American single malt with great structure.
89 Colkegan Apple Brandy Cask Finished Single Malt: Soft and juicy aromas of ginger juice, apple tart, strawberry shortcake, and lights, sweet smoke. Very aromatic, with lots of citrus, clove, and cinnamon. Orange creamsicle on the palate, with a good deal of apple, poached pear, marmalade, and light smoke. Salted butter, gentle oak, and wispy smoke keep this in balance. A good harmony of flavors.
87 Colkegan Single Malt: A dry smoke, led by brisket, dry oak, and cherries. Sweetly smoky in the mouth, with black pepper, cayenne, and barbecue flavors, as well as grilled fruits, nectarines, and charred plums. A good balance of sweet and spicy, with a backbone of minerality. The mesquite flavor amps up in the long and spicy finish.
all reviews by Adam Polonski
The Malt Impostor: The Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan American Single Malt Whiskey
The Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan American Single Malt Whiskey
On first nosing this, I get rich, plummy notes. Stephen (reading the label) claims there’s a muted mesquite aspect. Bill offers “athletic socks after a light workout.” I don’t know what he’s reading, but I’m just suggestible enough to get on board with that idea. Closer inspection gives us unripe persimmons—three of them—arranged into a green snowman. There are also cactus-shaped petroglyphs carved with a spear.
More of that mesquite wood arrives on the mouth, but at no point does it dominate or become unruly. Indeed, there’s enough subtlety that chocolate notes surface, as if there are spice- and cocoa-dusted dried fruits in a saucer. Think sour cherries, but attenuated sour cherries, and definitely not sour grapes. The richness suggested on the nose is repaid in spades here. I take a peek at my iPhone 3GS just to open the “I am rich” app and for a minute I think I can see the Colkegan bottle silhouetted on the screen.
The finish finds the straight line of mesquite wood broadening and deepening like a great conversation. I want to say this is New Mexico’s reply to Orkney peat. In any event, the balance of this whiskey can now be fully appreciated. I feel like all of the finish work in the house has been complete; the joints are true, the edges sanded, the surfaces polished.
On the scale of cask members on This Old House and Ask This Old House— The Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan American Single Malt Whiskey isTom Silva–Watching his work on the show helps you appreciate the artistry of craft.
The Santa Fe Plaza. It’s central, historic, lively and lovely. It’s also just a minuscule portion of what Santa Fe has to offer. If you’re interested in broadening your Santa Fe experience a bit, the Santa Fe Railyard is a beguiling area to explore next. While the Plaza is bustling, a bit claustrophobic and maddeningly unplanned, the Railyard feels calm, airy, spacious and thoughtfully considered.
Scotchwhisky.com - 10 American Single Malt Whiskeys to Try
Sante Fe Spirits was perhaps the first American distillery to turn to that all-American flavour of mesquite for its whiskey. Its Colkegan Single Malt, named for distillery owner Colin Keegan, uses a combination of 30% mesquite-smoked barley alongside 70% un-smoked malted barley. At 7,000ft elevation, Santa Fe Spirits also utilises a unique maturation system with a climate-controlled warehouse – not for temperature consistency, but rather for consistent major temperature changes.
NM Magazine - Our Six Favorite New Distilleries
SANTA FE SPIRITS
Founded: 2010, Santa Fe
Englishman Colin Keegan embraces local ingredients to give his spirits a distinct Land of Enchantment taste. The most terroir-forward spirit is the Atapiño Liqueur, which, to his knowledge, is the world’s only piñon liqueur. Harvested from the Santa Fe National Forest, the nuts are roasted and infused into the liqueur. It’s then barrel-aged and sweetened with ponderosa pine sap. “When you drink it, you really feel like you’re hiking in the woods on a fall day,” says national sales manager Jimmy McCabe.
Keegan also gathers ingredients from his own backyard. He and his wife bought the former home of Archbishop Lamy’s grounds-keeper (a property rich in New Mexico history), and it came with a centuries-old fruit orchard. The juice from those apples—and others—is fermented and distilled into the Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy. Cocktails at the company’s Santa Fe tasting room are the pinnacle of the craft experience, often concocted with house-made bitters, syrups, shrubs, infusions, and even its own tonic water.
Sip This: The Wheeler’s Gin is a spirit rich with New Mexico botanicals such as cholla blossom, osha root, and juniper. The cholla gives it cucumber and hibiscus notes, while the osha lends an earthy flavor. The gin goes into the spirit maker’s Sage Collins, a New Mexican twist on the Tom Collins.
Visit: Distillery tours are available at 1, 3, and 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays—reservations required (7501 Mallard Way, Unit 1, Santa Fe, 505-467-8892). Book a class there to learn how to stir, shake, muddle, and even spank (yes, spank) as you craft your own cocktails, or visit the tasting room (308 Read St., Santa Fe, 505-780-5906, santafespirits.com).
The smoky flavor in this Santa Fe-made whiskey comes from real live burning mesquite chips that hit the barley during the malting process. Don’t be in a hurry when you arrive, as making cocktails is also something of an aging process for these tasting rooms—and their take on the traditional blood and sand carries enough Colkegan to merit the slow drinking of it. Skip the fruit salad and order one straight with a giant rock, or skip ahead to the best-selling Wheeler’s Gin.
Wine Enthusiast - Rugged Whiskies of the West
August 17, 2018
Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey (Santa Fe, NM)
Santa Fe Spirits was started by an Englishman who moved to New Mexico two decades ago and first made spirits in 2010. Not surprisingly, this whiskey is a Southwestern take on Scotch. Instead of smoking the grain with briny peat, as they do in Scotland, Santa Fe uses mesquite wood for a sweeter, meatier smoke that evokes barbecue and cookouts.
The Wine Enthusiast: The Rugged Whiskeys of the West
The Whiskey Wash: Wild West Whiskey
Fatherly.com - 5 Brilliant American Single Malt Whiskies to Try Now
July 27, 2018
While Santa Fe Spirits is not the only maker to smoke barley with a mesquite fueled fire, they are the only one to age their whiskey in New Mexico’s high desert, where radical temperature shifts make the aging process run hot and cold. The resulting dram is full bodied and chalked with classic vanilla chocolate and cherry notes, against a background of mesquite. Pair it with some great barbecued brisket.
Fatherly.com - The 5 Best American Single Malts to Try Now
While Santa Fe Spirits is not the only maker to smoke barley with a mesquite fueled fire, they are the only one to age their whiskey in New Mexico’s high desert, where radical temperature shifts make the aging process run hot and cold. The resulting dram is full bodied and chalked with classic vanilla chocolate and cherry notes, against a background of mesquite. Pair it with some great barbecued brisket.
Popular Mechanics - Americans Are Making Great Single Malt Whiskey Right Now
Sunset Magazine - Best Gin Brands We’re Loving Right Now
NEW SPRING BREAK COCKTAILS AT READ ST. COCKTAIL BAR
March 7, 2018
Have you been to our downtown Santa Fe Tasting Room lately? Well, now is the TIME! Spring is upon us and our master mixologist and bar manager, James Reis has added some fresh and amazing new craft cocktails to the menu as well as reinstated the classic Sidecar featuring our Dry Apple Brandy!
FEATURED HERE : Left to Right (The Steward, The Hurricane, They Mayfield)
* Don’t forget to ask about our in-house made tonic and weekly infusions!
Open : M-Th 3pm-9pm / Fri. & Sat. 3pm-10pm
HAPPY HOUR TIME!!!!!
Santa Fe Spirits 2017 Holiday Party
Come and celebrate with Santa Fe Spirits at the distillery and many other vendors with wonderful Holiday wares. Live music, good food, excellent cocktails great company. Who could ask for more
Brandy Cask Finished Colkegan Release Party
We’re officially releasing our amazing new Colkegan that has been finished in our used Apple Brady barrels for a year and we think that’s a pretty good reason to have a party. It’s free to attend and, as always, we’ll have a great selection of cocktails.
