Where to Drink: Radish & Rye
When your day job brings you to the Southwest for two weeks in the middle of winter, to abundant sunshine, pink tipped mountain tops, and endless expanses in shades of coffee and caramel, it’s hard to find a reason to complain. But, my home base for 10-12 hour long works days was the not-so-bustling town of Alamogordo. You can imagine that the cocktail scene in this town of 30,000 was…limited. But New Mexico has to be the most amazing place; so, again no complaints, it just served as motivation to drive 3.5 hours north for a 48 hour trip to Santa Fe.
Santa Fe was magical and I already want to go back. This time with my other half in tow. I arrived after little sleep, a long day at work, a long drive and having done zero research on Santa Fe. I flipped open a copy of Edible Santa Fe. Skimmed a few pages. Saw this ad. And immediately decided this would be my destination.
I mean the marketers for this place clearly know what they’re doing.
Radish & Rye. In addition to having the quintessential business name of this decade (please count how many ____ & ____ businesses you see; but, hey, we can’t judge), I felt confident it’s a place where I could find a well-crafted cocktail. Their restaurant is close to downtown and quietly tucked away. It reminded me of our favorite restaurant on Cape Cod, Black Fish. The outside is perfectly fine but rather nondescript. But then you walk in and immediately feel as if this is where everyone in town has gathered for a lovely reunion of wining and dining. The vibe was warm, the staff were friendly, and the place was bustling in that way that only the anticipation of good food can produce.
They focus on American whiskeys and have an entirely whiskey-based cocktail menu that took me a solid 15 minutes to work my way through. From rye to bourbon, they know that variation in whiskeys is so expansive that they’re entirely committed to cocktails with that one spirit. Also they have purchased their own barrel of bourbon. It shouldnt have been as cool as it seemed to me, but when is the last time you saw bourbon being served straight from the barrel?
What I Ordered
505 Manhattan: Bourbon, Carpano , Mole Bitters, Cacao
What else I wanted to order
Truth be told, while we write about cocktails all the time, when I’m tired and flying solo, I can barely make it through one cocktail on my own, but I was drooling over these choices. See their full menu here.
Dragonfly: Chamomile-Infused Bourbon, Local Honey, Lemon, Soda
Brown Derby: Bourbon, Grapefruit, Aperol, Local Honey
Indian Summer: Bourbon, Concentrated Hibiscus, Citrus, Cinnamon
What I thought
The 505 was a nice southwestern take on the Manhattan. The mole bitters and cacao upped the smokiness of the drink and added a flavor of spice that I still can’t find words to describe. But that’s also how I’d describe mole in general. I like my whiskey drinks a bit on the sweeter side; so I should have known better and asked the bartender to up the Carpano a bit. It was topped with a fabulous cherry. And the bartender gave me another without me even asking, which is clearly the way to my heart.
Should you go?
If you hate whiskey then, no, you shouldn’t. But everyone else. Yes, yes you should. Go with friends, order a number of whiskey cocktails, and pass them around.