Spirited Culinary Adventures with Natalie Bovis

Cocktails & Culture Festival

June 2 – 4, 2017

Santa Fe and ABQ Cocktail Weeks: Memorial Day Weekend – June 3

“Cocktails & Culture Festival 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 Cocktails & Culture Festival other than AMAZING! Natalie Bovis 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



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New Mexico Cocktails & Culture is Santa Fe’s most spirited festival. Mix one heaping part educational seminars with interactive spirits tastings, cocktail parties, chefs, bartenders, globally-recognized teachers, and people who want to eat and drink well. Add a healthy splash of new business opportunity and garnish with community building.

Santa Fe and ABQ Cocktail Weeks run throughout bars, restaurants and nightlife venues leading up to the festival weekend. Official participants feature their own signature cocktail from May 26 – June 3. Guests buy, try and vote for their favorite “Cocktail Bar” “Restaurant Bar” and “Bartender of the Year” from both Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Margarita Trail Welcome Party on Friday, June 2, highlights bars and restaurants that participate in the city’s year round, city wide margarita experience. Sample margaritas and tacos, attend a tequila seminar, and enjoy live entertainment to kick off the weekend of fun! 20% of ticket sales goes to Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico.

Chef & Shaker Challenge is a festival highlight. This year, the evening opens with Dale DeGroff’s one man show “On The Town” in the stunning theater at the Scottish Rite Temple. When the show ends, the doors to the adjacent ballroom open and some of our most beloved Chefs present food and cocktail pairings. Chefs winning the popular vote and that of the professional judging panel will each be awarded $500 to donate to their favorite local charities. The winners from Santa Fe and ABQ Cocktail Weeks will also be announced. And, 20% of ticket sales goes to the Cooking With Kids nonprofit.

Who would enjoy NMCC? Anyone working in hospitality and anyone who enjoys dining out and home entertaining will love the seminars, parties and community-building. This year, athletes will revel in a 40-mile fundraising bike ride supporting Tony Abou Ganim’s Helen David Relief Fund (supporting bartenders with breast cancer) on Sunday, June 4 ending with a Negroni Luncheon, open to the public.

What is mixology? Mixology is the study of how distillates are made, their history and application 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 hospitably serving drinks, a noble profession with deep roots in American history as the saloon keeper 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 be applied to cocktails. 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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