Community is a tricky thing. You have to balance a little of this with a little of that to make it work. Beer helps, of course, so it may not come as a surprise to learn that many of the makers of your favorite local beers know each other. In fact many of them learned their trade together and have remained friends even as they've established competing businesses. Jeff Erway, president of La Cumbre Brewing Company, sat down with me at his taproom recently and talked about this camaraderie among brewers. “It's the nature of our industry,” he says. “We as brewers aren't trying to beat each other. Them being successful is a success for me.”
Mixologists have long had a secret behind their bars that most casual drinkers aren’t aware of: small bottles of cocktail bitters. Bitters are intensely aromatic combinations of herbs and spices which give unique flavor profiles to mixed drinks, and they’ve been an important part of cocktail culture since its beginning. In fact, the earliest written definition of a cocktail, from back in 1806, was “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits … sugar, water, and bitters.” You only add a few drops of bitters to a drink, but Bill York, son of a Santa Fe chef, is betting his business on them.