As members of the monthly wine club at Susan’s Fine Wine & Spirits, we were given two free drink tickets when we picked up our two wines of the month – Italian: a red and a white. It was 3 o’clock so we said ‘okay,’ to cocktails in their lounge that faces Aqua Fria.* The menu was just exactly the kind we can prepare in our kitchen-less house and cleans up with a bar sink – and we have one – if only we had all this exotic alcohol.
Michele’s drink, the pretty one in the coupe, was a pink martini with a float of red chili oil. This is New Mexico, after all. The slightly floral Old Tom Gin, was splashed with sherry and had a few dashes of Bergamot liqueur and bitters. Our first reaction was floral. Refreshing, it wasn’t too sweet, but not dry like a modern gin martini. Smell and taste reminded us of something like Amaretto – nutty cherry pit. The smell and distinct sweet but nutty taste returns to mind if you have ever flavored alcohol (vodka) with plum or cherry pits (let sit for about a week and then store in the freezer).
The drop of oil didn’t incorporate and we assumed the alcohol was not dissolving the oil. Interestingly, when we added an ice cube, the drop spread and was consumed.
Smoke and Thyme
The smell of thyme was unavoidable as you can see by looking at Steuart’s tall drink of Mescal with Passion fruit. The sweetness of the fruit mellowed out the harshness you can imagine in Mescal and and herby thyme complemented the smokiness that always comes with it – even Michele, who is not a fan of Mescal was pleased.
Springtime in the Southwest
My rum drink, called the Silent H was made with a very mild r(h)um that wasn’t too sweet. The first hit however, was olfactory – the scent of aloe vera and cucumber from the liqueur called Chareau. This great smelling liqueur is made in California from aloe and cuke, and has a chardonnay like mouthfeel. It made elegant this cocktail, served in the least elegant glass of our selection. Lime on the aloe, perfect, right? The rhum was slightly floral, dashed with celery liqueur, which added some vegetalia, the hopefully smell of a spring herb garden.
*(Susan’s is not easy to find, but a close walk from the Railyard in Santa Fe, if you already know where it is.)
**(Bergamot is a liqueur from the Italian citrus fruit of the same name, and lies near the Meyer Lemon on the sweet-sour spectrum. It is not the mint-like herb version of the Bergamot name)