NM Distiller’s Guild Inaugural Celebration Sept. 23 in ABQ
Join us this coming Saturday, September 23 for the New Mexico Distiller’s Guild 1st Annual Spirits Festival! We’ll be up on the roof of the Banque Lofts in Downtown ABQ (2nd and Central) at an amazing venue. Participants get a tasting glass and tastings from New Mexico’s best distilleries.
One block over is the Somos ABQ fest, with tons of food vendors and three stages of live music.
When: Saturday, September 23 6-9 p.m.
Where: Banque Lofts, Downtown Albuquerque (directions in the link)
Who: Santa Fe Spirits and several other NM Distilleries
2016 Silver Medal Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival
2015 Gold Medal Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival
2017 Silver Medal American Distilling Institute
2017 87 points Ultimate Spirits Challenge
2017 Bronze Medal American Craft Spirits Association
2016 Gold Medal Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival
2016 Silver Medal Whiskies of the World Awards
2016 Bronze Medal San Francisco World Spirits Competition
2016 91 points Tasting Panel Magazine
2016 Double Gold 50 Best
2015 Gold Medal Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival
June 2017 Events
We have a ton of stuff going on in June 2017. Come check us out at these cool events:
June 3: The New Mexico Cocktails & Culture Festival features some of the best mixologists from New Mexico and around the country. Join us June 3 at the Santa Fe Masonic Temple for the Chef & Shaker Challenge, where we’ll pair up with a local chef for awesome food paired with an amazing cocktail. Then next day we’ll move over to Skylight for the New Mexico Craft Collective where we’ll have a tasting table with some tasty goodies.
June 10: We’re heading down to Albuquerque for the Heights Summer Fest at North Domingo Baca Park. We’ll have some amazing cocktails for sale.
June 17: We’re back in Albuquerque again, this time for BearFest, sponsored by Boxing Bear Brewing. This event at the convention center will have all kinds of distilleries and breweries, so expect a good time
June 24: Our last event of the month is Fermentation Fest at the Guttierez-Hubbel House south of ABQ. Come learn about fermenting, try tasty foods and, of course, get a cocktail from your favorite New Mexico distillery, Santa Fe Spirits.
Grand Re-Opening Party at the Distillery May 5
Our newly remodeled Distillery Tasting Room and new barrel storage facility are officially open for business and we inviting you to come celebrate with us! Join us May 5, from 5:30 to 8:30, for our Grand Re-Opening party. We will have cocktail specials, free tours of the new barrel aging facility, good conversation with our friends and supporters and good times for all.
The changes come as a result of Local Economic Development Act grants from the state and city of Santa Fe. The new barrel aging facility allows us to put away lots more whiskey for anticipated growth in the next several years.
That facility allowed us to take the barrels out of the front room and totally remodel the tasting room. It’s huge now! The gigantic new bar was built by Graveen Design Studio and is double the size of our old, tiny bar. The room is now large enough to hold events for larger groups, so if you need a space for your next event, please give us a call.
Santa Fe Spirits Expands to Japan
August 29, 2016
SANTA FE, NM (For Immediate Release)—Santa Fe Spirits, New Mexico’s largest distillery, has shipped its first order of Colkegan Single Malt to Japan. This is the third international market for the growing distillery based in the high desert mountain town of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“The Japanese really know their whiskey, so we are honored they are demanding our product,” said Santa Fe Spirits owner and founder Colin Keegan. “We are excited that our hard work is driving global interest.”
The distillery has partnered with Premium Beverages, a premier distributor of American craft spirits in Asia.
“There is a big demand for American single malt in Japan. The Japanese market had been focused on Scotland for ages, but with the rise of American craft spirits the Japanese are shifting their attention to America, and the single malts are a familiar face. We are lucky to have one of the best American single malts on the market,” said Paul Flint, principal of Premium Beverages.
The Japanese market is radically different than the U.S. notes Flint. As an importer and distributor, his company can sell direct to consumers in addition to on- and off-premise accounts. Premium Beverages will market Colkegan at large events like the Tokyo City Horse Races, whiskey festivals and even at the U.S. embassy.
Santa Fe Spirits’ expansion into Japan comes on the heels of domestic expansion as well. The company has added distribution in Illinois to grow its domestic distribution to nine states. It also is breaking ground on a 4,000 square-foot warehouse to expand its whiskey aging operations.
“We have been growing so fast we have outgrown our current facility. This new building will allow us to put away much more whiskey and expand out bottling capacity to meet our growth plan over the next 4-5 years,” said Santa Fe Spirits Keegan.
About: Santa Fe Spirits was founded in 2010 by owner Colin Keegan, who settled in Santa Fe from his native Newcastle, England more than 20 years ago. Keegan and the Santa Fe Spirits make spirits inspired by the Southwest and New Mexico. Colkegan Single Malt uses a unique blend of mesquite-smoked malts, while Wheeler’s Gin uses local botanicals like cholla cactus blossom and desert sage, among others. The company’s spirits have consistently been recognized as some of the best in the country by the American Distilling Institute, Ultimate Beverage Challenge, Beverage Testing Institute and Whisky Magazine.
Which is largely how the Outside Bike & Brew Festival came about. Not only to cater to the many cyclists and beer enthusiasts here in town, but to introduce Santa Feans and outsiders to the many other fine libations and trails they may not have been previously aware of.
And in only three years (this year being its third incarnation) the Outside Bike & Brew has become one of the premier events of its kind in the country. Having smoothly blended fine handmade beers with finely crafted bikes trails; the Bike & Brew has essentially attached itself to—if not absorbed—the Santa Fe Century, the 31-year-old 100-mile bike ride that takes riders on a loop from Santa Fe through the Turquoise Trail and Galisteo and back into town.
Now in its third year (and elements-tested after three consecutive days of rain last year, in which its 6,000 participants were hard-pressed to fully unwind), the Bike & Brew combines the best of a bike festival (expos, guided rides, fondos, and glow rides—for amateurs and pros alike) with the best of a brew fest (beer runs, dinners, tap takeovers, tasting rooms, and tours de brewers and tours de ciders).
Plus, there’ll be quality music (headline acts including The Lonely Wild and Con Brio), top-notch participating restaurants (L’Olivier, Joseph’s, Anasazi), and that unmatched feeling of having found one’s tribe. (Even better, six-time world mountain biking champion Rebecca Rusch returns for another sold-out series of women’s rides and clinics—all part of the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour. “We’re thankful for the enthusiasm and excitement the women of the Santa Fe area bring to the clinics,” says Rusch’s manager Colleen Quindlen. “The tour features five unique events with the goal of increasing women’s participation in mountain biking and cycling by offering fun, social, and non-intimidating venues that educate and empower.”)
And when riders have gotten all hopped out, Santa Fe Spirits is the place to go for a more sophisticated beverage—from our Colkegan Whiskey and Wheeler’s Gin to our Silver Coyote Pure Malt Whiskey.
“I suspect there is a link,” says Petras “Pepi” Avizonis, when asked about the connection between cyclists and artisanal distilleries. Avizonis would know. He was a physicist and cyclist in Albuquerque before relocating to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he founded the Dirty Water Distillery. “A link in the area of adventure, hard work, and discovery.
“Cycling is about riding hard, the reward of doing the work, getting from A to B, and knowing I had done it of my own power,” adds Avizonis. “Sort of a discovery thing. Artisanal distilling offers a similar sense of discovery for people—there’s more risk-taking and experimentation with new things at microdistilleries.”
“Cyclists are a competitive group, but they also have a great culture of camaraderie for all levels of the sport or activity,” says Karen Paramanandam, Marketing Director at SunPower by Positive Energy Solar, one of the many sponsors of the event. “I see this in the brewer community as well. They have a mutual respect for each other and true beer enthusiasts are stoked to try different brews, compare notes, and share their knowledge with newbies.”
