James Beard award-winning Executive Chef John Sedlar gained fame for his restaurants in Los Angeles before coming home to create Eloisa, named for his New Mexican grandmother. The menu reflects Modern Southwestern cuisine, and the bar staff looks to the kitchen’s spices, herbs, and produce to create cohesion between the cocktails and food. Beverage Manager Andrea Duran is herself a 12th-generation New Mexican, whose aunts and uncles were all born under the very same roof that’s now home to Bar Alto—a space where thirsty sunset-worshippers marvel at sweeping views of the city and mountains.
Duran oversees liquid offerings for both venues and attributes her bar savvy to growing up doing homework in the restaurant where her mother worked. She started her bartending career at age 18 in Key West, and has since padded her skills by reading extensively about mixology and spirits. “The more I learned and watched those around me, the more it all just clicked.
“I love the constant chaos of a bar,” she continues. “It just has this rhythm to it that’s like nothing else. It challenges every part of your mind, body, and patience.”
As with many small towns, Santa Fe is still developing its identity as a cocktail destination. As Duran puts it, “We’re all stepping up our game a little to match the amazing culinary scene that has been here for so long. It’s a fun time to be in the bar business.”
Rye Not (My take on a Brown Derby)
2 oz Sazerac Rye
1 oz raspberry honey syrup
1 oz grapefruit juice
4 dashes orange bitters
Shake with ice, strain, and garnish with orange zest
“It’s a nice drink for all seasons. The raspberry honey syrup really creates a nice backdrop for the Rye whiskey to shine without being overwhelming.” —Andrea Duran