Hit the Santa Fe Margarita Trail

Ask a Santa Fean what the city’s signature cocktail is and hands-down you’ll hear “Margarita.” We love TOURISM Santa Fe’s new Santa Fe Margarita Trail, launching on Cinco de Mayo. Participating restaurants, lounges and bars have designed signature margarita for the trail. Santa Fe Margarita Trail Passports, $3 each, available at the any of the city’s visitor centers, are $3 each. The passport entitles bearers to $1 off the price of the drink. Grab your passport and set out on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail.

We were invited to a pre-launch social media event a few days prior to the Santa Fe Margarita Trail launch. Attendees were broken down into four groups for a margarita crawl of some of the participants. Our group e drew a great quartet of watering holes.

Here’s our tour of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail

First stop: Santacafe

Santa Fe Margarita Trail - The Santacafe Chipotle Margarita photo/courtesy TOURISM Santa Fe

The Santacafe Chipotle Margarita photo/courtesy TOURISM Santa Fe

Santacafe has been wowing locals and visitors with their eclectic cuisine for over three-decades. The bar, in the historic Padre Gallegos House, is famous for its indoor glass-covered well. Gallegos, a colorful priest and local politician , had a lot of enemies. He feared that the outdoor well would be poisoned by one of his many foes so he had a well dug inside his home. Stand on the glass over the well and peer down.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we had car trouble on our way to Santacafe and didn’t get to taste their Santacafé Chipotle Margarita. We hear that the smoky chipotle puree in the drink created by bartender Stephanie Galassini took it over the top. Besides the puree, the drink features 100% blue agave tequila, triple sec, fresh lemon and lime juice, a splash of pineapple juice. The glass is rimmed with salted lime zest. It’s priced $9.00, $8.00 with the passport. Make them a stop on your own trail hop.

Stop two: Low ‘n Slow

Santa Fe Margarita Trail - Chimayóso Margarita at Low 'n Slow photo/Billie Frank

Chimayóso Margarita at Low ‘n Slow photo/Billie Frank

Espanola and Chimayó, north of Santa Fe, are known for their lowrider culture. The car-centric cultural phenomena can be found in Hispanic communities from Chicago to LA. Low riders take cars (mostly classic ones) and put them on tiny wheels so they ride low to the ground. Then they toots them up with chrome, other bling and even hydraulic systems which raise and lower the chassis. The Hotel Chimayó celebrates the art and culture of the small northern New Mexico village they are named for. The hotel’s bar, Low ‘n Slow Lowrider Bar, celebrates the low rider culture.

Their Chimayóso Margarita combines serrano-infused reposado tequila, Rothman & Winter Apricot liqueur and fresh-squeezed lime juice. The sweetness of the apricot, a fruit grown in the area, gives the drink a distinct, pleasingly sweet taste. The rim sports Chimayó chile salt for a spicy tang. The glass is garnished with woven citrus peels paying homage to Chimayó’s famous weaving tradition.

Stop 3: Anasazi Restaurant

Santa Fe Margarita Trail - Sandia y Pepino margarita at the Anasazi photo/Billie Frank

Sandia y Pepino margarita at the Anasazi photo/Billie Frank

Our daughter-in-law thinks the chic bar at the Anasazi Restaurant, at the upscale Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, makes the best margaritas in Santa Fe. Last year the restaurant stepped up their game. They added a tequila table to the lounge. The communal table is the perfect place to sip flights of the beloved mescal liquor. They’ve created the Sandia y Pepino Margarita (watermelon and cucumber) for the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. The fused flavors of these two fruits in the cooling cocktail, will be perfect on a hot summer day (or any other time). The drink, $12 ($11 with the passport), also has El Jimador tequila, and tajin (chile powder with lime and salt).

Last but not least: La Fiesta Lounge

Santa Fe Margarita Trail - La Fiesta's Don Rael Margarita photo/Billie Frank

La Fiesta’s Don Rael Margarita photo/Billie Frank

La Fonda on the Plaza really got into the spirit of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. The historic hotel came up with three signature margaritas for the passport. La Fiesta Lounge, their recently renovated bar, offers the Don Rael, named for bartender James Rael who come up with the cocktail. The drink combines Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila, Sauza Hornitos Añeyo Tequila, Grande Marnier, Patrón Citrónge and  house-made lime/lemon juice. The seasonal Bell Tower rooftop bar, one of the best places in the city to view the sunset, is offering their signature Bellringer Margarita, a tasty concoction of Tanteo Jalapeño tequila, Cointreau, a splash of jalapeño juice and house-made lime/lemon juice. La Plazuela, the hotel’s dining room, has its own signature offering for the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, the Centennial Margarita. This orangey offering is a mix of Centenario Tequila, Grand Marnier, Patrón Citrónge, a splash of Presidente Brandy, completed with the house lime/lemon juice.