“Bikes come first for most folks,” says Tim Fower of the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, another B&B sponsor. “But fortunately at this festival, we don’t have to pick a favorite.” The three big rides will all be on Sunday: the Century, the Gran Fondo (where riders can time themselves against the clock and others in their age bracket, and which follows the same route as the as the 104-mile-long Century), and the Big Mountain Enduro (a one-day backcountry race entailing upwards of 7,500 feet of long rocky descents).
And throughout all four days, everyone’s more than welcome to try what’s on tap at one of six local craft breweries.Santa Fe Brewing(the state’s oldest and largest brewery), Second Street andBlue Corn (two GABF Gold Medal-winning brewpubs offering elevated pub fare), Il Vicino (also a multiple GABF medal winner), and Duel Brewing (with a selection of Belgian style and barrel-aged beers), as well as what’s on tap at the Santa Fe Spirits Tasting Room downtown.
“The big picture for Santa Fe County is that outdoor recreation is one of our target industries, both from a visitor perspective as well as a business recruitment perspective,” says David Griscom, economic development manager and film liaison for Santa Fe County, another B&B sponsor. (This year, Griscom expects 10,000-plus attendees.) “The Outside Bike and Brew festival brings in mountain bike riders, including professional mountain bike athletes from all over the United States, and is an opportunity to highlight the world-class trails that we have.”
“We get to experience great new breweries from all over New Mexico, and interface with bike and bike-culture vendors from all over the country,” says Paramanandam. “For us in particular, we get to align a brand with a really great lifestyle experience.
“Our company has a definite bike and brew culture,” she adds. “We have a healthy appreciation for both activities and tend to sponsor or participate in these types of events all over the state.”
And, adds Avizonis, “the same people who enjoy learning that they could do that [ride 104 miles or make it up and down some of Santa Fe’s trails] also enjoy the discovery of spirits made by likeminded people.”
Cyclists, microbrewers, Dirty Water people, Santa Fe Spirits people. Our kinda crowd. Our kinda spirit.
National Santa Fe Spirits Day—Not! Or, Wait . . . Why Not?
May 6, 2016
August 13 is National Filet Mignon Day. February 11 is National Shut-in Visitation Day.
November 18 is National Vichyssoise Day.
There are over 1,200 National and World days now. (As opposed to the couple dozen or so before you could imbibe legally.) Most of them as inane as these. Most of them created by marketing execs and in-house ad agencies—or only of the slightest importance to these two groups and the companies for whom they hawk. (And TV morning shows—they love this kind of stuff.)
And, even thoughWorld Cocktail Day (May 13) andWorld Whiskey Day (May 21) are right up our alley, we can’t say that we’d ever heard of them before someone else (outside ofSanta Fe Spirits) brought them to our attention. The only way they’d be at all interesting is if they were a mash-up, a combination of various days in one: it’s National Take a Slab of Filet Mignon and a Bowl of Vichyssoise for Shut-in Visitation Followed by a Bottle ofColkegan Single Malt Whiskey and a Shaker ofExpedition Vodka Day. The perfect all-days-in-one for every Shut-in—and a great day for all those non-Shut-ins as well. But in truth, that’s probably just be the average day for lots of people out there.
(Andthat is how you shamelessly promote. But we digress.)
Not being big believers in this whole “National Fill-in-the-Blank Day” deal, we thought we’d reach out to some fellow whiskey and cocktail bloggers to see what they think about all this. Maybe we’re just being too cynical. Maybe we’re missing out. Maybe we’re too old-fashioned. Does anyone out there celebrate World Cocktail Day? (One of the original benefactors of World Whisky Day, back when it was getting support from Master of Malt, was the Just a Drop organization, which helps provide clean water and sanitation in poor countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. WWD has since been taken over by Edinburgh’sHot Rum Cow magazine and its publisher Fraser Allen, who are still, thankfully, committed to helping others in need of clean water—like the village of Kalima South.)
“They’re both silly,” says Bobby Childs of the New Orleans-basedAdventuresInWhiskey.com, a blog for the novice whiskey enthusiast. “I say that, but I jump on the bandwagon of posting something whiskey or cocktail-related on social media on those days.”
“Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re bad,” says Terry Lozoff, the man behind DrinkInsider.com—and who also happens to be vice president of consumer engagement and digital strategy atGYK Antler. (And who, according to his About Me, “started working with alcohol brands on a professional level in 2004, running national marketing programs for major beer companies; and have since worked with a number of other global alcohol brands, small craft brands, and drink startups.”) “There’s nothing bad about giving people a reason to talk about whiskey or cocktails. Why wouldn’t you want to get in on it . . . especially if it gets more people to drink.”
“I’ve never heard of any of these holidays, and didn’t hear about them until we started a blog and started getting nonstop pitches from PR companies,” admitsJulia Tunstall, cofounder of ABarAbove.com, a site for bartenders, aspiring bartenders, and cocktail enthusiasts. “It’s not something we pay any attention to.”
“Do we really need an excuse?” asks Childs rhetorically. “Most serious whiskey enthusiasts will imbibe what they want to imbibe, regardless of what day it is. At the end of the day, it’s just an excuse to pour a glass of whiskey or mix up a cocktail.”
“‘Cocktail Day’ is, to my estimation, a ‘Let’s get drunk because . . . drunk!’ day,” says Morgan Greenhalgh of the California-basedTheDrinkBlog.com, nominated bySaveur for its 2015 Saveur Blog Awards under the Best Spirits or Cocktail Coverage.
Funny, sure, but as Greenhalgh is quick to add: “Ask a distiller, drinker, or anyone who is really deep in the art and craft of the scene and you’ll probably get a blank stare. Then asked to leave.”
Ouch. But true.
Which puts us in a bit of a bind. If we tell you not to participate in either of these days, it’s like telling you not to drink. Not to enjoy yourself. Not to try one of our spirits. (Atapiño Liqueur, anyone?) And if we encourage either of these days at all, well, then we just come off as tools, as part of the vast soulless machine of crass commercialism (and at risk of losing our cred as that very kind of dedicated distiller of which Greenhalgh alludes to). Instead, we’ll leave you with this quote fromDr. Who: “If I were to tell you that the next thing I say would be true, but the last thing I said was a lie, would you believe me?”That we can hoist aSilver Coyote to. L’Chaim.
State Helps Local Distillery Expand
March 18, 2016
Oscars 88, French 75
February 24, 2016
Oscar viewing and Oscar parties pretty much go hand in hand these days. In fact, actually watching the Academy Awards ceremony to see who wins has become secondary, an excuse, really, to Oscar partying itself. (Kinda like what the Super Bowl has become—not about the game as about that game that’s in between—in the way of—the commercials). And any Oscar party worth its weight in the form of the gold statuettes being handed out this coming Sunday isn’t really a party unless it has these three key ingredients: an Oscar ballot, passionate partygoers, and the right food and drinks. And as personally as some people take the winning and losing, Oscar viewing, and Oscar parties, have now moved from the privacy of peoples’ living rooms to the openness bars and restaurants. Where more convivially oriented moviegoers can carry on amid their likeminded peers in a celebratory atmosphere. Pretending to care if The Big Short overshadows Spotlight or Leo finally walks off with the guy he should’ve taken home for The Departed (of The Aviator, or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, or Blood Diamond). While what’s really keeping everyone glued to the tube is Jennifer Lawrence’s photo bombs, Charlize Theron’s hair, Alicia Vikander’s, well, everything.
So. The Oscars. Named for the faceless statue they give out every year, as presented by Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, in recognition of the best films of the past year (2015), and the best work done that year by actors, directors, costume designers, writers, and most everyone else involved in making a movie. The Oscar—whose origin no one knows for sure. Kinda like the origins of one of our favorite drinks—the French 75.
