Spring Cocktails from New Mexico Mixologists

We asked some esteemed New Mexico mixologists for their top cocktails to celebrate the spring season. They obliged with all things shaken, stirred, smoky, and even science-fiction-inspired.

The Compound: Apple Wood-Smoked Manhattan 

A short cocktail glass holds a red cocktail with an orange garnish next to a milk glass of smoke.

This riff on a Manhattan has become a Compound classic, no matter what the time of year. The wafer-thin slice of apple–coated in sugar with a whiff of cinnamon, then brûléed–isn’t just a garnish but a star of the show. Think of it as mixologist Alex Aguayo’s grown-up version of a candy apple. Add some puffs of apple woodsmoke and you’ve got a drink that is truly smoking. Try the recipe for his Apple Wood-Smoked Manhattan at home.

Rolling Still: Easy Rider 

A cocktail glass holds an orange drink as a bartender pours a red liquid into the glass from above.

Rolling Still’s own red chile vodka shines in this cocktail made by Blake Goldberg. It’s a sublime pairing of grapefruit, Rolling Still’s own house-made elderflower liqueur, and a syrup crafted with local honey. The pop of red comes from hibiscus, adding not only color, but a welcome hint of bitterness. We can’t think of a better way to toast the new season. 

Bar Norte: Amarillo Negroni

A short green cocktail glass holds a clear liquid garnished with lemon peels and flowers.

Inspired by the classic white Negroni, Los Poblanos’ Amarillo Negroni served up at Bar Norte features their own lavender gin made with more than a dozen different botanicals, purple basil from the farm, a light amaro for bitterness, limoncello for brightness, and vermouth to balance out the sweetness. Joseph Simonson offered up this drink which is as fresh and welcome as a spring breeze. 

The Compound: Mezcal Spring Piña Sur 

A rounded cocktail glass is filled with a yellow liquid and topped with a white egg foam and lemon peel. It sits on a brown table and background.

Sunshine in a glass thanks to an artful blend of pineapple and lemon juice with mezcal, and agave syrup for a touch of sweetness. Alex Aguayo serves it so there is a fluffy cloud of frothy egg white floating at the top, which made us think of clouds soaring high in the skies. Try the recipe for his Mezcal Spring Piña Sur at home.

Tonic Santa Fe: Sands of Arrakis 

A tall cocktail glass holds an orange drink with a dried ring garnish and dusty brown sand falling overtop of it.

In the world of Dune, the science fiction classic, mélange or “the spice” is the most important commodity in the universe. Whether or not you’re a self-proclaimed “sci-fi geek” like mixologist Weston Simons, one sip of this drink, an homage to Frank Herbert’s book, and you’ll agree. A cleverly crafted potion of whiskey, blood orange coulis, fino sherry, bay leaf bitters, and a generous dusting of house-blend Spice Melange–it’s literally out of this world. Try the recipe for his Sands of Arrakis at home.

La Reina: Not Your Mom’s Negroni 

A shot glass holds a negroni cocktail with a stir stick sitting behind it on a wooden table.

The Negroni gets a makeover thanks to Madre Espadin mezcal at cool hangout spot, La Reina. The mezcal shares the stage with California amaro, artichoke liqueur, a gorgeous Luxardo cherry, and curl of orange peel. These ingredients create a perfectly balanced and very grown-up cocktail. Add some conversation with mixologist Heather McKearnan and food and beverage director Sarah Blandell to this wonderful mix, and you’ll be over the proverbial moon. 

Special thanks to Alex Aguayo from Compound; Blake Goldberg from Rolling Still; Joseph Simonson from Bar Norte and Los Poblanos; Winston Greene and Weston Simons from Tonic Santa Fe; and Heather McKearnan from La Reina and El Rey.  

Story by Julia Platt Leonard / Photography by Daniel Quat 

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