Cocktails from the Land of Enchantment
by Linda Stewart
The definition of enchantment is to charm, allure, or captivate. With New Mexico’s scenic desert landscapes, its Native American, European, and Mexican diverse populations, and the state’s rich history and architecture, the moniker of “The Land of Enchantment” is well-deserved. I was especially enchanted by the New Mexico towns of Taos and Santa Fe when I attended an International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association conference in the area.
I found the cocktails in New Mexico to be enchanting, too. The Rolling Still Distillery in Taos handcrafts vodka from an artesian spring in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The Rolling Still Lounge in downtown Taos offers craft cocktails and small plates. I was intrigued by the ingredients and the vibrant color of their signature cocktail Violet Fog. Mixologist Timmie Hoffman graciously shared her cocktail recipe with me. Butterfly pea blossom tea adds an earthy flavor and the pretty color. This cocktail begins with a dry shake — vigorously shaking the raw egg white without ice for about 15 seconds. This froths the egg white without diluting it so it can incorporate with the other ingredients. If you’re concerned about eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized egg whites. Butterfly pea blossom tea contains anti-oxidants and is caffeine-free. The color changes from deep blue to purple depending on the pH level. Steep 1-½ tsp. of dried tea flowers in 8 ounces of hot water; cool to room temperature before adding to cocktail.
1 egg white
2 oz. lavender infused vodka
1 oz. honey simple syrup*
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
A few drops of butterfly pea blossom tea
Pour egg white into cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds (dry shake). Fill shaker with ice and add rest of ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass (a bell-shaped glass named after the detective duo Nick and Nora Charles). Makes one cocktail.
*Honey simple syrup: Place 1 cup water and 1 cup honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat; cool. Store in covered container; refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 weeks.
In New Mexico’s capital city of Santa Fe, I stayed at the exquisite La Fonda Hotel in the heart of downtown on the historic Santa Fe Plaza. This charming Southwest American architecture hotel has luxurious accommodations with a lovely artistic craftmanship décor and stunning original artwork. The hotel’s La Fiesta Lounge has a lively atmosphere and is the place to go for food, music, and cocktails. My favorite cocktail was the Rhubarb Old Fashioned, and their director of marketing, Britta Andersson, was kind enough to send me the following information on the recipe:
La Fiesta Lounge is Santa Fe’s destination for local music and distinct margaritas and cocktails. We seek out seasonal ingredients with unique flavors to create new twists on old classics, as was the case when we created our Rhubarb Old Fashioned last spring. Offering a nod to the traditional drink, we sour it up a bit with rhubarb, but sweeten it with the perfect dose of Orgeat. Created by La Fonda’s Food and Beverage Director, John Cuviello and his team of beverage pros, this “new” Old Fashioned offers a fresh take on the time-honored cocktail.
Rhubarb Old Fashioned
2 oz. Knob Creek Rye
1/4 oz. Giffard Rhubarb (rhubarb liqueur)
6 drops of Orange Bitters
1/4 oz Orgeat
Place rye, rhubarb liqueur, orange bitters, and Orgeat into a rocks glass. Stir, then drop one large or three smaller ice cubes in the glass. Stir to chill ingredients; garnish with lemon peel. Makes one cocktail.