Reputedly named for the light artillery gun celebrated by the French in World War I (the French 75mm field gun, aka the 75 and the Soixante-Quinze, and widely used as a truck-mounted anti-aircraft piece), which had been praised by French and American soldiers for its accuracy and quickness, the drink itself supposedly came about via English soldiers who’d been stoically whiling away their boredom and terror in WWI’s French trenches in typically British fashion: What say we take these raw ingredients we have at our disposal, chaps: all that gin and lemon juice and sugar, and, oh, why yes—champagne!—here in the trenches. How clever! Let’s throw it all into that wicked French 75 shell and give a little shake, shall we? Presto, change-o, the French 75 was born.
Unlikely, but entertaining. But the other origin stories are no less mythical: that it was Charles Dickens who created it back during his reading tour of the States in 1867, holding court in his room at Boston’s Parker House with “tom gin and champagne cups. (A champagne cup is bubbly, sugar, citrus, and ice. Throw in the Tom gin and you pretty much have a French 75.) Or it first appeared in 1927, during the height of Prohibition—appearing in a bit of bootlegger’s samizdat called Here’s How! (put out by a New York humor magazine). (It solidified its place among American dipsomaniacs in 1942, when one of the characters, Yvonne, orders a round of French 75s in Casablanca.)
Even the legendary cocktail inventor Harry MacElhone, mixologist extraordinaire and bartender at Harry’s New York Bar, whom many credit as having invented the drink, tried to set the record straight in his 1919 book, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, saying it wasn’t he who invented the drink but a bartender named MacGarry of Buck’s Club in London. MacGarry, says MacElhone, basically made a Tom Collins—gin, lemon, sugar, and soda water. Only he’d switched out the soda for champagne.
And so now the debate isn’t so much over the origins of the French 75 as the proper French 75: gin or cognac? (Or vodka? Or even tequila?) Model Kate Moss prefers vodka, which she has dubbed the French 76 and orders liberally at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz in Paris. “My drink,” she told Playboy, “is the French 76, which is vodka, lemon juice, and sugar topped with champagne. Love! Two of those and you’re like, ‘Oh, life is amazing.”
No matter which way you prefer it, it’s one helluva drink. “The most powerful drink in the world,” according to the late novelist Alec Waugh.
At Santa Fe Spirits, here’s how we make this most powerful drink in the world with a uniquely New Mexican flare:
Preparation: Combine gin, syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne glass. Top up with champagne. Stir gently.
Drinkware: Champagne flute
And the Oscar goes to…
Join Us for Our Annual Holiday Party
Kick off the holidays in style this year with the annual Santa Fe Spirits holiday party at the Distillery. It just so happens December 5 is the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, so you have two reasons to celebrate.
Ok, you actually have more reasons than that. The holiday party is a great excuse to stop driving around town looking for gifts for the inlaws and have a world-class cocktail. Come to think of it, you can have a cocktail and get some shopping done. ‘Cause your inlaws would probably rather have a nice bottle from Santa Fe Spirits than another sweater.
Where: Santa Fe Spirits Distillery, 7505 Mallard Way, Santa Fe, NM 87507 (Behind Tractor Supply @ Airport and 599)
James Bond Had It All Wrong - A Short Treatise on Martinis
November 11, 2015
If you’re a James Bond fan, you know that Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever. OK, you can make a case for Sean Connery, but no other Bond has shown the depth of character that Craig has. That still doesn’t mean he can mess up the Martini and get a pass.
Yes, that’s right, James Bond doesn’t know how to order a Martini. Any self-respecting mixologist will tell you that. Shaking is generally reserved for drinks with citrus, dairy or egg in them – the shaking process chills the liquid considerably, which can lessen the perceived sweetness of the drink. It also aerates and dilutes the drink.
With a drink like a Martini, with delicate herbal flavors in the gin, you don’t want to dilute and lose the flavors. You also don’t want to ruin the presentation with air bubbles. You want a nice, clean, crisp cocktail.
*on a side note, in the 007 books, Bond actually drinks a Vesper, which does have citrus. This fact somehow never makes it into the movies.
Things to do in Santa Fe: Cask-Strength Release Party
Whiskey aficionados have come to love balanced sweet and smokey flavor of our award-winning Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey. Now they’re demanding more. We aim to please, so we’re giving it to them.
Join us Friday, November 20 from 5-8 p.m. to celebrate the release of a special Cask Strength Colkegan. This high-proof spirit comes straight from the barrel at 118 proof, higher than the 92 proof of our regular Colkegan release. That means you get more of the flavor you love.
As an added bonus, those who buy Cask Strength Colkegan from the distillery can bottle their own Colkegan directly from the barrel. That’s right, you can put a bottle up to the spigot on the barrel, turn the lever and fill it up yourself! Ok, we do have to supervise to make sure you fill to the proper volume and then seal the bottle, but you can tell all your friends you bottle it yourself. (they never have to know.)
The party will also have some new specialty cocktails, finger foods and even some prizes!
What: Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan Cask Strength Release Party
Where: Santa Fe Spirits Distillery, 7505 Mallard Way, SF, NM 87507. We’re just behind Tractor Supply on Airport Rd. & 599. Call 505-467-8892 for more info
When: Friday, November 20, 2015. 5-8 p.m.
Things to do in Santa Fe: Slow Burn Launch Party
We’re having a party! Come celebrate with us at the distillery August 21 as we roll out our new Slow Burn smoked gin liqueur. We will have:
Live music from Greg Butera and the Gunsels
Specialty cocktails with Slow Burn smoked gin liqueur
what: Slow Burn Release Party
when: Aug. 21 7-9 p.m.
where: Santa Fe Spirits Distillery, 7505 Mallard Way, SF, NM 87507 (behind Tractor Supply on Airport Road)
We know it can be hard to find your favorite Santa Fe Spirits concoctions outside of New Mexico sometimes. We are now distributed in seven states, but that leaves plenty of territory in the US that doesn’t have your beloved Wheeler’s, Colkegan, etc. Luckily, we are able to sell online and ship to more than half of the United States through our webstore. https://santafespirits.com/shop. Because regulations for each state vary, please check below to see if we can ship to your state. Also note that it is much cheaper to ship two or three bottles than just a single bottle. Just sayin’.
We cannot ship to the following:
PO Boxes or APO Addresses.
We do not ship internationally.
We reserve the right to ask for proof of identity before processing an order. We use proof of age shipping. All orders from Santa Fe Spirits must be received and signed for by an adult who is age 21 or over. No delivery or refunds for people under 21!
June Was a Great Month for Press!
July 1, 2015
You all know we’ve been doing some pretty cool things here at Santa Fe Spirits. The first half of 2015 has seen some great successes, with multiple awards, growing sales, more staff and a myriad of other things. This June we have had no fewer than 9 write ups in national, regional and local publications. Here a just a few of the highlights:
2015 Best of Category from American Distilling Institute
Colkegan Wins 2015 Gold Medal from American Distiller’s Institute
May 28, 2015
SANTA FE, NM – Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey has staked its place as one of the best American whiskies with the American Distiller’s Institute. Hand-made in small batches in Santa Fe, New Mexico,Colkeganearned a gold medal at the competition, which attracts the best spirits from both craft and major distilleries in the U.S.
Colkegan is a Southwestern interpretation of a Scotch, but uses mesquite smoked grain instead of peat for a uniquely smoked flavor with a sweet, mellow finish of vanilla and chocolate. The rating makes Colkegan the second ranked American whiskey.
The award is the third major prize in 2015 for Santa Fe Spirits, the maker of Colkegan. Earlier this year Whisky Magazine in the UK awarded Colkegan its prestigious Editor’s Choice Award over 30+ other whiskies from around the world, while the Ultimate Spirits Challenge gave Colkegan 94 points, also earning second best American whiskey.
