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Pass it around: Safe House Distilling releases Double White Lightning Whiskey

Safe House Distilling Co. has launched its Double White Lightning Whiskey, its first special release collaboration with Marble Brewery. (Courtesy of Safe House Distilling Co.)

Give your taste buds a jolt with Safe House Distilling Co.’s first special release.

The distillery, which has been open for five months, has collaborated with powerhouse Marble Brewery to create its Double White Lightning Whiskey. Only 1,000 bottles were made, and they are available for purchase at the distillery, as well as some local retailers, including Jubilation Wine & Spirits and Total Wine.

“It is the exact same grain bill as (Marble’s) Double White (ale) just without hops,” Safe House distiller Chris Leurig said. “The yeast we use is actually Double White yeast. Everything is the same, just minus the hops. … So you’re going to get a lot of coriander, clove, like, some pepper, a lot of the same notes from the beer, actually, come all the way through the finished spirit.”

The distillery also is aging batches of Double White Lightning in barrels for 18 months to 2 years. The aged versions will have more vanilla and caramel notes with coriander notes balanced with the tannins from the barrels.

Safe House recently did a bottle release of its green chile-infused vodka, which has been popular among patrons for use in cocktails such as bloody marys.

“That one is just fresh roasted green chile that we peel and cut up,” Chris Leurig said. “In that tank right now, there’s 1,000 pounds of green chile.”

The distillery tries to keep four or five infusions on deck. In addition to its green chile-infused vodka, it also has a XXX green chile infusion for some extra heat, and a light and bright blueberry lavender-infused vodka, which is to be bottled around February. In addition to the infusions, patrons can also experience other special spirits.

“We have an in-house gin, but that’s only for here in our tasting room,” Chris Leurig said. “We don’t distribute it yet. And then apple pie-infused vodka for the fall and winter. … We went to Corrales and picked a bunch of apples and brought them all back here, cut them up, fermented them and then distilled it to make Wild Apple Brandy.”

Safe House is appropriately named after the building it resides in. The building housed a credit union and a bank before the distillery.

“Safe House has two different meanings for us. We wanted to be more of a safe space for the community to come into and feel comfortable coming to and not really a nightclub, but at the same time we’re a house full of safes, because we have four safes,” said CEO Richard Leurig. “We actually have one of the safes in one of the bathrooms.”

The distilling area originally housed the National Cash Register Co., built in 1935, and still contains its original bricks, made at the New Mexico Penitentiary, outside Santa Fe. Wood torn out of the building was reused to create the bar area, patio and tables.

“In everything that we do in here, we try to maintain the history of the building, so hence our vodka’s name is Teller vodka,” Richard Leurig said. “That was our first spirit. The first thing you see when you come into a bank is a bank teller. So we wanted it to be that, but we also wanted it to be about people telling their story.”

The distillery plans on releasing its Locksmith Gin in the spring. It will have notes of sage, rosemary, lavender and other ingredients found in this region. The distillery’s cocktail names are inspired by bank robbers.

“(We have) the Pretty Boy Floyd that is made with the blueberry lavender,” Richard Leurig said. “Dillinger’s Pride after Dillinger. Gluttonous Hearst after Patty Hearst from the ’70s. A very popular recent bank robber is The Phony Pony, which was a bank robber who wore a ponytail with a wig, so we look up things like bank robber names and again try to stay in the realm of the building we came to be.”

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