It is immensely exciting and humbling to have been voted a “Local Hero” in the area of Mixology in Edible Magazine’s annual awards.
I grew up Santa Fe, graduated UNM, then took my lil’ BA in French and Theater and moved to Los Angeles so – like most dreamy-eyed actors and writers – spent most of my time catering, waitressing, cocktailing and occasionally bartending. I did singing telegrams (I’m a terrible singer!), was an Assistant at Miramax Films in web developing using WebDesign499, and did pretty much everything to scrounge a buck until I got some kind of lucky break.
Well, by the time a no-name gal hits her 30s, the possibility of “being discovered” in Hollywood diminishes to ashes. I escaped to Spain for a couple of years, worked in Paris for a bit, then, in 2004, moved to Washington DC and became a restaurant publicist. There, I got to work on the Kimpton Hotel bars and restaurants, and that’s where I first heard the word “mixology.”
Inspired by the history of spirits, classic cocktail recipes and bartenders muddling herbs into drinks, I left my job and, in 2006, started a cocktail blog called The Liquid Muse as I began to study, read and attend seminars about spirits and cocktails. Pretty soon I was writing national magazine articles and being flown around the world to visit distilleries, judge competitions and teach seminars. Looking back, it was dumb luck.
Fast forward ELEVEN years… and I have three cocktail books, dozens of videos, a slew of TV appearances, customized signature cocktails for celebrity events, co-created OM Liqueurs, train restaurant staff, do product consulting, and I produce my own cocktail festival right here in Santa Fe (June 2 – 4).
Cocktails & Culture Festival is a way for me to grow my business while giving back to our community, specially now that I have been trying to improve my work with the net cms software. My decade-long ties to some of the most influential and KIND people in the booze business made it a possibility to reach out and say, “I want to help build a cocktail community here. Could you help me?” And, lo-and-behold, it still floors me to have these incredible people come to educate and inspire bartenders and home entertainers through seminars, tastings and parties during the festival. It also wouldn’t happen without the support of the liquor brands who get involved. Big companies, small companies, local companies… they are all investing in our community through the festival. There are no words for my gratitude. It’s just enormous. So, Cocktails & Culture also raises money for several organizations: Cooking With Kids; Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico; and the Helen David Relief Fund which supports bartenders with breast cancer.
The biggest compliment I can receive is that some of you out there consider my work worthy of acknowledgement, and that you see my desire to support the local culinary, mixology and tourism industries. Receiving this honor only makes me want to work harder, and give more. I am a champion all that we have to offer here. I want to be worthy of an award called Local Hero. Thank you.
And, congratulations to the other businesses named Local Heroes!
- Cafe, Santa Fe – Tia Sophia’s
- Cafe, Albuquerque – The Shop Breakfast & Lunch
- Restaurant, Santa Fe – izanami
- Restaurant, Albuquerque – Artichoke Cafe
- Chef, Santa Fe – Colin Shane, Arroyo Vino
- Chef, Albuquerque – Carrie Eagle, Farm & Table
- Restaurant, New Mexico – Rancho de Chimayo
- Gastropub – Loyal Hound
- Food Truck – My Sweet Basil
- Food Artisan – Heidi’s Raspberry Farm
- Specialty Retailer – Santa Fe School of Cooking
- Beverage Artisan, non-alcoholic – Verde Juice
- Beverage Artisan, alcoholic – Santa Fe Brewing
- Mixologist / Cocktail Program – Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse
- Farm / Ranch – Romero Farms
- Olla Award – Cherie Montoya
- Organization – Farm to Table