About Santa Fe Spirits:Santa Fe Spirits is the only distillery in Santa Fe and the largest distillery in New Mexico. The company began in 2010 when owner and then-architect Colin Keegan started makingApple Brandyfrom the fruit on his four-acre orchard. While the brandy aged, he releasedSilver Coyotesingle-malt white whiskey and thenExpedition Vodka. The company’sWheeler’s Western Dry Gin, reminiscent of the desert after a rain, is a new style of gin made with cholla cactus blossoms, juniper, desert sage, osha root and local hops that are all sourced near the distillery.
Santa Fe Spirits offers tours of its distillery, including a tasting of all five of its spirits, three days a week. The company also operates a tasting room in downtown Santa Fe that is acclaimed for its excellent cocktails and relaxed Santa Fe vibe. Monthly whiskey and cocktail classes educate and entertain patrons.
Santa Fe Spirits new Atapiño Liqueur Celebrates Mountain West
May 20, 2015
SANTA FE, NM (for immediate release)
Santa Fe Spirits, New Mexico’s largest distillery, has released a new liqueur that pays homage to the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains that hover over town. The new liqueur, called Atapiño, is made from local ingredients like piñon nuts and ponderosa pine resin.
Atapiño was inspired by the smells head distiller John Jeffery encountered while trail running on Atalaya Mountain near town. Lower on the mountain, piñon trees and their tasty nuts, crowd the steep slopes. Santa Feans buy the nuts from roadside vendors all over town and take them home and roast them and eat them as a tasty treat. The aroma given off while roasting is devine.
Santa Fe Spirits roasts the piñon nuts and puts them into a barrel to soak in Silver Coyote single malt white whiskey for two months to extract the essence of the piñon.
At the top of Atalaya mountain, nearly 2,000 feet above Santa Fe, ponderosa trees sway in the breeze. Their resin also gives off scents of vanilla and pine. Jeffery collected this resin and used it to sweeten Atapiño and give it the flavor of the Mountain West. The result is a liqueur that truly encapsulates the territory of Santa Fe in a bottle.
38% alcohol by volume
Local piñon nuts are soaked in Silver Coyote single malt white whiskey
Soaked for 2 months in a new oak barrel
Sweetened with hand-collected ponderosa pine resin and sugar
Available only in 375 milliliter bottles
Extremely limited, seasonal release
First run is available only through Santa Fe Spirits tasting rooms
MSRP in New Mexico is $30
2 days, 2 nights: Soaking up the Culture of Santa Fe
Q&A With John Jeffery of Santa Fe Spirits on Whiskey Reviewer
The Southwest Jewel – Santa Fe
Whiskey Magazine Tasting Notes and Review 2015
Santa Fe Distillery Scores High in National Spirits Competition
American Booze Hall of Fame: The Best Spirits of the West
7 Craft Whiskey Distilleries You Can Buy Directly From Online
Santa Fe Spirits receives 94 out of 100 in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2015 for Colkegan Whiskey
Silver Coyote Pure Malt White Whiskey Review
Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey Earns 94 Points at Ultimate Spirits Challenge
March 26, 2015
SANTA FE, NM – Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey has staked its place as one of the best American whiskies at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Hand-made in small batches in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Colkegan earned 94 points at the competition, which touts itself as one of the premier spirits contests.
Colkegan is a Southwestern interpretation of a Scotch, but uses mesquite smoked grain instead of peat for a uniquely smoked flavor with a sweet, mellow finish of vanilla and chocolate. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC) judges gave the whiskey a coveted “Excellent, Highly Recommend” along with the 94 (of 100) point rating. The rating makes Colkegan the second ranked American whiskey.
USC tasting notes included: “The smoke is obvious, but it’s a sweeter and meatier smoke than one gets from peated whiskies. The spirit shines through a bit more in the mouth, then the smoke comes back and finally the… finish cleans the palate for the next sip.”
The award is the second major prize in 2015 for Santa Fe Spirits, the maker of Colkegan. Earlier this year Whisky Magazine in the UK awarded Colkegan its prestigious Editor’s Choice Award over 30+ other whiskies from around the world.
About Santa Fe Spirits: Santa Fe Spirits is the only distillery in Santa Fe and the largest distillery in New Mexico. The company began in 2010 when owner and then-architect Colin Keegan started making Apple Brandy from the fruit on his four-acre orchard. While the brandy aged, he released Silver Coyote single-malt white whiskey and then Expedition Vodka. The company’s Wheeler’s Western Dry Gin, reminiscent of the desert after a rain, is a new style of gin made with cholla cactus blossoms, juniper, desert sage, osha root and local hops that are all sourced near the distillery.
Santa Fe Spirits offers tours of its distillery, including a tasting of all five of its spirits, three days a week. The company also operates a tasting room in downtown Santa Fe that is acclaimed for its excellent cocktails and relaxed Santa Fe vibe. Monthly whiskey and cocktail classes educate and entertain patrons.
Join the Santa Fe Spirits Society!
March 18, 2015
We appreciate all your support and want to reward you for it. The Santa Fe Spirits Society is for those who love Santa Fe Spirits cocktails and liquor and want to celebrate it! The $45 annual membership pays for itself with just t-shirt, tour and one free shipping on a web order. Discounts on drinks and merchandise is all gravy after that. Membership has its privileges, which are listed below:
· Club Shirt (I drink whiskey like it’s my job shirt- with Santa Fe Spirits Society on it)
· Society membership card
· 10% off every purchase (may not be used with any other offers or discounts)
· Priority access to new bottlings, merchandise and promotions
· FREE distillery tour and tasting
· Prizes (tbd)
· VIP events at distillery
· 10% off online orders with promo code
· ALWAYS FREE shipping on orders over $75 with promo code
Fine print: Discount and privileges are good for members only. No buying your friends discounted drinks, you hear? Lost cards can be replaced at the distillery during office hours (8-5) for $5. The information on this disclaimer varies slightly from the membership card and is the final say in how the club membership works.
Head to the distillery or the Downtown tasting room, fill out the enrollment form and pay membership fee to complete the sign-up process and signify that you understand all of the conditions of this agreement.
We’re Hiring: Looking for Amazing Tasting Room/Event Manager
March 12, 2015
Do you love the service industry, but crave something with a little more edge? Santa Fe Spirits, New Mexico’s premier craft distillery, has a bar management position with a twist; not only will you be running two tasting rooms, you will be learning about distilling, leading tours and bringing our spirits out of our tasting rooms to events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. If it’s hip and happening we want to be there! We view managing our tasting rooms as a cocktail blended from fabulous customer service skills along with coaching, problem solving and innovation, with a garnish of paperwork, planning and details.
If you’re someone who loves a job that brings new challenges every day, who’s great at scheduling and budgets and able to maintain a sunny disposition even as the multiple balls you’re juggling fall down around you, who has restaurant or bar management experience but is dreaming of something a little more exciting than pouring the same old glass of wine and soothing a customer who’s steak was overcooked, then consider Santa Fe Spirits.
At Santa Fe Spirits we value people for their ideas and perspectives, for their ability to get the job done and work with the team. If you are the perfect candidate you will have at least four years in management experience to bring to the table, as well as being smart, creative, flexible and willing to roll up your sleeves and get it done!
We believe that the only way for Santa Fe Spirits to win in the marketplace is for us to hire the best people in the industry. Intrigued? Send your resume and a brief essay explaining how your experience and passion relate to what we’re doing to caitlin(at)santafespirits.com.
