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Spirited venture: Local bar, restaurant owner launches Nikle vodka and gin

Nikle Co. Authentic Spirits recently launched its vodka and gin in New Mexico. (Courtesy of Brian Sena)

Local restaurateur and bar owner Nicole Kapnison has ventured outside her service industry comfort zone to create spirits.

Kapnison founded Nikle Co. Authentic Spirits with the help of some silent partners.

“Being from the restaurant and bar world, I have always been interested in spirits,” Kapnison said. “I wanted to create something that was natural – free of additives, chemicals and sugars, which the majority of spirits have so much of.”

It was Kapnison goal to create spirits with non-GMO ingredients and keep them at reasonable prices.

Jennifer Veith, left, oversees distilling operations at Nikle Co. Authentic Spirits, founded by Nicole Kapnison, right. The spirits company offers vodka and gin. (Courtesy of Brian Sena)

“I wanted to create something that would pair well in my cocktails but that you could also drink over ice and not have a harsh kick or burn,” she said. “Most natural or organic spirits come with an increased price tag. I wanted something affordable. The vodka retails for $24.99, and the gin is $34.99. You shouldn’t have to break the bank to drink something good.”

Kapnison said the best way to describe Nikle vodka is “clean.”

“It doesn’t have an odor like rubbing alcohol,” she said. “It’s smooth in your mouth and doesn’t burn your throat. I tell people it is dangerously smooth. The smoothness comes from six times charcoal distillation.”

Nikle gin uses the same base of corn and water but skips the gin basket.

“Instead of a gin basket, we use a maceration process, which allows us to pull out different flavors at different points of distillation to create the floral profile we want, which includes Los Poblanos lavender, angelica, ginger, and grapefruit peel.”

Kapnison developed Nikle gin for people who do not usually favor the spirit.

“I developed the gin for the typical ‘I don’t like gin’ drinker,” she said. “It is very easy drinking and has a wonderful nose to it. It’s different than the typical London Dry gin, which is heavy on the juniper and hard to drink for a non-gin drinker.”

Nikle Co. has been in the works for a few years.

“We started this journey 3 years ago and have learned a ton along the way,” Kapnison said. “We started producing the actual spirits early 2020.”

Locally made Nikle vodka recently became available at several local liquor stores. (Courtesy of Brian Sena)

Nikle Co. spirits are produced and bottled in Albuquerque under the direction of Kapnison and Jennifer Veith. Nikle’s founder, Nicole Kapnison, is a native to the restaurant and bar scene in Albuquerque. In creating these spirits, she wanted to stay true to her dedication to all-natural ingredients. All Nikle stills, bottles and boxes are American-made.

“I created our recipes – rounds and rounds of dumped product, different botanicals, and multiple rounds of tasting,” Kapnison said. “Jennifer Veith is our head of operations and oversees our distillers and the distilling process. Our production facility has about five employees.

Nikle vodka and gin are available at local retailers including Jubilation Wine & Spirits, Quarters Discount Liquors on Yale SE, Paradise Liquors on 98th NW and Kelly Liquors on Fourth NW and in the Mountain Run Shopping Center on Eubank NE. For more information, visit nikleco.com.

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