Craft is alive and well in New Mexico. The home of Pueblo pottery and colorful Diné tapestry, this part of the world has a heritage of craft and design that continues to inspire artisans to practice old trades or create something entirely new. Often some mixture of the two.
These are just a few of the craftspeople in New Mexico who are creating one-of-a-kind goods by hand. You can find all of them on Instagram and at local markets.
Monique Carr, Spellbound Syrups
Monique Carr first started making drink syrups in 2015 as a hobby. Now as Spellbound Syrups, she makes her botanical syrups, which are usually mixed with soda water for a refreshing drink, largely from locally sourced fruit and herbs. Some of her flavors are predictable for Albuquerque—she regularly makes prickly pear and apricot syrups—but other flavors display a more esoteric side of the New Mexico foodshed: in the past several months, she’s made syrups from ground cherry, persimmon, and nasturtium blossoms.
How do you make your syrups?
Each one is just three ingredients: fruit, apple cider vinegar, and organic sugar. Everything is raw, not cooked. So there’s the yeast on the fruit and the yeast in the vinegar, and one of them makes a byproduct that interacts with the other. They stall out before they carbonate much, or before there’s any real alcohol content.
Where do you get your ingredients?
These days, people will reach out to me and say, “Hey, I live on an orchard,” or “I have a fruit tree with way more fruit than I know what to do with,” or something. Instagram is so amazing, because it connects you to people in your area; I’ve made so many great connections that way.
The great thing about Albuquerque is that at least eight months of the year, you can be growing and processing fruits and vegetables. I just picked a bunch of jujubes. I was gifted some golden apples. I recently picked a bunch of blue plums. A friend at work gave me some persimmons from his neighbor’s tree. Apricots did so well this year.
Where do you sell your syrups? Where can people buy your drinks?
My main accounts are with Zendo, Sister Bar, and Still Spirits [in Albuquerque]. Right now, Zendo (both the original location on Second and the El Vado location) has a fig and mandarin shrub, Sister Bar has honeydew, and Still Spirits has the fig and mandarin, too. They’re making a really nice gin drink with it. It’s rosy and beautiful, and it’s garnished with juniper berries. I also do a lot of one-off events, like pop-up markets.
View the full article here.