The Best Bars in Santa Fe
March 10, 2015
There is no shortage of places to order a glass of wine or a beer on tap in Santa Fe. And we need those places. But a really good bar should also have really good cocktails, too. From Cosmos to Collins, good bars should stock good booze and know how to mix a mean drink. Here are our choices for some of the best in Santa Fe:
(*Full disclosure – we put ourselves on this list. It’s our blog, but we also feel we’re part of the conversation about Santa Fe’s burgeoning cocktail scene.)
If you’re looking for something a little different from you standard bar, Santa Fe Spirits Downtown Tasting Room is it. Step through the front door and it’s like you’re in someone’s living room. It’s quaint, relaxing and the cocktails are damn tasty. Santa Fe Spirits only sells the stuff it makes, which in this case is a good thing because their stuff is delicious. The cocktails are creative, well executed and cover a range of tastes – from Cosmo to whiskey neat.
Secreto is known for its creative cocktails and master mixologist Chris Milligan. If you want something creative, this is the place. But it’s also a nice place to have a quiet drink downtown, even if it’s a beer or a whiskey on the rocks.
Agave, inside the Eldorado Hotel, is a swank space that is modern yet comfortable. They have an extensive wine list and impressive selection of whiskies, too. Most impressive, however, is their happy hour. For about $10, you can get a drink and an appetizer from the happy hour menu – impressively it runs until 7 every night.
Del Charro is regularly in the running for best margarita in Santa Fe. That’s no small feat in a town where everyone claims to have the Holy Grail margarita. This place is always busy with a nice mix of locals and tourists, yet the vibe is pretty laid back. You’re just as likely to see someone drinking a draft beer as a fancy sherry/apple brandy cocktail.
This small boutique hotel just off the plaza has a quaint bar that has been quietly making some of the best drinks in town for years. James Reis is another standout bartender in Santa Fe and he lets his drinks do the talking. This is a nice place to rest after perusing the vendors at Palace of the Governors, or before your dinner reservations.
Most of the places on this list are quiet places to enjoy a good drink and conversation. El Farol is not that, and that’s a good thing. This is a great place to watch some Flamenco dancing or live music, maybe dance with your partner, and then enjoy a cocktail. There’s a reason this place has been around for decades.
Junction is a bit of an anomaly in downtown Santa Fe – a sports bar. It also has parking, chicken wings and is open late, which has made it the go-to destination for Santa Fe’s downtown restaurant and bar workers. They have a good tap list and serve some good cocktails, too.
Things to do in Santa Fe: Cocktail Dinner with Georgia Restaurant
Like good food and good cocktails? Then join us at Georgia Santa Fe March 10 for an incredible celebration of gourmet grub and craft cocktails. The skilled chefs at Georgia are preparing some amazing dishes for the meal that will be paired with custom cocktails that compliment the food. Sound good? Call Georgia now for reservations! (505) 989-4367
Check out this menu!
How Your Whiskey is Made: The Fine Art of Sipping, Smelling and Blending
January 27, 2015
While making whiskey may look easy on TV(I promise we’re nothing like those dudes on “Moonshiners”), there is an art to crafting a spirit that pleases discerning palates. And there is an even finer art in creating a product that is consistently excellent like our Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey.
The challenge is that every batch and even every barrel of whiskey is different. One batch of grain could be different from the last or themaltster might have smoked it slightly differently this time. The yeast might act differently in the fermenter. But more often than not, these variables are generally constant.
The biggest variance in the whiskey usually comes from the barrels it is aged in. Each barrel is unique. One may have slightly more char on the inside, or be slightly more porous than a barrel from the same facility. Each tree used to make the barrels is unique, as are people or snowflakes, so this is to be expected.
But this presents many challenges to the distiller. Out of several barrels of whiskey, each is unique after two-plus years of aging. Some barrels allow more evaporation (the famed ‘Angel’s Share’) and some impart different flavors. We can’t sell single barrel bottlings because the finished product would never be consistent. It would probably still be extremely tasty, but our fans want to know the bottle they buy this month is the same as the bottle they bought a few months ago.
What we do is combine individual barrels to match the flavor profile of previous batches of Colkegan. This is where the art comes in. Finding a blend that is consistent is no easy task. OK, it’s not unpleasant work, but it’s not easy. Essentially Johnny, our head distiller, and Noya, the assistant distiller, sample each barrel, looking (er, tasting) for the characteristics needed for a batch of Colkegan. They need enough smokiness to come through the aroma and initial taste. They need the sweetness of finish that we are known for with Colkegan. On top of that as our whiskey stock ages there is an evolution of flavors that we’re working toward, so it’s a balance of retaining what we love about previous batches while allowing it to continue to age. It takes a well trained, and sensitive, palate.
Some barrels smell amazing, but don’t have the finish we need. Some finish very well on the palate, but lack the aroma or smokiness to match our signature style. The most recent batch of Colkegan took almost three weeks to blend. It used nine barrels to get the flavor and aroma profiles just right. (To contrast, the previous batch used eight barrels and the one before that was four.) That was a lot of tasting and a lot of notes.
Jan. 15 Book Signing at Downtown Tasting Room
Interested in learning more about the spirits world? Come join us Thursday, Jan 15 for a book signing with James Rodewald, author of “American Spirit, An Exploration of the Craft Distilling Revolution” at 5 p.m. in the Downtown Tasting Room. Copies of the book will be for sale and, as always, we’ll be serving the best cocktails in town.
Drink Distiller Review of Colkegan Whiskey
The Gin is In Review of Wheelers Western Dry Gin
Wheeler’s Western Dry Gin from Santa Fe Spirits captures the essence of place through the use of many botanicals native to New Mexico, and of importance to New Mexico heritage. For example, the Osha root[known to Native peoples’ as Bear Root, so-called as legend says it was discovered by observing a bear consuming it] is a local medicine, historically used for aches. Then take the Cholla cactus, whose blossoms are reputed to have a faintly “cucumber” like flavor. Throw in sage [the aroma of the desert] and juniper, each individually distilled, then combined, and you have a distinctly New Mexican gin. Read the article
‘Tis the Season for Holiday Cocktails
December 23, 2014
Looking to wow your guests this holiday season? Look no further! Last week, Santa Fe Spirits tasting room manager Molly Norton taught a class on holiday themed cocktails to make at home for your family and friends. Here we will share a selection of recipes with you for your holiday gatherings! Corrupt Candy Cane 1 750 ml bottle of Expedition Vodka 4 regular sized candy canes 1 large Mason jar Crush candy canes until they are in small pieces, pour into Mason jar. Add Expedition Vodka. Cover jar and shake (candy canes will start to dissolve). Pour back into vodka bottle (optional). Infused vodka will stay for up to one month. 1 cup vodka ½ cup sugar ½ cup water 1 tsp peppermint extract 1 large Mason Jar Combine the water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. When the sugar is totally dissolved, remove from heat and let cool. Pour the simple syrup into a jar and add the vodka, and the peppermint extract. Seal the jar and shake well until the ingredients are combined. 1 ½ oz candycane infused vodka ½ oz peppermint schnapps 1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder 4 oz hot water Whipped cream (optional) Black onyx sugar Pour candy cane infused vodka, peppermint schnapps, cocoa powder and hot water into mug. Stir, garnish with fresh whipped cream and sprinkle with black onyx sugar on top.
Luminaria 1 cup agave syrup 1 cup water 1 bunch fresh rosemary Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and cool before use. Syrup can stay in refrigerator for up to one month. 2 oz Wheelers Gin ½- 1 oz Rosemary agave simple syrup 4 oz hot water Juice of ½ a lemon Honey powder (for rim) Rim mug with honey powder. Add Wheelers Gin, simple syrup, lemon and hot water. Stir. Garnish with lemon wedge.
Winter Spiced OldFashioned 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 2 tbsp chai spices 1 tbsp honey Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and cool before use. Syrup will keep fresh up to a month in the refrigerator.
