There’s nothing quite like a little liquid refreshment to cap off a day of sightseeing in Southern New Mexico. The area’s food and drink capital, Las Cruces, N.M., offers travelers a creative assortment of cocktails, local wines, craft brews and more, leaving them with a delicious dilemma – which to choose? Here are Las Cruces’ “Top Five Sips for Thirsty Travelers.”
50 Shades of Margarita
The debate over where the margarita got started continues, but there’s one thing that nobody questions: Las Cruces’ extensive margarita offerings are off the charts! Guests can sample more than 50 different renditions at the Double Eagle in Mesilla. For starters, there are the Guava Margarita, El Diablo Margarita and even the Turquoise Margarita (with a turquoise stone garnish). Just a few steps from there is La Posta de Mesilla, famous for its Chile ‘Rita: an exotic, slightly spicy margarita with a blackberry/habanero sauce, served in a hand-blown “chile” stem glass.
Sipping a local beer not only refreshes, it also captures the unique home-grown flavors of the city you’re in. Luckily, Las Cruces has several of its own craft breweries including Bosque Brewing Company Taproom, High Desert Brewery and Spotted Dog Brewery. If you want to drink like a true local, don’t miss out on the Pecan Beer at De La Vega’s Pecan Grill and Brewery. www.lascrucescvb.org/breweries
Caliche’s Green Chile Treats
For a non-alcoholic frozen treat on a warm day, Caliche’s is the perfect stop. Among its many unique offerings stands a true Las Cruces staple, the Green Chile Smoothie, containing green chile marmalade and topped with your favorite fruit.
Follow the grapes
The Las Cruces Wine Trail features 10 local wineries and wine-tasting venues. Unbeknownst to many, this is actually the oldest wine-producing region in North America with fertile soil and great growing conditions. Wine lovers can sample American as well as European wines at St. Clair Winery & Bistro or visit the oldest “modern” winery, La Viña, which was established in 1977. Sunday afternoons on the patio at Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery are particularly alluring with live music, house made sangrias and views of the nearby mountains. www.lascrucescvb.org/explore/wineries
So much for red, white and rose! The blue drinks and other specialty cocktails of the cool, sophisticated Azul Lounge in Las Cruces’ Hotel Encanto are demanding equal time. Try a Grapevine Smash or a Pineapple Blueberry Martini. And the best bargain in town? Mingle with locals and other travelers at the bar’s “4 for $4” happy hours, featuring craft drafts, house wines, well drinks, and appetizers for $4 each.