A Drink in Santa Fe, New Mexico
The bitters, on my pale hand, are dark like blackberry juice and sorghum molasses. I rub my sticky palms together and smell them. Cinnamon, willowbark, coffee. For an instant I step into another world. Flashing back to the present, I race after my bartender as he beckons me to his dim-lit kingdom filled with hiss and foam, fruit and flame.
My cocktail, when it comes, is a flashy deep purple. Chris muddles plump local blackberries with fresh lime juice and tequila, Licor 43, and a couple dashes of homemade bitters. I stand for a moment with my first sip, giving it the reverence it deserves.
I’m part of a tiny wedding reception at the Hotel St. Francis in the peaceful center of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Chris Milligan, The Santa Fe Barman, is teaching me about his craft. His hands blur in my camera lens as he discusses barrel-aging Manhattans, using fresh + local ingredients for every cocktail, and the dynamics of being a veteran in a historical trade.
I’m one cocktail in, and already my mind has expanded. I set my glass down on the table and slip onto the dance floor. The night is off to an outstanding start.
Emily McIntyre writes a travel / beverage blog, Soft Explosions, as well as freelances for magazines and businesses. Happening to be married to a coffee roaster and fellow travel lover, with a curious toddler in tow, she travels the country talking coffee and learning about cocktails. She tweets witty tweets @mcintyrewrites and uploads lots of photos to flickr. Also on Google+ and Facebook.