Spiced Old Fashioned 2 oz Colkegan Whiskey ½ oz chai simple syrup 2 dashes barrel aged whiskey bitters 2 orange slices 2 Luxardo cherries 3 oz soda water Directions: Squeeze orange slice and place in bottom of mixing glass with 1 cherry, bitters and chai simple syrup. Muddle. Add ice. Add Colkegan Whiskey. Shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with orange slice and Luxardo cherry.
Enjoy the Holiday Season with Santa Fe Spirits! We wish you Happy Holidays!
Spirit Tasting at Whole Foods Market on Wyoming and Academy
We will have a spirit tasting from 4:00 pm. to 6 pm at Whole Foods Market on Wyoming and Academy in Albuquerque on Friday, December 19th. Come out and try some of our award winning spirits!
Spirit Tasting at Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor
We will have a spirit tasting from 4:00 pm. to 6 pm at Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor in Pojoaque Friday, December 19th. Come out and try some of our award winning spirits!
Tasting Rooms Closed 12/16
Our tasting rooms will be closed December 16th for our staff Holiday Party.
Kaune’s Spirit Tasting
We will have a spirit tasting at Kaune’s Market Thursday Dec. 18th from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Come by and taste our award winning spirits!
2014 Silver Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition
2014 Gold Medal from the Telluride Colorado Distillery Tasting
2014 Gold Medal from the Telluride Colorado Distillery Tasting
2014 Double Gold from The Fifty Best
2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge
A rating of 83 in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge for our Wheeler’s Gin with a review of recommended and great for use in a martini and negroni.
December 3, 2014
The tradition of aging whiskey in barrels dates back centuries, but where did this tradition originally come from? When was it that someone had the idea of putting alcohol in wooden casks to improve the flavor? It turns out that when barrels were first used to store spirits or wine, it was not because people wanted to add oak flavor to the alcohol. In fact, they had no idea that the use of barrels would affect the liquid inside at all.
The use of barrels as a form of storage can be dated back to the Celts circa 350 B.C. The technique of bending wood was most likely borrowed from boat building and barrels were used because they were very strong and could withstand wear and tear. They were also able to be rolled around and stacked tightly. Barrels would be used to transport anything from liquids to metals to food that needed to be preserved, such as fish or olives. At this point, it would be a waste to get rid of the barrels so they were reused to transport again. However, you don’t really want your olives tasting fishy (or maybe you do) or your whiskey tasting of sulfur so a method of charring the inside of the barrels was adopted.
By lighting the inside of the barrel on fire, people were able to burn off the innermost layer of wood and discard the flavors that layer had acquired. Then the barrel could be used to transport something else without risk of contamination.
But something kind of great began to take shape as a result of using barrels for transportation and storage. It was found that the longer the distance a whiskey would go, the longer it would be in a barrel, and the darker it would become. Suddenly, it was realized that whiskey tasted better when it came out of a barrel than when it went in. This was partly a result of the oak imparting vanilla and nutmeg notes to the whiskey, and partly the charred inside of the barrel adding another level of filtration as well as a smoky element.
At Santa Fe Spirits we barrel age our Colkegan Mesquite Smoked Single Malt Whiskey in American white oak barrels. A certain percentage is aged in new oak, meaning that the oak flavors will be very strong in the finished whiskey. The rest is aged in barrels that have already been used once to age Bourbon Whiskey. The flavors from the oak in these are much weaker, meaning the whiskey will still pick up some great color and some flavor, but the mesquite smoke that we put on the barley when it is malted will remain much more apparent. When bottled, the Colkegan is a marriage of both old and new barrels, giving it the perfect flavor profile we are looking for.
It looks like we have the Celts to thank for the longstanding tradition of barrel aging whiskey, and boy, can we ever thank them enough?
QB’s Spirit Tasting in Pojoaque
We will be having a Santa Fe Spirits Tasting at QB’s Liquor Store Friday Dec. 12 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come by and check out our award winning spirits if your in the area!
New York Times Mention - 36 Hours in Santa Fe, Visit the Tasting Room
November 27, 2014
Aficionados will also want to toddle a few blocks south to the tasting room of Santa Fe Spirits, established in 2010. Two to try: the gin, infused with sage and osha root, and the unaged malt whiskey, surprisingly complex and tequila-like. Read the article…
11 holiday gifts for alcohol drinkers by Fortune Magazine
November 24, 2014
This kit is meant to allow consumers to age their own whiskey in about four weeks (a sliver of time compared to the aging process for most major brands.) This is how it works: you’ll take two bottles of Silver Coyote whiskey, pour it into the barrel and after a month, it’ll be ready to drink. Santa Fe says the whiskey will even have the color of a typical 12-year spirit. The barrel can be used up to eight times (though each subsequent use will take a little longer as the whiskey is pulling flavors from the oak each time it ages). $99; santafespirits.com
Cocktails to Keep you Warm this Winter
November 12, 2014
With the temperature dropping to the low 30’s this November day and snow on its way this weekend, its time to share some of our favorite Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy cocktails that are guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.
Spiced Apple Toddy
What’s better than a hot toddy to keep you warm on those cold winter nights?
Heat the apple cider on the stove or in the microwave until it is as hot as you’d like it. Pour 2 1/2 ounces of Apple Brandy into a mug and fill with hot cider. Add a cinnamon stick, lemon wedge, and a dusting of cinnamon to finish it off!
Santa Fe Sidecar
This classically inspired cocktail can be great in both the winter and the summer. You will need:
Coat the rim of a highball glass with sugar and fill with ice. Pour in 2 1/2 ounces of Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy and then fill to the top with the fresh lime margarita mix. Garnish with a lime and enjoy.
This drink takes its inspiration from a dark and stormy and has the awesome combination of the heat of the brandy and the spice of the ginger beer.
Fill a collins glass with ice. Pour 2 1/2 ounces of Apple Brandy over the ice and then fill to the top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.
No matter which cocktial you choose to make with our Apple Brandy we are positive it will keep you warm this cold winter season. And when in doubt, this brandy can also be perfect when served neat. Yum!
For more information about our brandy and the story behind it’s creation.. check out last week’s blog post: The Apple Brandy Story
Santa Fe Reporter Pop Up Dinner at Santa Fe Spirits (VIDEO)
November 6, 2014
On Thursday, October 2nd, we teamed up with the Santa Fe Reporter to host a pop-up dinner in our barrel room! Guests were treated to food prepared by chef Xavier Grenet of L’Olivier restaurant in Santa Fe, paired with delicious Santa Fe Spirits cocktails. View for yourself how much fun everyone had at this event!
The Apple Brandy Story
November 5, 2014
Many people know that our Apple Brandy was the catalyst for starting Santa Fe Spirits as a company. Our company’s owners, the Keegans, live in an amazingly beautiful part of Santa Fe called Tesuque. This valley houses the tesuque river and is by far one of the most luscious and vibrant parts of our desert city. Now, in Tesuque the Keegans own an apple orchard and several years ago they began inviting friends over to pick and press apples, sending all of them home with more apple juice than they could hold. The idea to make apple cider and then distill brandy was born from the great juice they could produce from the New Mexico apples.