There are over 30 more signature margaritas to sample at partnering venues around town. With a limit of two stamps a day to promote responsible drinking, the trail will keep passport holders busy for a while.

Nuts and bolts of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail

  • Passports can be purchased at any TOURISM Santa Fe Visitor Center or Santa Fe Margarita Trail participating restaurant, bar or lounge.
  • Present your passport and get a $1 discount on the featured Santa Fe Margarita Trail margarita. Be sure to ask the bartender or server to stamp and date the passport.
  • Five stamps will get you a Santa Fe Margarita t-shirt; 20 stamps earns a signed copy of Al Lucero’s The Great Margarita Book with a forward by Robert Redford; fill your passport and you can claim the Margarita Bartender Kit..
  • All prizes may be redeemed only at the Downtown Santa Fe Visitor Center located in the Plaza Galleria at 66 E. San Francisco Street, Suite 3.
  • Passports are valid for the life of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. The good news for visitors: passports are fully transferable. You can pass them on to your friends and family.
  • You must be over age 21 to buy and use the passport.

The Santa Fe Margarita Trail is a fun way to discover new versions of this cooling and festive drink. What are you waiting for? Grab your passport (no visa required) and hit the trail. Olé!

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16 Responses to “Hit the Santa Fe Margarita Trail”

  1. Karen Warren
    May 16, 2016 at 5:42 am #

    Santa Fe sounds like my kind of town! I’d like to try them all, but especially the chipotle margartita.
    Karen Warren recently posted..Julian’s Bower, Alkborough: an Ancient English Turf MazeMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

      And there are thirty-something more places offering Santa Fe Margarita Trail signature margaritas.

  2. Janice Chung
    May 16, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Great idea and I was so happy to read that there is a limit on the number of stamps. I can imagine after 2 drinks one would be pretty “relaxed”!

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      One would be pretty relaxed. It’s important to support responsible drinking and of course- if you over-indulge there’s always a cab ride or Uber back to your hotel or home/

  3. Denis Gagnon
    May 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Transferable passports valid for life, that’s certainly a very attractive way to get me interested in a Margarita Trail Passport. Given the way I look at things, my first thought was to calculate the break even point, three margaritas. That’s probably too much for me in one outing. Hopefully, the life of the Margarita Trail spans at least a few months! I think it’s a wonderful idea, and most certainly on our list for our next visit to Santa Fe. Thanks for a very interesting posting!
    Denis Gagnon recently posted..The Israeli Breakfast – Best in the world !My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

      The life of the promotion might be for life- who knows. For $3 it’s worth the chance! You save $1 on each margarita so 3’s the break-even point. 5 and you get that t-shirt. Hope you get here to try it!

  4. Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    May 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    What a great idea! I’d love to hit the Margarita Trail and definitely will next time I’m in town. Meanwhile, I’m packing along some Tequila for my upcoming visit to NYC.

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

      I think they sell it there- no need to BYOB. Now if you were coming back from Mexico…

  5. The GypsyNesters
    May 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    While the many variations look intriguing, I think that I am more of a Margarita traditionalist. No doubt there are plenty of those available too.
    The GypsyNesters recently posted..Making a Difference in the Dominican Republic – Follow Along Live!My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

      You can get your trad margarita just about anywhere. My big caveat is make sure they use fresh lime juice and not mix- most places here go fresh, TG!

  6. Michele Peterson
    May 17, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    That Chipotle Margarita looks delicious! I’d love to go on a margarita crawl although I’m not too sure how many stops I’d be able to make along the route so it’s wise there’s a limit of 2 per day!

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

      Come for a week and do two each night. That would make a dent and earn you a tee-shirt.

  7. Sue Reddel
    May 18, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Love this idea! Over 30 margaritas to try – that would keep you busy for a couple of weeks. How fun!
    Sue Reddel recently posted..Malton – Yorkshire Food CapitalMy Profile

  8. Grey World Nomads
    May 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    It’s not quite close to us but it sounds fun! A copy of Al Lucero’s The Great Margarita Book with a forward by Robert Redford would be great anyway!

    • Billie Frank
      May 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

      It’s a fun book. We have a copy. Robert Redford was one of Al’s regular customers.

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