About Cocktails & Culture

FullSizeRenderCocktails & Culture Festival and Santa Fe Cocktail Week

Read highlights on Gourmet Girl!

“New Mexico Cocktails & Culture is a way to discover Santa Fe’s culinary treasures as well as rich music, art and cultural heritage. The venues where the cocktail events took place were most varied and interesting, best of all was the opportunity to become acquainted with the talented and enthusiastic bar community there. We look forward to returning!” ~Jill and Dale DeGroff

“What can I say about the first Santa Fe Cocktail Festival other than AMAZING! Natalie Bovis and the  community of Santa Fe produced a fantastic Festival that celebrated the art of the Mixologist, creative cocktails and world class hospitality…I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year!” ~Tony Abou Ganim


Cocktails & Culture is Santa Fe’s Most Spirited Festival featuring interactive Spirited Seminars & tastings by globally recognized experts, cocktail parties, Celebrity Chef & Shaker Challengepeople who love to eat and drink well, and new business opportunity for those in the beverage industry.

Santa Fe Cocktail Week runs throughout bars and restaurants leading up to NMCC. Official participants feature their own signature cocktail for guests to try, and then vote online for their favorite Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Bartender of the Year. Winners announced and presented with a trophy at the Chef & Shaker Challenge on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Who would enjoy NMCC? Anyone interested in the liquid aspect of the culinary arts, and enhancing Santa Fe’s unwavering acclaim on international Top Ten culinary and travel guides.

NMCC  2017 Schedule of Events:

  • Friday, June 2:
    • “Made In New Mexico” Welcome Party
  • Saturday, June 3:
    • Tony Abou-Ganim leads the 40-mile bike ride benefitting the Helen David Relief Fund
    • Negroni Brunch
    • Celebrity Chef & Shaker Challenge, SF Cocktail Week Bar Awards
  • Sunday, June 4:
    • Spirits & Cocktails tasting and educational seminars

What is mixology? Mixology is the study of how distillates are made, where they come from, and how they are used in cocktails. The history and lore behind classic recipes is interwoven with our social fabric. Mixology is the liquid piece of the culinary world, entailing study, training and passion.

Is “mixology” different than “bartending?”  Bartending is the job of serving drinks and being hospitable. It is a noble profession with deep roots in American history. In the Wild West, the bartender often held social importance equivalent to the mayor. Saloons and churches were the heartbeat of social interaction, with the bars being just a bit more lively! There are books about famous bartenders from the 1800s, and many of their concoctions are still revered today. When Prohibition was enforced between 1920 – 33, some of America’s most important bartenders moved to Europe, enlightening cocktailians abroad by elevating lounges such as the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, as only one example. Meanwhile, in the mid 20th century, American cocktail culture was all but lost to bad booze and ‘drinking for intoxication’ rather than sipping a well-crafted drink for the pleasure of the palate. Over the last couple of decades, our cocktail culture has struggled to reestablish itself as an elevated piece of the culinary universe, and the study of spirits and early recipes has swept the globe. This thirst for education in spirits, and training in classic cocktails and techniques is what we refer to as “mixology.”

Why is this important?  The famous quote, “Show me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are” can also be applied to imbibing. A restaurant’s wine and beer selections are often chosen with great reflection but spirits and cocktails have often been after-thoughts. Throwing any spirit and sweet mixer into a glass was considered “enough.” However, for any self-respecting culinary community, this is no longer the case. Similar to a trained chef and carefully-crafted menu, a distinguished beverage program means selecting fine products, and training a passionate staff in classic recipes and proper technique. The bar is the most profitable part of a restaurant – it should also be the most dazzling. With New Mexico’s reputation as a culinary destination, it’s time to “raise the bar.”

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