At this point it was time to start distilling for real and Santa Fe Spirits was born. Now, Brandy isn’t a spirit that many people know that much about so lets start with the basics. Brandy, by definition, is a spirit fermented and distilled from fruit. Because we already had an awesome local apple supply, this seemed the clear choice. However, once you choose your fruit base there are several directions you can take. We decided to go with the Calvados method (Calvados is a brandy made in the Calvados region of France and as such nothing made outside that region can carry the Calvados name), but with a bit of our own twist on it. Calvados brandy is a spirit made from the juice of a fruit. This means that only juice and yeast are put into the fermenters and we leave out the skins and seeds. Calvados also means that there is no sugar added to the brandy. Our Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy is very dry, not like a sweet dessert brandy that may be seen more often. In the use of the juice and the lack of sugar we stayed true to the Calvados style. However, we began to shift when it came to the again of the spirit. Brandy is traditionally aged in huge barrels (up to 900 gallons) for many years. Our brandy is aged in 25 gallon barrels for ten months. There are two reasons for this choice. One, it is just faster. In order to gout our brandy out with the taste we wanted, the use of smaller barrels was a much more logical option. As a micro-distillery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 900 gallon barrels are difficult to come by. In a smaller barrel a higher percentage of the liquid touches the wood, meaning that it needs less aging time overall. The second reason was that we wanted a more oak forward profile on our brandy. If you’ve ever tried out brandy you will find that you don’t taste the apple right away but rather will get more of an apple aftertaste following a vanilla allspice blush from the oak. Where Calvados brandies traditionally smell very sweet, ours will be much more oak forward on the nose, reminiscent of a whiskey with the fruity notes much more subdued.
Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy is perfect for desserts as well as sitting by the fire on a crisp November (or any winter month) evening. We encourage you to try it out at one of our tasting rooms and maybe take a bottle home to share with family for the holidays!
It’s Time for Creepy… Crawly.. Cocktails?
October 30, 2014
Halloween is a time for ghosts, for vampires, for costumes, and lets face it… for cocktails. As you get older Halloween gets less about trick or treating (they wouldn’t give you any candy anyway) and more about dressing up and having a good time with your friends.
Now, you probably don’t want to be drinking blood this Halloween, but you can definitely still have spooky themed cocktails that will put you in the holiday spirit. Here at Santa Fe Spirits we wanted to take a look at some fun cocktails that we could put our own twist on while keeping them delicious.
This cocktail is based on a classic, the Whiskey Sour
In a pint glass combine 2 ounces of Colkegan Whiskey, half a fresh squeezed lemon, half a fresh squeezed lime, and a dash of orange juice. Shake over ice and pour into a rocks glass. Drip cherry syrup down the sides of the glass for a spooky (and sweet) addition to this Halloween themed classic.
Combine 2 ounces of Apple Brandy and 2 ounces of simple syrup in a pint glass and shake over ice. Serve up in a martini glass with a pumpkin pie spice sugar rim.
To make the simple syrup combing equal parts cream caramel sauce and boiling water in a pint glass and stir to dissolve. Add sea salt until you reach a salted caramel taste you like.
No matter what your holiday plans are, try spicing (and spooking) up your cocktails with some had crafted spirits from Santa Fe Spirits. Or join us for an awesome Halloween party at our downtown tasting room!
Santa Fe Spirits Moves South
October 22, 2014
There are so many awesome ways to create new versions of classic drinks, and by using craft specialty spirits we can bring high quality unique cocktails to you right here in Santa Fe. Come visit our tasting room to try either of the awesome new drinks!
Top 25 Cities in the World: Readers’ Choice Awards 2014 SANTA FE
October 21, 2014
Readers’ Rating: 82.137 Santa Fe has the charming downtown lined with adobe buildings and art galleries, but we enjoy the city because “it shows off a different side of American history,” says contributing digital editor Lilit Marcus. To experience that Hispanic and Native American heritage, visit the Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill, and the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis, which inspired Willa Cather’s iconic novelDeath Comes for the Archbishop. Chow down on enchiladas from The Shed and biscochito cookies from The Chocolate Maven paired with coffee from the quirky closet-sized Holy Spirit Espresso, then make sure your day ends at Santa Fe Spirits’ new tasting room.
Still on the Hill
Santa Fe Spirits will be heading to Still on the Hill spirits festival in Breckenridge, Colorado next weekend! Make sure to come check it out and taste some great spirits from us as well as other Western micro-distilleries!
Get Into the Spirits, Local Flavor October 2014
The Local Flavor Buzz, October 2014
October 8, 2014
More expansion news for Santa Fe Spirits. Their downtown tasting room at 308 Read Street has officially opened an outdoor patio, adding 12 seats and an outdoor space to the popular tasting room. And a big welcome to new head distiller John Jeffery, who joined in September. He has designed and produced spirits for more than 15 start-up spirits companies, including whiskies (white and aged), gins, vodka, liqueurs, rums, agave-based spirits and others. Kudos to owner Colin Keegan, tasting room manager Molly Norton and the team for their success in bringing artisanal spirits and hand-crafted cocktails to the community. We lift a glass of your Apple Brandy in a toast! Or maybe Colkegan or Silver Coyote Whiskey? Oh, the tyranny of choice! See the entire Buzz here.
Tours and Tastings
Santa Fe Spirits will be offering Tours of our distillery and Tastings of our spirits this week:
Wednesday-Thursday: 1-6 p.m. Every Hour.
Friday-Saturday: 3 - 7 p.m. Every Hour.
Please Call ahead to schedule your tour today! (505) 467-8892
The tour and tasting package costs $10 per person.
Muddle the basil, cherries, sugar and orange together in a pint glass. Add ice, and Silver Coyote Whiskey and bitters. Shake and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Add and cherry and orange garnish.
The Angel’s Get Their Share
October 8, 2014
Have you ever wondered about the overwhelming alcohol smell that hits you the minute you walk into a barrel aging room? If you don’t know what I am talking about, I highly suggest you make a visit to our Santa Fe Spirits distillery at 7505 Mallard Way, even if it is for the sole purpose of walking into the barrel room and breathing deeply. Although you really don’t need to breathe deeply. This smell is one of those ones that hits you full on, the kind that you feel not only in your nostrils, but all over your body. This smell is a force capable of knocking you right over. But of course, in the best way possible.
The truth is, all you are smelling is the evaporated alcohol present in the air. All liquids evaporate and alcohol is not exception, but in such a small and confined space, the results are far more obvious.
The whiskey (or brandy etc.) that is hanging out in the air above our barrels, and the barrels in any other aging room, has a unique name. It is called the Angel’s Share.
Now why this name has come into common use is not clear today, but the fact that barrels let out a fairly large amount of evaporated alcohol is very clear. Oak wood has many wonderful flavors and an incredible color that it brings to an aged spirit. The wood is also very porous. This allows for oxygen to enter the barrel, which is good, but also for alcohol to leave the barrel, which is not as good. While the oxygen will serve to improve the flavor and color of the spirit, it will also lead to a much smaller quantity of the finished product.
However, the story does not end there. All spirits contain a certain percentage of water and therefore some of the loss is not alcohol at all. At higher humidity levels, more alcohol is lost and less water. At lower humidity levels, more water is lost and less alcohol. In total about 2% of the liquid in the barrel is lost per year, which for a longer aged spirit, can mean up to half of the barrel will be lost by the time the whiskey is bottled.
In the very dry climate of Santa Fe New Mexico, our Apple Brandy as well as our Colkegan Whiskey risk a very high rate of evaporation. There are, or course, other quicker ways of aging a spirit but here at Santa Fe Spirits we believe that only years in an oak cask will lead to the perfectly smooth and rounded flavor that we want to provide to our customers. Now as for those angels… it is said that they spend their time watching over us. I suppose they could probably use a dram or two.
“To the average citizen, a barrel is simply “a barrel,” and he rarely thinks of the important part it plays in many industries of to-day. He never stops to think how seriously trade would be handicapped if the barrel supply were suddenly to give out. But a moment’s thought will serve to convince the most skeptical that the “homely barrel” is a more important factor in industry than it is sometimes credited with being.” J. B. Wagner,
Santa Fe Spirits was founded by Colin Keegan in 2010 with the goal of becoming the Southwest's pre-eminent artisan distillery. With products ranging from silver whiskey to barrel-aged apple brandy, Santa Fe Spirits is a relatively small distillery proud to be producing exceptional spirits designed to capture and accentuate the essence of the southwest.