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What Everyone's Buying in New Mexico: 'Taos Lightning' Homemade Liquor

December 18, 2013 at 12:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

There's no shortage of awesome local foods in New Mexico, from blue corn tacos to posole. Just don't forget to wash down all that spicy nosh with products from two incredible local liquor brands. Santa Fe Spirits was launched by a British expat who found his way to the Land of Enchantment and never left. His company makes five liquors from local ingredients. You can check out their distillery just outside of town, but you can also sample the booze at their tasting room on Read Street in downtown Santa Fe.

The apple brandy is deceptively sweet but not cloying, and their Wheeler's Gin contains juniper, cucumber, and a rare cactus flower. Try a flight of all five liquors or let the staff whip up a cocktail like a Santa Fe Sidecar or a Whiskeyrita.

For a true blast from the past, check out KGB Spirits outside of Taos. This hyper-local company has been racking up awards around the world, but the brand remains small and true to its roots. So don't expect a generic Bacardi-type rum from them: instead, it's all about a homemade absinthe, a potato vodka, and their true hallmark, a whiskey called Taos Lightning.

Taos Lightning used to be an old name for any booze distilled west of the Mississippi River, and you'll sometimes hear it mentioned in old Westerns and on the TV show "Deadwood." KGB bought back the copyright on the name and is now making some of the smoothest ryes, bourbons, and whiskies you'll ever taste. To try them out, check out their website for the local stores and restaurants that carry the product. The relative scarcity of the products (hard to find outside of New Mexico) makes them a great gift for friends and party hosts.

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