Anna Jones and her husband, Robert Houston, set out to create spirits not offered in the local market and make items that complement other distilled products.
To achieve this, the couple founded 505 Spirits. Houston, who is the general manager at Total Wine in Santa Fe, keeps an eye on what is being created in New Mexico. Jones, who spent years as a pastry chef in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, uses her skills to help create flavor profiles.
“Our whole concept for the market was to create things that will complement the other spirits that other people are already making that are so good,” Jones said. “They’re just such amazing vodkas and gins and whiskies and rum coming out of New Mexico already and some agave spirit. And we wanted to make different things that would complement that offering. And we’re just really passionate about enjoying deliciousness. We combined our love of drink and good flavors.”
505 Spirits has been in the works for two years and began selling its products at the end of November. It offers eight products: liquors, liqueurs and a ready-to-drink cocktail distilled by Ashley Smith and Sarah McPhee. There are plans to expand the product line and open a tasting room in Placitas in the near future. The distillery, also in Placitas, is not zoned for a tasting room.
New Mexicans love their red and green chile, and that is why 505 Spirits created two liqueurs to fulfill their cravings, Jones said. The distillery’s Red Sauce and Green Sauce liqueurs are made with New Mexico chile that offer a slight kick of spice. Medium green chiles are roasted on site at the distillery and used to create Green Sauce, which is also infused with spices commonly found in a chile sauce. Sun-dried chile pods and spices are used to infuse Red Sauce. Both liqueurs are delicately sweetened with organic cane sugar. The liqueurs are made with non-GMO corn, so they are safe for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
“The green tastes like, you know, that smell when they’re roasting,” Jones said. “It tastes like that but also like the sauce. It is just so good. And then the red is a little more earthy. The green is more spicy. … They’re just slightly sweet, but not overly sweet.”
Jones suggests creating a cocktail with Red Sauce and its El Bombón 505 cacao liqueur for a sweet heat treat. The rich dark chocolate liqueur, which has a subtle sweetness, is made with roasted cacao nibs, Madagascar vanilla beans, and organic cane syrup.
505 Spirits Purple People Eater features prickly pear fruit picked from the A & J Family Farms in Lemitar.
“The core is made with the local prickly pear and then six other fruits,” Jones said. “And it’s just this delightful flavor. It’s also really delicious on its own. It’s great in cocktails. It’s wonderful with Champagne. We call that a Bubble Monster. It’s really good with bourbon. We named that cocktail Soulmate, because they taste like they’re meant to be together.”
A nice sipper is the distillery’s D’UVA 1 brandy.
“It’s a really sumptuous take on brandy,” Jones said. “It’s complex, smooth and elegant. It’s got little bit of hints of vanilla and spice. We double distill that in our copper pot stills. And then we age it delicately in American oak barrels”
D’UVA 1 is combined with the distillery’s housemade crème de menthe to create 505 Spirits ready to drink cocktail.
“We call it The Soothist, the cocktail of your future,” Jones said. “The label’s really cool. It’s got a fortune teller with a crystal ball. And so it’s brandy with the mint. You know when you take two things and combine them they can often create a completely different flavor. This is that. It’s really magical tasting.”
The distillery is excited to offer vermouths produced in New Mexico.
Its Aristology Red and Aristology White are named after the term related to the art and science of dining and drinking and composing a meal. The semisweet Aristology Red is “warm” and “dusky,” with a bright acidity and complex botanical flavors. It features 14 herbs and bittering agents. Several of the herbs are grown in the distillery’s garden, including sage and fennel. Aristology White is dry and full-bodied. It is lightly floral with herbal undercurrents and has a hint of citrus.